The disaster at Hillsborough in April 1989 was not caused by football supporters. It was caused by a collective corporate failure on the part of South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Sheffield Council. Ordinary football supporters were not guilty for their own deaths and football fans did not cause the deaths of the people they went to see a football match alongside.
That is the truth. THE TRUTH.
The cause of the disaster at Hillsborough was one thing but the grotesque cover-up in which the South Yorkshire Police, Thatcher government and sections of the Murdoch press connived in is quite another. It is a stain on a society which claims to be democratic. It was caused by a venality towards ordinary people which was of its time. It was a symptom of a prevailing attitude in government that was repeated in places like Orgreave and elsewhere.
We are all greatly in the debt to those who have fought tirelessly for justice. Those of us who went to football matches in
the Hillsborough era are well aware this could have been us. We were exactly the same as those Liverpool supporters and their families who have been treated beyond shamelessly by an establishment whose priority was to protect itself rather than the people it is supposed to serve. The people who have fought so long for justice are heroes and I’m humbled by their determination and desire for justice and for the truth. These are people who make me proud to be a citizen of this country but the people they have exposed make me ashamed.
We stood on those terraces in the Leppings Lane End and I’m sure many of you can recollect the feelings of being crushed, an unresponsive Police, fences and empty terraces adjacent to us. Those of you reading this will recall that Cup tie at White Hart Lane when we were, on reflection, a hair’s breadth away from tragedy. And many other instances.
But now is the start of justice being served after a long and painful twenty-seven years for those whose loved ones were lost and whose deaths have blighted lives.
The establishment wanted this to all go away and to be a footnote in the history of this country but those fighting for justice refused to go away, refused for their loved ones to be forgotten and be anyone’s file gathering dust. The people who have led this campaign and those who have supported it are the very best of this country. I am in awe of their determination, courage and dignity. They made alive their club’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
I would like to point out the contribution to the coverage of this case by David Conn, of The Guardian who has tirelessly followed this case and brought every detain into the public eye. There are others but David (a friend of this humble fanzine) is one to have in particular kept the spotlight on the case over many, many years. This was is what journalism is all about in my opinion.
Let us hope those who were guilty of a shameless cover-up and of a dissembling against the victims and their families are now sitting very uncomfortably and awaiting a knock on a door that should have happened a long, long time ago.
JUSTICE FOR THE 96 – THIS SHOULD JUST BE THE START!