US radio host Steven Cohen is a bit of a plonker

Posted by - April 20, 2009 - Liverpool, Oddballs

DJ uses myths and lies to blame Liverpool fans for Hillsborough
steven-cohen

I gave serious thought as to whether giving the misguided views of Steven Cohen (pictured above, left) more publicity was something I wanted to, but our friends at EPL Talk asked very nicely and I am hopeful you will see his comments for what they are…

Cohen is the co-host of the World Soccer Daily radio show and has been spouting his arrogant and ignorant views on the Hillsborough disaster to his large American audience.

He said: “People showing up without ticket, hell bent in getting into somewhere where they shouldn’t be going because they don’t have tickets, is the root cause of [the Hillsborough Disaster].”

“I’m yet to read anybody write in this weekend’s Sunday papers in England, where they’re all doing big commemorations about the 96, and why we should never forget and how it’s changed the game, nobody discusses the 6-8,000 who showed up without tickets and my argument has always been, if those people don’t show up, this never happens.”

“[Hillsborough] is a stadium that week-in week-out, Sheffield Wednesday used without incident.”

Now, as disrespectful as this is to the 96 victims and their families, I think most right-minded people will see straight through this as complete and utter tosh. If you want to read his comments torn to shreds, The Gaffer has already done it for you.

So I will take a different tack and say that the losers in the wake of Cohen’s rant are American football fans (ie football fans in America, not people who like to watch rugby in crash helmets).

OTP has plenty of American readers who clearly know the game, know its history and are generally sussed on ‘soccer’. People like Cohen really set you back. He obviously has no idea and his views are being broadcast on one of the US’s main football radio shows. Scary stuff.

  • http://www.matchfitusa.com Jason D

    There is so much wrong with what Cohen says that it pains me to see the influence he has over football fans on this side of the pond.

    Not only do too many Americans takes his words as gospel, they also follow his lead on dismissing our domestic league. I’ve never understood the snobbish attitude that Americans should follow Europe to the exclusion of MLS. The game will never get better here as long as people like Cohen wield influence and give fans license to look down their nose at American efforts.

    In addition to the Hillsborough nonsense, he’s also recently commented that Seattle Sounders striker Fredy Montero’s legal trouble is “good for MLS”. That one doesn’t even deserve comment.

  • http://www.ourcornishpastyshop.com ian baldry

    i may be wrong about this, but as far as i remember this was not a ticket only game. In those days it was the norm to just wander down to the ground on a saturday to see the game. Cohens comments are based on a modern all ticket mentality, and shows a complete ignorance to the history and attitudes of the game, not just this tragic days events.

  • http://www.epltalk.com The Gaffer

    Ian, the Hillsborough semi-final was definitely a ticket only game, so there would have been no tickets available for walk-ups.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  • http://wedontknowfootball.com williamhill

    wow, 20 years on and still the blame game. and coming from that guy, all the way across the pond?

  • JkR

    Please do not overestimate Steven’s importance in the US. His daily broadcast reaches tens of people, most of whom are die hard football supporters and are well aware of the story’s, myths and legends regarding Hillsbrough.

    This bit between Cohen and over excited scousers has gone on for years and is of no significance. And I watch his TV show.

  • Homey Boehme

    One thing I will say is that instead of finding ONE entity/organization/police unit/group of fans/etc to blame, the facts are that all share the blame. There were Liverpool fans without tickets who forced themselves into the ground. The police did not handle the situation appropriately. The stadium “pens” were extremely unsafe, even when they weren’t overcrowded. A number of factors, not just ONE factor, combined to cause the Hillsborough disaster.

  • http://www.benjaminchinn.com ben c

    I’ve always hated this guy and now I hate him even more. I’m a Man Utd supported but this is just wrong. However he’s English and not American so I don’t think what he says should be reflected on us Americans.

  • Brian

    Unfortunately, many of the football fans in the U.S. (including myself) are new to the game and weren’t in tune for the Hillsborough disaster. So it is disappointing if listeners to this show (including myself) solely trust Cohen for their opinion. I know enough about football to know when he is spewing rubbish from his mouth.

    The show itself isn’t bad most of the time, though, as Kenny Hassan is Cohen’s very knowledgeable and open-minded co-host who unfortunately gets drowned out by some of Cohen’s aimless ranting. The show also has very knowledgeable guests, including, though he may have not been the best referee, Graham Poll, Robbie Earle, and Tim Vickery who persuade me to continue listening. Admittedly, though, many of the callers do seem to know very little. Better off listening to the 606 phone in for caller-based shows.

    Give us time in the States. A lot of my generation (current university students) are very into English football, though we may support one of the big four (Arsenal). Football in England may not be in its golden age (a la cup shocks, all-English starting XIs, and the £10 ticket), but at least we’ve come over from the dark side of “pause so I can order more chicken wings” American sports.

  • Joe

    I watch Cohen’s show but like most rational people I take his opinion with a grain of salt, compare it to other’s and make up my own mind. What I still find it difficult to get my arms around is the deal with the pens and gate C. I’ve read a few narratives about what happened and I find it somewhat confusing as to exactly what happened. A lot of people’s comments seem to have a lot of emotion for obvious reasons but I find it hard to formulate an opinion on the matter based on what they say. Having not been a fan back then I don’t really have any real recollection of it. Does anyone have any suggestions for really trying to understand this beyond just accepting one person’s opinion? Thanks.

  • Chris

    I watch Fox Football Fone-in every Monday. Up until ESPN’s Soccernet press pass, it was on of the only talk /analysis shows on American TV. Sure, we had American Soccer on Gol TV for a bit, but, that’s gone, and wasn’t a live broadcast.

    We’re a long way from the “Soccer Made in Germany” days, when that was the only soccer show ( narrated reruns basically) on English speaking television.

    So, yeah, Cohen can be a douche, and from your stand point, he’s probably always wrong. But,I for one am thankful that he and nick webster have a 2 hour live television show , with guests, and call ins. Those guys should be given a medal for tirelessly promoting the sport, even with Stevens foot in his mouth half the time.

  • Kevin

    Not too worry, us American fans of the game don’t get our news or formulate our opinions from one man. Steven Cohen is not our main source of information. The internet actually plays a bigger role in our knowledge than shows like world soccer daily and fox football phone in (which also features Cohen). Personally I find these second rate shows with biased (big 4) opinionated hacks to be a giant waste of time. As a lifelong Manchester City supporter these shows don’t give my club much play anyways. Most of these shows just bring guys with English accents who know how to point out the obvious (for instance “I think Manchester United will go far in the Champions League”) and call them football analysts. Give me a break.

  • Chris

    I watch Fox Football Fone-in every Monday. Up until ESPN’s Soccernet press pass, it was on of the only talk /analysis shows on American TV. Sure, we had American Soccer on Gol TV for a bit, but, that’s gone, and wasn’t a live broadcast.

    We’re a long way from the “Soccer Made in Germany” days, when that was the only soccer show ( narrated reruns basically) on English speaking television. I’m talking decades ago. Had to wait for the explosion of spanish speaking television in America just to watch live games, all the mexican football federation.

    So, yeah, Cohen can be a douche, and from your stand point, he’s probably always wrong. But,I for one am thankful that he and nick webster have a 2 hour live television show , with guests, and call ins. Those guys should be given a medal for tirelessly promoting the sport, even with Stevens foot in his mouth half the time.

  • Kevin

    @ Jason D

    “Not only do too many Americans takes his words as gospel, they also follow his lead on dismissing our domestic league. I’ve never understood the snobbish attitude that Americans should follow Europe to the exclusion of MLS. The game will never get better here as long as people like Cohen wield influence and give fans license to look down their nose at American efforts.”

    There are American fans who don’t take Cohen’s words as gospel, there are also American fans who support teams in England and the home talent. Please don’t try to paint us all as ignorant Coehn loving euro-snobs because it isn’t true. It may be for some people but to broadly generalize the American ‘soccer’ viewing public is rediculous.

  • http://www.matchfitusa.com Jason D

    @Kevin

    It’s hard not to paint with a broad brush when the state of MLS (attendance, TV ratings) bear it out.

    I realize that there are a lot of intelligent fans who are discerning enough to take the good with the bad on this side of the pond, but it’s also naive to think that there aren’t many Americans who “follow” Cohen and his type down the anti-American soccer highway.

  • Gooner Gus

    Cohen is an idiot. So to see him so far wrong on this issue is hardly a shock. I usually skip his tv show since his “analysis” is about on par with the lunatic rants you see on 606, BigSoccer, and so many soccer blogs. Most real football fans here in the U.S. know enough to ignore Cohen. Hopefully no relative of the 96 ever get to hear his nonsense. Maybe he should get a job with the Sun?

    To Jason D,
    I agree that there is a small group of “soccer fans” that follow Cohen but those are generally people new to the sport. Give them time and I find that most seek out information from better sources. Those that don’t and continue to take Cohen’s views as gospel were never going to be intelligent supporters anyway. I’m not a fan of the MLS although I’m going to give it another chance since my hometown, Philadelphia, is finally getting a club. I agree with many of the criticisms of MLS that you hear on Cohen’s tv show but I think most of us that focus on clubs outside of the US (I was a gooner before MLS saw it first goal) would like to see the league survive and grow. However, I don’t think you can expect people to support a different club just because a new league opened its doors closer to home. You’d also have to be pretty stubborn to ignore the league’s obvious flaws (including devalued league games because of playoff structure, schedule issues, poor performance against regional rivals, and lower level of skill on display) just because they are being pointed out by a fool like Cohen.

  • Red in LA

    As a survivor of Hillsborough it sickens me to see the lies that are still spread around after 20 years. I now live over here in Los Angeles but am still 100% behind the fight for Justice for the 96.
    It’s not the first time Mr Cohen has opened his mouth with lies regarding the disaster and i can see by reading this forum many are still misguided by what happened on that awful day.
    If any of you have time take a look at a few of these links to get the real FACTS not something spewed from the mouth of Steven Cohen.

    http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/history/index.htm
    http://www.hfdinfo.com/
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/mar/15/hillsborough-disaster-survivors

  • Mark

    The Point Cohen is making is correct. The people that were killed were indeed killed by their own. Were there too many people in one area. Yes indeed and they were trampled. No doubt there is plenty of blame for the stewards and police on that day. But the point is Liverpool Supporters also need to accept the blame that is indeed theirs.

    He also make the point that other teams have had people killed at games but 20 years later aren’t still making like they had nothing to do with it. They have accepted their part in the tragedy and moved on. justice for the 96 will only happen when Liverpool supporters accept the blame that they are due.

    The Taylor report is a cover up in case you don’t understand how government works. The real blame never goes to those that are truly to blame in any government report. I could cite you example after example but that would be a waste of time.

  • Nigel

    REDS CONDEMN HILLSBOROUGH RADIO LIES
    Liverpool Football Club 21 May 2009

    Liverpool Football Club have today issued a statement in response to the recent ill-informed and inflammatory comments made about the Hillsborough disaster by the London-born, US-based Radio presenter Steve Cohen.
    The official statement reads: Liverpool Football Club totally condemns the comments regarding the Hillsborough disaster made by the radio and TV broadcaster Steve Cohen.

    Mr Cohen has obviously never taken the time to read the Taylor Report which stated clearly that ticketless fans were not a contributory factor or responsible for the events of that day.

    To use the 20th anniversary of the disaster to repeat false claims about Liverpool fans (which Mr Cohen first broadcast and then apologised for in 2006) is even more unacceptable.

    http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/drilldown/N164483090521-1657.htm

  • keyster

    The crux of the matter is Steven Cohen has not got one FACT to back up his opinion. Therefore that is all it is, uninformed, uneducated, ignorant opinion.
    Liverpool supporters have contacted and are in the process of contacting sponsors and advertisers of his show to ask them, “do you want your company and your products to be associated with a man who tells lies like this?”
    The sponsors/advertisers will take the decision that they decide is best for their company.
    And going by the number of sponsors/advertisers pulling out their support of Cohens shows, well there is only going to be one winner in this.
    All Cohen had to do was say, “i am sorry, I lied about 8,000-10,000 drunken, ticketless supporters causing the deaths of 96 people who went to watch a football game.”

  • paul spencer

    I was at hillsbourough in 1989,and for cohen to come out with such stupid coments just astounds me.There is a question i would like to ask though,i did not see the show when he made the coments,but what was the reaction of that other plonker who claims to be a liverpool supporter nick webster.