Liverpudlian reacts to this weeks events and praises the families resolve during the 23 years where the country wouldn’t listen.
“Sympathy city,” victim city,” “always the victim, the blame is not yours.” We have heard it for years. The taunts, the sarcastic remarks and the songs from the terraces. Every time we would have to bat it back and defend our city, our club and our fans. 99.9% of us just felt indignation and injustice but to that 0.1 % that lost loved ones at Hillsbrough, it must have felt like a twist to the dagger that had already penetrated their heart on that fateful day.
That the drunken Liverpool fans caused the problem by forcing the gates and causing the crush, always was the perceived and popular misconception of the causal factors on the day. Fuelled of course, by disgraceful newspaper headlines at the time and endorsed by the government’s stance, the police response and continued media rhetoric – but only from outside the boundaries of Merseyside. The continued underlying theme over the last decade or so has been one of bewilderment and bemusement as to why the HSG continued to fight for justice for their loved ones and why the rest of us supported them so steadfastly. “It’s time to give it a rest now” and “why don’t they just get on with their lives” are typical of the sort of comments I have heard regularly. Anniversaries of the disaster were increasingly met with nothing like the same respect anymore and it became something of an anti – scouse agenda in the eyes of a large percentage of football fan’s nationwide.
The revelations of this week then were both surreal and a national scandal and the whole sorry episode left me angry, dismayed and absolutely staggered. If this had happened in some shanty town in the middle of nowhere and the facts were hidden by some corrupt, self-imposed dictatorship government you would have been disgusted. The fact that it happened in this country and the truth was subsequently hidden for 23 years defies belief. If the loved ones of the 96 had done as they were told by the authorities and just gone away, that truth would never have come out. However they are (predominantly) scousers and just accepting bollocks is not a trait we adhere to in this part of the world. Subsequently then, their dedication to the fight was and is incredible. All of society now has to acknowledge their plight and they are, in their own words, half way towards their aims.
With incredible character and humility, they have forced the very fabric of this country into a climb down of epic proportions over what was and is a national scandal on so many counts. David Cameron is at least to be admired for his statement but the words of regret from the former editor of that newspaper do not warrant comment. As part of the problem, he, like a lot of people, will need to do a lot of soul searching now but whereas the members of the gutter press perhaps have no conscience, those people who amended statements from the various services to look after their own interests will be wearing very worried expressions now. The scale of the cover up seems to be of staggering proportions from the very people in which we trust to look after our society and how they have all slept in their beds and chosen to say nothing for all this time beggars belief.
The people who wanted justice for their loved ones have been vindicated in every aspect and their courage and determination to press on against all odds at times, is a source of inspiration to all of us.
God bless you.
RIP THE 96.
To quote the words of the great Bob Paisley, “I am proud to be a Liverpudlian tonight”