Wednesday, 15 April 2009


PROUD - that's how I feel right now.

Proud to be a Red. Proud that 30,000 people took time out of their working day to pay their respects to the 96 fans that died at Hillsborough at Anfield today.

Proud that many more marked the 20th anniversary of the disaster at the stadium itself, in Nottingham and in and around Liverpool.

At the service today what struck me was just how long it took to read out 96 names - that really drove home the magnitude of the disaster.

I can't begin to imagine how the families of the dead, or the survivors, feel - and I won't attempt to put it into words.

All I can do is talk about my own experience.

What I remember is tuning in on the radio on that sunny day in 1989, sitting in my mum and dad's back garden, aged 12.

Like most people in Liverpool, I knew people who had gone to the game, lads from school. I would have done anything to be there myself - thankfully, I wasn't.

I remember running into the house to tell my mum and dad what was happening and we just ended up transfixed to the telly as the horror unfolded.

To this day it seems almost surreal, unbelievable. It's been said, and written, thousands of times - but how could it happen?

And how, 20 years on, can we have a situation where still nobody has been held to account?

It would only happen here. Look at Heysel. The head of the Belgian FA was JAILED for six months for his part in the organisation of that game.

Just after the current Liverpool FC team did us proud with a gutsy performance at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the conversation between some friends and I turned to Hillsborough.

A good friend of 14 years standing was at that game on April 15, I knew that. What I didn't know was he was in the Leppings Lane end, along with his cousin and his dad.

And if it wasn't for his dad steering him away from the middle pen...well it doesn't bear thinking about.

What I also didn't know was he lost sight of his cousin in the ground and ended up searching amongst those who had perished before thankfully being reunited with him outside the ground.
It's our job as Liverpool fans to fight for the 96

The fact I have known him so long and yet been unaware of those facts says it all. It is shocking, horrendous - something a football fan should never have to go through - and something that it's not easy to accept, or talk about.

Now anybody who ever attends a football game has the 96 to thank for their privileged position - the knowledge that they will never go through something like that.

It should never have took what happened on that day to get to that position.

People were treated like animals back then - and now, even 20 years on, people should be held to account.

The 20-year anniversary was marked magnificently and the coverage in the newspapers, particularly in The Guardian and The Observer, in highlighting in the injustices of the tragedy has been superb.

I now believe, more than ever, that it's our job as Liverpool fans to fight for the 96, for their reputations, and for their families' peace of mind.

Because, believe or not, there's people who remain ignorant about the day, the events leading up to it - and the cover-ups ever since.

People who shrug it off, think it's time to leave it alone, and, most amazingly of all, continue to apportion some blame to Liverpool fans for the tragedy.

While that kind of viewpoint lives in the national conscience, we need to make sure the people fighting for justice don't walk alone.

So if you know someone who flippantly disregards the Hillsborough disaster or starts harping on about drunks, or hooligans - challenge them. Tell them the truth.

You owe it to the 96 - RIP, You'll Never Walk Alone.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't make the service yesterday for a number of reasons. i did watch it all on the LFC TV channel tho, and was absolutely gobsmacked by the turnout. i have been to many of the memorials over the last 20 years, and never have they had to open up more than the kop end. it was magnificent to see

why has it took 20 years to make big news again? some years the Memorial service hardly even warrants a few lines in the Echo

But at least more and more of the truth is coming out. I was 19 years old on the day it happened, just a wee teenager, the same as a great proportion of the fans lost that day. I have gone on to have a full life and (soon to be) 2 children of my own- those lives couldve had so much potential. I too had relatives at the game, and my vivid memory is of my 16 year old brother running round frantically trying to find news of his friends who were there (all thankfully survivors)

My mum and dad were accousted by 2 (middle-aged, i must say) bitter Man U fans in a pub a few weeks ago, after watching a LFC victory, and their attitude was disgusting- they were arguing that Liverpool had no right to move their game against Chelsea from 15th to 14th April, basically they were just goading and taunting and had no respect for the Hillsborough families- or more likely, just plain bloody ignorant!!

Whenever we come across idiots like this we need to set them straight- and continue supporting the families

Never Forgotten

Dave Molyneux said...

Excellent stuff mate, really good read

It’s been a pretty emotional couple of days. I’ve felt very sad and sombre about the whole thing lately

I read a few articles in The Observer as well last month in their magazine. They were interviewing various people who had been directly affected by what happened. A very poignant moment was when they interviewed Peter Beardsley. He was reflecting on how he hit the bar in the first few minutes at Hillsborough and he thought to himself “what would have happened if I had scored?” That did not bare thinking about. All of it was very insightful stuff and it tells the untold stories on how it’s affected many people’s lives in different ways after the tragedy.

I’d also like to say a massive nice one to Alan Hansen for his comments on Match of the Day last week. Takes a lot for someone to come out and say something like he did live on national television. I was quite choked when he spoke of his experiences of that day.

I also feel very proud lately about the memorial service and the way we played at Stamford Bridge as well mate. Let’s hope we can go on and win the league and dedicate it to the 96 people who died, that would be a fitting tribute.

Its things like this that make us come together and also makes us great

Anonymous said...

Very touched and very proud too
Your right it is up to us never to let this be forgotten

Ynwa 96 RIP


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