On the 15th April 1989, 96 innocent people had their lives cut short in what was Britain’s worst ever sporting disaster. After a long, emotional campaign of 27 years, their deaths have finally received the justice they should have deserved on the day.
Growing up in Liverpool, Hillsborough was on the memory of many people, and although it was after my time, I was brought up to respect the memories of the 96 Liverpool fans that never returned home. Football is a big thing in Liverpool, you are either a red or a blue (I am a proud blue) and nobody should ever go to the game and not return; it shocked us all and brought the two clubs together in a way only mourning can. I was not just 96 Liverpool fans who died, but brothers, sisters, aunt’s uncles, parent’s grandparent’s, children, friends, neighbour’s; I could go on all day, however, it is important to remember that both clubs lost people dear to them that day and most fitting, both clubs are celebrating todays landmark decision.
I am writing this as not a red or a blue, but a child of Liverpool, a city where family is everything and the people are our culture. I write this with a tear in my eye looking at the joyous reactions of the families who have fronted this campaign for 27 years. I write this to celebrate alongside many other people on social media. But I also write this in disgust, at people who feel the need to tarnish today, who feel that “all they hear on the news is Hillsborough this, Hillsborough that” or “It happened years ago, just shut up about it”. So here is a quick history lesson.
For years, these people and the many surviving fans were ridiculed by the press, the police, and the establishment (It is widely believed that the buck stopped with the Prime Minister of the time, Margaret Thatcher) who blamed the fans for the atrocities seen that day. The S*n’s memorable headline, ‘The Truth’ painted the picture of fans disturbing the dead or injured, stopping the absent ambulances from working and urinating on the injured. It was a disgusting piece and since then you seldom see the toilet rag in a Liverpool shop.
It was not until four years ago that the truth was finally revealed, that it was not the fans fault. But this was only the first victory in an already long campaign. Today, on the 26th April 2016, exactly 27 years and 11 days after the game that was never played, it has been confirmed that the 96 were unlawfully killed, and that is justice. For the people who have had enough of Hillsborough, I have this to say: you have no clue what you are talking about; today is for celebrating this long overdue verdict. The campaign that has “burdened” you so much has been aiming for this day. I quite agree that there should have never been a need for this, it should have been settled many years ago, but here we are today, and it is better late than never.
The 96 finally received their justice today; the next step is accountability. JFT96.