You’ll Never Walk Alone

Saturday April 15th 1989 saw me doing my afternoon paper round as usual for this 15 year old. Around 3pm that afternoon I was beckoned into my aunties house to watch what was unfolding on the TV.

What transpired that afternoon was the sad passing of 96 Liverpool football fans (the youngest only being 10) who were attending an FA Cup semi final match against Nottingham Forest. Due to numerous factors something went wrong on entry to one particular end to the ground, and due to the ensuing crush 96 sets of families and friends lives were changed forever. Ninety six people who’d gone out for a days entertainment and never went home that night. A further 766 were injured on the day.

At 3:06 that afternoon the match was stopped by the referee and the police and ambulance services moved in. In the days before mobile phones and social media people only knew what was going on through the TV and radio broadcasts and the national press the next day.

 

Some of the vile lies that were spewed in the printed media, and by one national newspaper in particular, has lead to almost three decades of hurt for Liverpool football club. At that time football fans were treated lower than pond scum and police forces up and down the country could get away with heavy handed tactics with no repercussions. What occurred on that fateful day was not the fault of “drunken fans” or “fans without tickets charging the turnstiles” as suggested by many “eye witness” statements, which have since been found out to have been falsified. It was down to inadequate policing policies on the day in an ageing stadium that was unsafe to hold the match.

Over the years a cover up was put in place to squarely put all of the blame on the fans in attendance. This cover allegedly went as high up as the British government. Over 164 official South Yorkshire police witness statements, many that criticised the force, have been found to have been amended  with at some point.

Today, 27 YEARS and 12 days after the tragedy justice for the families has been done. An inquest, that has taken a mind boggling two years to sift through more than 600 witnesses, has returned a verdict of unlawful killing and cleared ALL fans of causing the deaths and apportioned the blame to the police force, ambulance services and the hosting football club. Most level headed football fans knew this already, but a tiny minority of “fans” have believed all the of the false accusations over the years. Even today I actually read on a blog someone claiming the outcome was just a PR stunt. You couldn’t even make it up.

I’m not affiliated to the club or hold any affinity to them, but when hundreds or thousands of people go to an event, whether it be  sporting, musical or any other gathering, those in attendance should be able to go there and know that they will be safe. Those in charge should have the fans interest at heart. As a football fan watching some of the footage of the day or re listening to Graham Beecroft’s harrowing radio commentary it still makes me misty eyed.

I was going to post a track entitled 3:06 by Liverpool band, and fans of the club, SSS (Short Sharp Shock) which in their chaotic crossover style demanded justice for the 96. These are the lyrics…

made them feel inerior

tagged them all as murderers

theres noone else thats guiltier

THERES BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
buried all the evidence

the lies that you perpetuate

through decades still reverberate

THERES BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
no apologies or lessons learnt

their families left to a hell on earth

turning fiction into fact

you froze , you bottled it and cracked

how do you get to sleep at night?

how do you get to sleep at night?
the media and establishment

re-write history when they want

mckenzies filth wont be the truth

THERES BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS
Duckenfields a murderer

Duckenfields a murderer

south yorkshire pigs are murderers

JUSTICE MUST BE DONE

 

As I can’t find a link to that, here’s a version of the clubs anthem performed by Johnny Cash. Until today I’ve never heard this version of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune taken from Carousel, but made popular by Merseybeat group Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963. This Johnny Cash version can be found in his posthumous 2003 box set Cash Unearthed.