Liverpool Focus - Hillsborough: The Truth
Liverpool head into the upcoming clash against Sunderland with Brendan Rodgers’ under-performing side yet to taste victory in the Premier League this term and currently occupying a place in the dreaded relegation zone. However, there has been very little focus on football this week with the main topic of conversation rightly being on the truth of what occurred at Hillsborough over 23 years ago.
Innocent lives, 96 of them, were lost during and after the FA Cup semi-final fixture against Nottingham Forest in 1989. What followed was astonishing – ‘the biggest cover-up in British history’. There was an audible gasp in the House of Commons when Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that 164 police statements were altered in the aftermath of the disaster, with 116 negative comments removed.
The next upsetting revelation – and perhaps the most appalling – was that 41 of the 96 supporters who died could have been saved. The outrageous cut-off point of 3.15pm set by the coroner was confirmed to be a big mistake – several lives were lost after that time. The long-suffering families will hope that the Attorney General will now apply to the High Court to quash the original inquests so that they can get closer to the truth and find out why those fans were allowed to die and why there was very little medical support as the disaster unfolded.
To add insult to injury, national newspaper The Sun used their front page to spread vicious lies about what happened on that day, by claiming that some fans picked the pockets of their fellow supporters and others urinated on police officers. Then editor Kelvin MacKenzie put this information under the headline ‘THE TRUTH’ and as a result the people of Liverpool have suffered ever since, with outsiders believing that it was ‘ticketless and drunk’ fans who were to blame for what happened at Hillsborough.
Cameron apologised for the amount of time it had taken for the real truth to be revealed: “On behalf of the Government and the country, I am profoundly sorry that this double injustice has been left for so long.” The Prime Minister added: “Today's report is black and white. The Liverpool fans were in no way responsible.” Others, including MacKenzie, have also apologised for their roles. The families now have the truth, but they do not yet have what they want most of all – justice – which could follow in the coming weeks and months.
So when the Reds travel to the Stadium of Light to face Martin O’Neill’s Black Cats, knowing that the Anfield outfit could really do with a victory in order to climb up the table ahead of a huge fixture against rivals Manchester United, there will be little surprise if the fans in the stands spend much of the game calling for justice for the 96. After all, it is mainly because of those 96 innocent supporters that people who attend games today can do so in safety.
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