Liverpool fans in Bob Paisley Hetton memorial row

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DISAPPOINTED fans have been left angry after claiming police did not allow them to visit a memorial to their legendary former manager.

Liverpool fans had planned to visit a plaque commemorating the life of Bob Paisley in his hometown of Hetton before Sunday’s Premier League clash between their club and Sunderland.

But Reds supporters say police wouldn’t let them visit the memorial, with drivers of the coaches they were on instructed to go straight to the Stadium of Light.

Northumbria Police, who were responsible for getting the fans travelling from Merseyside to the game, said they hadn’t received a request from supporters to visit the memorial.

 One Liverpool fan, who helps run coaches to the Merseyside team’s away games, said: “We knew the fans wanted to see it. We have different people coming every year.

“At the end of the day, our coach drivers were told that no coaches were to enter Hetton.

“We know we are not allowed to stop 10 miles from the ground, but Hetton is always a safe bet.”

The plaque was unveiled in August 2008 after £5,000 was raised by the Bob Paisley Memorial Committee.

Sunderland and Liverpool supporters joined together at the official opening ceremony.

James Lobban, 72, of Hetton, was in the Victory Club, in the town, on Sunday.

Mr Lobban said: “The Liverpool fans are not a bit of bother when they come here. They are a good bunch of lads who are welcome.”

One woman who helps manage a pub in Hetton, but didn’t want to be named, said: “We have lost money and other local businesses have lost out.

“Even the Sunderland fans are saying it’s ridiculous. The coaches that came have kids with them.

“I don’t think it’s fair because they are supporters who have given money to put the memorial there.”

However, Northumbria Police said that they did not receive a request from Liverpool fans to visit the memorial, which they say has been the case in the last couple of years.

They said a number of officers were in Hetton ahead of the game in case any fans did turn up and needed to be escorted to the game.

Bob Paisley was the Anfield club’s most successful manager.

After a playing career with Bishop Auckland and Liverpool, he became boss in 1974 and led them to three European Cups, six league titles and a Uefa Cup.

He died in 1996, aged 77, after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.