I find it hard to write about Hillsborough. The sheer stupidity of the authorities on the day is one thing, but the callous disdain (see Lord Justice Stuart-Smith) and downright hostility (see most of the UK media but particularly The S*n) towards the dead and their families has been nothing short of appalling.
Before Hillsborough, The Kop was a special place. You were part of a huge family, not only full of many walks of life with fantastic wit but they also had an inbuilt knowledge of how the great game should be played. Something of Liverpool Football Club was lost after the last game in ‘94 against Norwich but things had to change. I loved the place but a disaster like Hillsborough can never happen again.
The dead were Liverpool fans but could have been from any club. As the wife of one of those who never came home said “To the world my husband is one of the 96, but to me and his children, he was always our number one.”
It’s not just her words that make you stop and think. The essence of the tragedy of Hillsborough is in the words “never came home”. This happened to 96 ordinary fans, 96 ordinary people like you and me who went to a football match and simply never came home.
That’s not a Scouser being maudlin or over-dramatic, that’s simply a fact. They were ordinary football fans and that is why they have never had justice and why the South Yorkshire Police have never been properly held to account.
The South Yorkshire Police, who made all the decisions that caused the disaster and dithered over, or simply didn’t make, other decisions that could have saved lives.
The South Yorkshire Police who pushed fans back over fences, ignored pleas to help, who only allowed one of 44 ambulances on the pitch, and who were then treated with kid gloves at every subsequent questioning and even compensated for stress.
One of things that has made me proud to be a Liverpool supporter since 1989, is the actions of our fans on that day. The Hillsborough Justice Committee called them ‘exemplary’ by “trying to help those in need”.
The HJC website also points out “These fans who acted so heroically were the same fans who would later be accused of breaking down the gate…and crushing their fellow fans to death. The same fans who would be accused of pick-pocketing the dead and urinating on police officers who were ‘attempting to save lives’”.
Coming out of the 80’s Liverpool was a troubled city. With mass unemployment and riots the decade was finished off with a disaster that should have never happened. Where else other than a working class sporting event would this sort of thing be allowed to happen. What other disaster would still on its 22nd Anniversary not have found the guilty parties involved. What government would allow the victims families to go through the pain and lies they’ve had to endure for the last 22 years. Liverpool supporters were failed by the police that day and government should hang their heads in shame. If Hillsborough was a film set over the last 22 years you simply wouldn’t believe it, you’d say it was farfetched and could never happen. The 80’s painted scousers as trouble makers. The truth is Liverpool was a city that stood up for itself at the beginning of the 80’s, said enough is enough, things needed to change. Trouble is the real truth isn’t something the tabloids like to print.
Please support the Hillsborough Justice Committee in the best way possible. Tell as many people you know the real truth, the truth that government and newspapers didn’t want people to know. They wanted to brush it all under the carpet. Keep fighting for justice for the families, keep fighting to clear their names. Retweet, like, share, pass on this post on the anniversary of the 96 that never came home.
Justice for the 96.