Hillsborough: the Liverpool 96 get truth only when the uniform is off and God is waiting
Why did 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives on15 April 1989 at the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium? We had thought it was to do with treating football fans as sub-human scum, a problem to be solved through new forms of control. How else was it that when the innocent were dying in cages the police called not for the ambulances but for the attack dogs? Why else was it that with the dead not yet buried and the dying in hospital, the Press felt able to continue the theme that all football fans deserved it?
Football was “a slum sport watched by slum people”. Well, so said the Sunday Times newspaper. But the Times was only right about the stadiums, neglected and inadequate. In May 1985, the Bradford City stadium fire in May 1985 killed 56 people.
In 1985, 38 Italian fans died following a charge by Liverpool supporters at the Heysel stadium. The dead were killed when a faulty wall collapsed.
So. Why were Liverpool fans given the Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough while their less well-supported opponents Nottingham Forest stood in the bigger end of the ground? Because that was how the police wanted it.
You can read my views on that horrific day in “Hillsborough: 96 Liverpool Fans Killed By ‘A Slum Sport Watched By Slum People In Slum Stadiums’“. Everyone who went to a football match in the 1980s will understand that the Liverpool fans who died could have been them. Amid all the guff about the “football family”, this is one truth that binds all fans.
And so to today’s news in of all places The Sun, the newspaper that more than any other bought into the lies that depraved, grave-robbing Liverpool fans had instigated their own deaths. In 2012, the paper apologised for colluding with the police lies.
Appearing at the Hillsborough inquests in Warrington, Cheshire, David Duckenfield, the Hillsborough police match commander, says his failure to close a tunnel “was the direct cause of the deaths of 96 people”.
He was wrong. He made a terrible error. But that error was triggered by the top-down monstering of all football fans. David Duckenfield did not act in isolation.
The dead were libelled. At the coroner’s court, details of the deceased were read out together with their blood alcohol reading. That horror included the blood alcohol reading of a dead 10-year-old boy. The verdict was that the 96 had perished in an “Accidental Death”. No charges would be brought against anyone. Only the dead were to blame.
Suck it up. Move on. Years later the elite joined the bereft and abused in a minute’s silence. Your pain was now their pain, too. The conniving never stops.
The lies were maintained. Evidence presented without contest by the State propped up the narrative of drunkeness and violence.
Now David Duckenfield says he “froze” during the afternoon of the 1989 football disaster.
Mr Duckenfield is 70.
The wheels of justice turn slowly. We now see an old man in the dock. He is full of remourse. But he’s no longer a serving copper. But he was when he made a witness statement on 5 May 1989. He said:
Now he says he is sorry for his lie about fans forcing an exit gate open to enter the ground. He said it was a “lie of omission” when he said gates to the ground had been forced. “He claimed he was referring to the first opening of gate C, at 2,48pm, when he wrongly believed it had been forced and about 150 fans gained access”. He says:
“I am now very much older, very much wiser and very much more understanding of the events of the day and have decided to tell the whole truth.”
So says the old man no longer in uniform.
You wait long enough and if you’re lucky you get to hear the truth just before God makes his judgement…