The Glasgow-born ex-player, who chose to play for Ireland because of huge family links to Buncrana, is under intense pressure with Ronnie Whelan to leave the RTE programme.
The two former Liverpool and Ireland players are being criticised by supporters of the club because of their involvement in the planned live screening of Premier Soccer Sunday on May 1, sponsored by the paper.
The Sun is still held in contempt by Liverpool supporters for the manner in which it reported the deaths of 96 fans at Hillsborough, 22 years ago last week.
Four days after the tragedy the paper claimed fans had picked the pockets of victims, urinated on police and beat up a policeman trying to resuscitate a victim. Those allegations were subsequently retracted and an apology issued 15 years later, but the feelings still run deep and a large-scale boycott of the newspaper continues in Liverpool.
“Their appearance says to Liverpool supporters that there has been a softening of the stance when there hasn’t been any softening,” Jim Boardman of anfieldroad.com told the Sunday Independent.
“We’ve boycotted The Sun for 22 years. We’re still waiting for justice for the 96 fans who died and I believe that the stories that appeared in The Sun in 1989 have contributed to the families not receiving justice. I would have expected better from a couple of our old heroes.”
Ger Kane, a Liverpool fan from Summerhill, Co Meath, echoed those views: “To have two Liverpool players who played that day in Hillsborough to be associated with The Sun really hurts. Ronnie Whelan was captain that day. He knows what this means. They both attended funerals of those who died. I would be amazed if they weren’t aware of it. They shouldn’t have anything to do with that paper.”
Fans might hold a protest outside RTE’s Montrose studios on the night.
Houghton, in Dublin at the weekend to appear on Premier Soccer Saturday, also said it was the first he had heard about it.
“I haven’t a clue,” he said. “I’ll obviously have to think about it. I’ll have to speak to RTE about it and see what’s going on. I’ll have to find out about that.”Tags: