What do you say on a day like today, the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster?
Victory against Chelsea last night would certainly have be a fitting and timely tribute to the victims. However even though it was a case of “almost but not quite”, it still is. The team played well and gave it everything they had. I was proud of Liverpool Football Club last night just as I was before 15th April 1989 and after because of it’s immediate response to the event (particularly the players) and the way that everyone at L4 has made sure the terrible events of that day have never been forgotten.
And what of the events twenty years ago? For me the feelings that I expressed in a post two years ago (click here) still remain. I don’t really want to face up to Hillsborough too much and still try to block it out of my mind or avoid it if it’s bought up in conversation. It’s been a tough week dodging the numerous articles and recollections about that day. I’ve tried to listen to them, particularly some of the stuff that’s been on Five Live, but always end up switching off. It’s not that I don’t care or appreciate the significance of the event or what went on, I was there, in the pen, but thankfully well away from the tunnel entrance high up and behind a crush barrier. One day I might speak or write about my experiences and what I saw, just as many have done this week. It might do me good but I’ve found over the years that the best way for me to deal with my personal experience of Hillsborough and what I went through is to keep it to myself, especially as others experienced far worse, and try and move on. Call it cowardice or whatever but there it is.
I guess this is why I was comforted last night listening to Tony Edwards the driver of the one ambulance that managed to get onto the pitch when he said something similar.
“In the main I deal with it by not dealing with it. Getting on with my life”
“I always try to fight my involvement in Hillsborough and not face up to it”
That is not to say I’m denial about whole disaster, just my little part. If you follow Liverpool or football you can’t escape Hillsborough. You certainly can’t this week as there appears to be media overload which in some cases has been cringe worthy, bordering on the mawkish.
Many have written pieces about how much we have to thank Hillsborough for kick starting the improvements which, via the recommendations of the Taylor report, have helped make the game it is today. However, just as fans were treated like dirt in 1989 they still are today, albeit in more subtle way. Two examples are inconvenient kick off times and extortionate ticket prices. A ticket for last nights game should in real terms, when compared to the prices for the Hillsborough semi, have cost you around £18. What would that have bought you at Stamford Bridge last night?
Sure we sit in nicer, safer grounds and we are, by and large able to take our kids to games now without fear of being exposed to violent morons. Crowd control is better . However, should the game and the authorities be so smug when so many questions surrounding the events of 15th April 1989 remain unanswered?
It would be a grand considerate gesture if, after twenty years, a final concerted effort was made to try and address these issues and give the relatives closure. However, all this week has done is bring into focus just how badly Hillsborough has been handled, from the day of the match, to now. How things were covered up, glossed over and how the deceit still continues to this very day. For all the improvements since 1989 it seems that the relatives of those who suffered continue to play the part of undeserved fall guys? That too is a tragedy.
God bless the 96 (today and always) and justice.