Hillsborough: In 1981 Tottenham Hotspur not Liverpool fans were the white working-class scum in the cage
IN Liverpool, two memorials to the 96 football fans who died at Hillsborough have gone on display. It was On 15 April 1989 when it happened. Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final. There was a crush of bodies in the Liverpool end. And it got worse. And worse. The fans had nowhere to go. The police would not open the gates to release the pressure. The fans begged them to. The police did nothing. To them, the unfolding human disaster was only about crown control.
As the bodies were being collected, the police, the State and the media colluded to blame the fans. They lied.
All football fans who followed their clubs back then know that it could have been them trapped in those overcrowded pens.
Liverpool were the club whose fans were unlucky to have paid the price for years of neglect at football grounds and an opinion of those in power that football fans were working-class scum.
The Sunday Times wrote in 1983:
“The game drifts slowly into the possession of what we are now supposed to call the underclass; and a whole middle-class public grows up without ever dreaming of visiting a football league ground.”
In 1985, a Sunday Times editorial “described football as a slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums“.
It was easy to demonise the white working class who made up the vast bulk of support for the game.
(It continues to this day as the elite use football to hammer home the moral message that the white working class are racists at heart, that their thoughts and actions must be policed lest they embark on a race riot. The talk is of a minute’s silence for Margaret Thatcher. What idiot thinks that would lead to anything other than a stirring of hostility and resentment? But booing and failing to observe the tribute would, we are told, not reflect on the fools who want to dragoon football fans into an act many of them do not believe in and would make them hypocrites, rather it would show football fans as a sub-human mob who can’t even honour Britain’s first female Prime Minister.)
But Hillsborough was not about violence and thuggery. It was a horror that could have been prevented.
The disaster could have happened at the FA Cup semi-final in 1981, when Tottenham Hotspur played Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Spurs fans felt the crush at the Leppings Lane end. As Lord Taylor said in his report on Hillsborough: “[Spurs scored] after only three minutes. The spectators just entering pushed forward to see what was happening and caused a crush, which resulted in the injuries”.
On September 2012 an Independent Panel wrote of the Spurs v Wolves Semi-Final:
Crushing on the terraces and opening of the perimeter gate
2.1.6 In 1981 the Leppings Lane terrace, although accessed from various points including the central tunnel, was not divided into pens by lateral fences. It was an open terrace. As fans arrived onto the already packed steps there was crushing resulting in serious injuries including broken bones, cuts and bruises.5 Thirty-eight people received treatment from St John Ambulance volunteers and some were taken to hospital.6 The crushing was most severe when Tottenham Hotspur scored a goal three to four minutes into the game and fans entering pushed forward. One supporter described how ‘people were passing out and having difficulty breathing, people were getting hysterical, shouting and screaming’.72.1.7 As the game continued a senior police officer, Assistant Chief Constable Robert Goslin, stated it was decided to remove fans from the Leppings Lane terrace ‘to ease a dangerous situation where serious injuries or even fatalities were a real possibility’.8 He gave the order to open the gates in the perimeter fence, thereby releasing approximately 150 spectators onto the perimeter track and relieving the crush. The evidence suggests that the perimeter gates were opened after the crushing was recognised. Yet one eye witness suggests that fans had been allowed onto the perimeter track as early as 2.30pm.9 Certainly, the opening of the gates at the time of the crush averted further, possibly fatal, injuries. Inspector Roger Greenwood (Superintendent and Ground Commander in 1989) stated that he was stationed at one of the perimeter gates and radioed the Police Control Box for authority to open the gates. He received no response and together with another officer he opened the gates.10 The fans sat on the track, their backs against the perimeter fence wall.
The police knew that. But they never learnt from it. They did not listen. They only commanded. And they got away with it. They all did.
Number of people arrested for phone hacking by investigation: 127
37 (Operation Wheeting – investigating alleged phone hacking, primarily at the News of the World)
60: (Operation Elveden – investigating alleged payments made to public officials by journalists)
30 Operstion Tuleta – Investigating allegations of computers being hacked to obtain private information
Number of people arrested over Hillsborough: 0
Who started the lies?
Hillsborough Disaster Memorial which is on display at Old Haymarket, Liverpool.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson gives a speech during the clock donated by Liverpool Museum which is on display at Liverpool Town Hall where the clock has stopped at the time of the Hilsborough Disaster.