The date of the 12th September 2012 will forever be remembered as the day the UK, and probably the World, learned of the lengths the authorities went to in order to obscure the truth behind the worst Football disaster certainly in my memory, and probably in anyone’s memory. On 15th April 1989, over 23 years ago, 96 people lost their lives at Hillsborough, the home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
Personally, I was only 8 years old at the time, and wasn’t able to fully comprehend the meaning behind the pictures that were shown on Grandstand as the events unfolded. All I could think was ‘Why aren’t they playing football?’ It’s only been as I’ve grown older and read about it and heard about it that I was finally able to grasp the gravity of the matter. To think that 96 people left their homes on that fateful day to attend a football match, at what was a top division ground with history of hosting such games (FA Cup Semi-finals), and never returned is incomprehensible. To try and understand how their families have been feeling ever since is nigh on impossible.
I’m not going to go through what happened on the day, because it is well documented. What does need to be said is that at the time, the football supporter was tarred with the same brush as the football hooligan – trouble makers with only one thing on their mind: to cause mayhem and injury to rival supporters and the police, if possible.
A quick re-direction to the following article which was tweeted by Graham Linehan (writer of Father Ted, and the IT Crowd amongst other things) and written by someone under the name of ‘Kerlarsenickoff’, will help you to understand the atmosphere at the time…
Now, I haven’t seen the nuts and bolts of yesterday’s document release, but the summary is pretty damning of the South Yorkshire Police authority. To learn that nearly half of the deaths could have been prevented by timely action and intervention is shocking in itself. But then put yourself into the place of the bereaved families, now surely left to wonder if their loved one(s) could have been saved. The original medical report stated that all 96 were either dead or brain-dead by 15 minutes past 3, but this has been shown to have been blatantly wrong.
Another re-direction, this time to the words of Henry Winter, Football Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph…
So, the truth is finally out there. The apologies have already been made by David Cameron on behalf of the Government, by Jack Straw for not pushing harder for full disclosure during his tenure in Government, and by The Sun newspaper, who so badly misjudged the balance between sensationalism, sales and the truth to the effect that I don’t know if they sell any copies of their tawdry rag on Merseyside.
However, apologies alone should and can not be the end of it. The Hillsborough Families will unite in their desire to see criminal convictions for those found to have doctored statements, or any other act of criminality within the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and so they should. The nation will be behind them.
Finally, I take you to a BBC article published on their website earlier this evening, which also allows you to read more about the whole sorry debacle…
I for one will be waiting to see what happens.