The Daily Shift’s Shane Hurley gives us a detailed break down of the Hillsborough disaster…
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. That old saying is wrong, words can hurt, and they can haunt people. Liverpool FC and its supporters have had to live with the words of the Sun newspaper “the Truth”, police claims of drunken, ticketless hooligans and opposition chants of “you killed your own fans” for years. These words and statements have cast a dark shadow over the club and its supporters for 23 years.
At the time the general public and media organisations for a large part accepted the story presented by the police, as Liverpool and their fans had been involved in a similar incident during a European game with Italian side Juventus. The Heysel stadium disaster in May of 1985 claimed the lives of 39 people, 33 of them Juventus fans. The deaths were a result of Liverpool fans breaching a dividing fence. It is for this reason that it was easier to fabricate lies about the behaviour of the Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.
Wednesday, September 12, will live long in the clubs annals. The day the Hillsborough Independent Panel delivered its findings after three years and 450,000 documents.
• 41 of the 96 victims could possibly have been saved if emergency services acted in accordance with their set guidelines.
• 116 of 164 official police statements had been altered to deflect negligence and blame from both the South Yorkshire police and emergency services.
The findings brought about an apology from Prime Minister David Cameron in the house of commons, saying: “I am profoundly sorry that this double injustice has been left uncorrected for so long”.
He went on to commend the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, the families, and the community for their work. The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve will decide in the coming weeks what action to take on a fresh inquest. The existing verdict of accidental death was found by the panel to be extremely weak.
The Sun newspaper along with its editor at the time of the disaster, Kelvin MacKenzie, and current editor Dominic Mohan all offered apologies. Mohan had this to say: “Twenty three years ago the sun newspaper made a terrible mistake”. However, Kelvin MacKenzie’s apology was rejected by the families of the 96.
The FA could also have more questions to answer for as part of a future inquest. They scheduled the match to be played at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground as a neutral venue, despite the ground not having an up to date safety certificate and previous crowd problems experienced by Tottenham Hotspur fans at the very same Leppings Lane stand in 1981. There were 38 injuries recorded due to crushing at this match. The Fa did co-operate with the Independent panel throughout and changes have been made to grounds and safety standards after the event to prevent such tragedies happening again.
Any future prosecutions may help the families in some small part to move forward with their own lives. What can not be mended by any action now is the knowledge of the family members of the bereaved who have passed away themselves since the 1989 FA cup semi final or the people who were there that day, and will forever be traumatised by what unfolded in front of their very eyes.