You will never walk alone: the Hillsborough disaster remembered

A memorial naming the 96 victims of Hillsborough
Joe Glenton

It’s 32 years since 96 men, women, and children died at an FA Cup semi-final on 15 April 1989. It became known as the Hillsborough disaster. The tragedy would come to symbolize Thatcher-era Britain – a byword for class war, corruption and gutter press lies.

All of those who died that day were Liverpool fans. In the aftermath, the right-wing gutter press and other sections of the British establishment launched a war of slander and obfuscation against the city and its people. This included false accusations that fans had tried to steal from those who lay injured and dying. And that a police officer trying to administer first aid was beaten up.

Establishment lies

But the 2012 Hillsborough report laid to rest many establishment lies. Because it found that crowd management plans had been inadequate and too focused on potential fan disorder. It was also discovered that South Yorkshire police (SYP) and police lawyers had altered initial statements:

Some 116 of the 164 statements identified for substantive amendment were amended to remove or alter comments unfavourable to SYP

The report said that many of the worst headlines about the disaster, such as drunken violence by fans, had emerged from the police and a local MP, but that the claims were not borne out by the evidence:

Yet, from the mass of documents, television and CCTV coverage disclosed to the panel there is no evidence to support these allegations other than a few isolated examples of aggressive or verbally abusive behaviour clearly reflecting frustration and desperation.

Families speak out

Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the recently disbanded Hillsborough Family Support Group, recently spoke to the Liverpool Echo. Her son James died at Hillsborough, and she urged families to “stay strong” and said that her “thoughts go out to all of the families and survivors”.

In 2016, an inquest ruled that the 96 had been unlawfully killed. Yet in 2019, a court ruled that the police commander David Duckenfield was not guilty of gross negligence.

As The Canary reported at the time, the daughter of one victim told the judge:

With all due respect, my lord, 96 people were found unlawfully killed to a criminal standard. I would like to know who is responsible for my father’s death because someone is.

Solidarity

In January 2021, it was reported that two police officers and a solicitor would face trial in relation to the Hillsborough disaster. According to the Liverpool Echo, each will “face a charge of doing acts with intent to pervert the course of public justice”.

For the Hillsborough families, justice has not yet been delivered. We stand in solidarity with them today.

Featured image via Linksfuss/Wikipedia

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  • Show Comments
    1. Just for the sake of accuracy, one of the 96 who died, Andrew Sefton, although he was born in Skelmersdale near Liverpool was actually a Tottenham Hotspur fan.

      He was working in Weston Super-Mare at the time and had returned home to visit family. His friends had a spare ticket and he had a car, so he drove his friends to the match in return for the spare ticket.

      Two days after the tragedy, Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager contact Spurs to let them know that one of the club’s supporters had been one of the victims. The then club captain, Gary Mabbut, who was Sefton’s favourite player travelled to Skelmersdale to attend Andrew’s funeral.

      No reflection on the article or the tragedy, only mentioning in case the Canary wishes to be completely accurate.

      There is a tribute on the official Tottenham Hotspur website that substantiates the above and provides greater detail, if it’s of use.

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