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Soup of This Day #371: We Go Again

April 15, 2014

The Shankly Gates
The Shankly Gates at Anfield. In this view the Hillsborough Memorial is to the left of those gates and is mostly obscured by the fence. In spite of this latter obstacle those 96 are never forgotten – Photo: Alan Murray-Rust, 2013. Alan Murray-Rust is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

Today, April 15th, 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

It has been a quarter of century since 96 fans of Liverpool Football Club went to Hillsbrough Stadium in Sheffield to see a Saturday afternoon FA Cup semi-final between their beloved Reds and Nottingham Forest, and didn’t come home.

The passage of time has not made that last bit any less desperately sad. Football is not about death. It is not about misery. Yet these were thrust into that football match that day and there is nothing that will make that seem any less wrong.

Nor will the gross injustices that have been heaped upon the families of victims and their communities ever be lessened by the cover-ups, cowardly denials and self-serving evasions.

The Truth will out and instead of the slurs and slanders intended, it will instead cast in warm relief the strength of the families, their community and this football club.

For today, and ever, my thoughts are of those 96 plus 1 more – My mum died a few days shy of the 3rd anniversary. Cancer claimed her, she had nothing to do with Liverpool FC, bar her youngest son’s obsession. Yet she had arranged for a 1989 shirt to be shipped out to that son, no small feat in the days well before internet shopping. So when she died in 1992, I had a note attached to my wall – It simply read:

‘In memory of the 95 + 1’

A year later it became ’96 + 1′ as the final direct victim of that day at Hillsborough was claimed. There were others – By some reports at least 3 further victims took their own lives, unable to handle the aftermath of the tragedy. I can’t and won’t judge those – I can no more look through the photos of those 96 than I can the 1 – It hurts my heart a little too keenly.

Something that gives me a measure of hope though – The fight for justice for those 96 and all who suffered out of that day has been relentless and ever carried forward. Against newspapers – 1 in particular – police and politicians, there has been a quiet and determined strength – A resolute courage and an inability to lie down that surely inspires.

This Sunday just past Liverpool played Manchester City in a pivotal match – 1 that may see the 1st top flight title in 24 years for the Merseyside giants. It was an emotional affair, coming as it did this close to the anniversary, but it was just a football match. It was wonderful that the Reds won but it was just a football match. Still, the words of Liverpool’s captain, Steven Gerrard, issued immediately after the final whistle bear some relevance here – Gathering his teammates together he gave a rallying cry:

‘This does not @#$%ing slip now. This does not @#$%ing slip now. Listen, listen. This is gone. We go to Norwich, exactly the same. We go again. Come on!’

You could take Steven Gerrard’s words and apply them to the fight for justice over Hillsborough – That would surely be ok, Gerrard himself lost a cousin that day. Now there is a long overdue inquiry, an airing of the actual Truth. It’s not done though and those charged with doing justice need to hear this:

‘This does not @#$%ing slip now. This does not @#$%ing slip now. Listen, listen. The lies are gone. We go for the truth, exactly the same. We go again. Come on!’

Best be listening, best be remembering. Justice for the 96. Justice for all. You will never walk alone.

Matt, 15th April, 2014

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