Jimmy Savile and Hillsborough not a group of words you normally find in the same sentence however, both issues have one thing in common.
The deeper you dig the more unedifying the subject becomes, the more you find evidence of abuse of power and wanton cover up. It’s conspiracy of silence which is in inverse proportion to the stampede of feet desperately distancing themselves from the subject in a futile attempt to cover their own backsides.
Last months Independent Hillsborough Panel Report told us that police and emergency services had attempted to pin the burden of blame for the events 15th April 1989 on Liverpool fans. It was only a matter of time before names were associated with this despicable and callous action as people dug deeper to find specific evidence. Sir Norman Bettison, who yesterday resigned as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, appears to be first post report victim of this and let’s hope, if he is found culpable, he is the first of many.
It is claimed that Bettison, when he was South Yorkshire Police, boasted of a deliberate campaign to smear Liverpool fans and put the blame for the disaster on them. The story, originally revealed in a letter sent to one of the bereaved solicitors is a familiar one that every reds fan has had to stomach for the last twenty three years. Liverpool fans turned up the match drunk and intent on causing trouble and because of this the police decided to open the gates to the Leppings Lane End which in turn caused the mass rush into the middle pen.
Surely Bettison will be first of many similar exposés especially when you consider that the names of 1144 current and ex police officers have been passed to the Independent Police Commission. That number alone is a testament as to how deep this enquiry will run and how organised and widespread the cover up was? Quite how the IPCC expect to plough through all these names is beyond me although the government has said that they will ensure that the appropriate resources are available and, more importantly, that police officers will be compelled to co-operate with the IPCC. All in all an encouraging move although surely it will take time to resolve?
On another front it is good news that the FA has also accepted the independent report. I don’t really think they had any choice however, given some of the FA’s decisions over the years you won’t bet against it!
Back to football and tonight we resume our quest for the holy grail of football tonight by playing Anzhi Makhachkala in the next bit of the Thursday Night Naughty Step Cup. Anzhi are a Russian team, you can tell that because they have an eagle as part of their badge and a lot of Brazilians in their team! I guess we should underestimate them at our peril as Gus Hiddink is their manager and they “boast” players such Roberto Carlos and Samuel E’eto. Not players who are in their prime but nonetheless a sign of the ambitions of the club? E’eto earns around 20m Euro a year with suggests they are clearly club on the rise or at least have financial backing to give it a good go?
Despite this I suspect we won’t see the same side that faced Reading on Saturday. With Everton waiting for us on Sunday afternoon I’ve no doubt BR will ring the changes and youth, once more, will have its day. Hopefully we’ll show the positive side of this as we did in the first half against Udinese rather than the “lazy” (BR’s words not mine) capitulation we underwent in the second. Either way it will good experience and surely that is the main priority over fielding our strongest eleven and giving this tournament a real go, at this stage of the season anyway?
Prediction? I guess it depends on which version of Liverpool turn up or which version BR sends out. It doesn’t really matter but in terms of the group we need a win. Will we get it? Of course I am going to say yes but if we don’t, I won’t be crying, we’ve bigger priorities. 2-1 to us.