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24th May 2017

BT Sport’s Jake Humphrey had a powerful message about Manchester and the importance of football

Wil Jones

“It’s still a game of football. But suddenly this feels like so, so much more than just a game.”

There have been many powerful tributes paid to Manchester and its people, following Monday evening’s tragic events at the MEN Arena.

UEFA have announced that tonight’s Europa League final between Manchester United and Ajax will still go ahead. Other events have been postponed both due to security concerns and as a mark of respect – but last night BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey delivered a beautiful speech about why the game should be played.

Humphrey said:

Just hours since children were targeted in an unforgivable, incomprehensible attack, this match, which does go ahead tomorrow evening, takes on the role of a symbolic event. An event that in many ways offers an immediate opportunity to pay their respects, and remember those who lost their lives in the last few hours in Manchester. An event that makes it clear that Manchester – honest, open Manchester, warm considerate, multicultural, magical Manchester – will not be cowered by terrorism, that the things that that fine city, and we across the world, hold dear will not be undermined.

So this becomes an event that in some ways is now irrelevant, because it’s no longer about silverware. But it is still about football. Because football is something that defines Manchester right across the world. And whilst it seems so insignificant to those young lives lost and those families that have been absolutely devastated, this is also very symbolic. Because it’s about support, it’s about love, it’s about passion, it’s about solidarity – the things that in many ways have never mattered more.

It’s still the Europa League final. The review is still a place in the Champions League. It’s still a game of football. But suddenly this feels like so, so much more than just a game.

Well said. Football is incredibly powerful and brings people together – which is exactly the opposite of what the terrorists want.