Specsavers ends sponsorship deal over Hillsborough row

The column The Big Eye appears in the Lynn News Image copyright Other
Image caption The column The Big Eye appears in the Lynn News

A company has withdrawn its sponsorship of a newspaper column after it likened Hillsborough mourners to a "partisan menace".

The column in the Lynn News in Norfolk said a memorial event to commemorate the 96 deaths was used by many as "an excuse for more rabble-rousing".

Opticians Specsavers said it had decided to cancel its "longstanding" sponsorship of The Big Eye column.

The Lynn News apologised "profusely" for any offence caused.

Image copyright Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Image caption A football match was organised by the Hillsborough Family Support Group at the weekend to mark the 25th anniversary of the tragedy

The Big Eye column was headlined "We endure a Hillsborough on our roads every 18 days" and talked about the mourners' "territorial attitudes".

It added that the 25th anniversary memorial service gave people "another chance to display their tribal allegiances".

The column compared the 1989 tragedy to people killed in car crashes, with the comment: "There's no public hand-wringing for the UK's traffic accident victims."

The article has attracted criticism on Twitter and in the Liverpool Echo.

A Specsavers spokesman said: "Specsavers in Kings Lynn has withdrawn its sponsorship of The Big Eye column in the Lynn News with immediate effect.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of flowers, wreaths and tributes left on Liverpool's Anfield stadium pitch in memory of the 96 soccer fans who died at Hillsborough

"During its sponsorship of the column the store had no involvement in its content and does not endorse any of the views expressed within it.

"We found out about the content of the latest The Big Eye column via Twitter and immediately acted to remove our association with it."

In a statement, the Lynn News' editor Nick Woodhead said: "The Lynn News of Tuesday, April 22, included a comment article by weekly columnist The Big Eye entitled 'We endure a Hillsborough on our roads every 18 days'.

"While the piece sought to draw attention to the numbers of road traffic tragedies, the reference to the Hillsborough memorial and the tone of the article were wholly inappropriate and running it was ill-advised on my part.

"The columnist and this newspaper in no way intended to offend anyone involved in Hillsborough or affected by the tragedy and we would like to apologise profusely for any offence caused."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites