...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
A campaign to remove the ships from Manchester United and Manchester City’s football badges has sparked controversy among fans, politicians, and historians.
Both clubs feature a ship with three masts, which is said to reflect the city’s trading heritage.
However, some are now suggesting that the ship is a symbol of the slave trade, leading to calls to have it removed from the badges.
Fans and others have dismissed this campaign as historically inaccurate and lacking authenticity.
Labour MP Graham Stringer called the campaign “crazy” and said it tarnished Manchester’s long-standing history of anti-discrimination.
Manchester United’s historian, JP O’Neill, also pointed out that the first ship to arrive in Manchester came in 1894, following the opening of the Ship Canal, meaning that no vessel based in the city could have ever participated in the slave trade.
Moreover, both clubs were formed nearly a century after slavery was abolished in the UK, and local experts have pointed out that Lancashire mill workers had regularly refused to work with cotton picked by slaves since the 1700s.
However, a recent article in The Guardian has referred to the ships in the club badges as “an emblem of a crime against humanity,” arguing that the inspiration for the badges had been taken from the Manchester coat of arms created in 1842, long after slavery was abolished.
Fans have taken to social media to criticize the campaign, calling it “nonsense” and “woke garbage.”
Some have argued that a picture of a ship is not automatically a slave ship.
The two Manchester football clubs have yet to publicly comment on the campaign.
However, fan groups have reportedly urged the clubs to resist the calls for change.
The controversy highlights the ongoing debates around symbols and their historical significance in modern times.
Commentary: This campaign to remove the ships from the Manchester United and Manchester City football badges has caused a stir among supporters of the clubs.
While the campaign appears to be historically inaccurate and lacking in authenticity, the controversy raises important questions about symbols and their meaning.
The campaign seems to have been inspired by The Guardian’s article, which raises the question of whether symbols that have become embedded in our culture should be reassessed in light of changing times and values.
However, many argue that the ships on the badges have nothing to do with the slave trade and that removing them would be a pointless exercise in revisionism.
The controversy highlights the challenges of navigating issues of history, identity, and symbolism in the modern world.
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