true faith – JUSTICE FOR THE 96

by • April 26, 2016 • NewsComments (10)2174

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

Apr 1989: Supporters are crushed against the barrier as disaster strikes before the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest played at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/Allsport

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.

If you have missed the coverage of the case, please take to read these pieces, please visit The Guardian’s website here and the Liverpool Echo here

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.




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10 Responses to true faith – JUSTICE FOR THE 96

  1. Pat Hughes says:

    Absolutely spot on and well said. You’re right, this should be the start. It’s appalling it has taken so long to get to the truth and for the families of the victims to find true justice. I can still remember the horror stories of drunken fans, it was their own fault etc and I don’t know how the cover-up merchants have been able to live with themselves.

  2. Tony Higgins says:

    Great words, so much more than just football this. A monumental day for the UK and all football fans and citizens that believe in the values of justice and honesty. I salute those people who battled for 27 long years for this.

  3. Nick says:

    A profoundly moving day that brought a lot of memories back. As you say those of us at Spurs in 87 had a lucky escape which we didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I don’t think justice has yet been served, merely the truth laid bare. There is now a need for those responsible for Hillsborough to be prosecuted and for those that slandered and libelled the Liverpool fans to answer. There must be a means to sue Kelvin McKenzie. The excuse I have heard so far is “we were just printing what we were told”, which is no defence for defamation. Hopefully the families in Liverpool have some measure of peace after today.

  4. Carol Willis says:

    Brilliant article. The courage of the Campaign for Justice is truly inspirational and moving. Thank you for showing solidarity from this club to theirs. We are all touched and invoked as fans and fellow human beings in the fight against a corrupt and craven establishment which has lost contact with the truth.

    Stephen Lawrence, Hillsborough: how long does it take to get justice in modern Britain? I fear the whole truth about Orgreave will be a long time coming to. The Campaign for the 96 gives us hope.

  5. mikey says:

    Well said mate.

    At the core of this disaster and coverup was also class contempt and class hared.

    Football fans were seen and treated as animals and expendable. They were dehumanised as they were left dying.

    And while things are different these days, some of the class contempt is still there in different ways. While grounds have been made safer, the disaster was used as an opportunity to ‘gentrify’ the game, and actually steal it away from large sections of the working class. It was made safer but not for the people whose game it was.

    For me, the verdict yesterday was a humbling achievement of the families and quite emotional day. It must, as you say, be the beginning of proper accountability for the cover up and lies of police and media. Then, i believe strongly, it should lead the way in putting fans at the centre of the game and running of their clubs. We understand fans, the game and our clubs. Contempt for fans led to this disaster, in different ways that contempt still exists.

  6. jackson says:

    Do read that Guardian full report on the whole story behind Hillsborough. It lays bare the kind of police service we had at the time, some of whom, rather like exposed war criminals, came back as old men to robotically spout the same old mantra.

  7. Peter says:

    Absolutely spot on.

    It is good that there is finally justice for the 96 and their families. the dignified and determined campaign by the families has been an example to us all and they have done their great city proud. I had the privilege of hearing Margaret Aspinall speak at the Durham Miners Gala a few years back when she deservedly got a great Northeast reception.

    May the 86 rest in peace.

  8. Jim Myton says:

    Great article Michael,

    Is it entirely a coincidence that Thatcher is no longer around to be called to account? From what I’ve read, secret Cabinet papers are being looked at, it’ll be interesting to see if they will be made public and/or any cases will be brought as a result. Your point about Orgreave is well-made, maybe bit by bit the truth about the 1980s, rather than the version we were spun, will come to light. Sadly, you only need to go to Redcar to realise that the Tories continue to treat communities away from their heartlands with mistrust and disdain and instead peddle nonsense about a Northern powerhouse.

    He may not be fondly remembered on Tyneside but Dalglish has been magnificent in the dignified and respectful way he has carried himself right from the day of the tragedy. There’s an interview he did with his daughter, who was there on the day, on the BBC website which is worth listening to. Unlike other managers I can think of, he’s never tried to make any of this to be about him in the least and his support for the families of the Liverpool fans has been exemplary. Not the greatest manager we’ve ever had but a decent man.

  9. Ian Summers says:

    Hopefully phillip green will be next.