For those of you that don’t know the details of the tragedy then please, please go to http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/ and find out everything you can. I will not be able to even touch on the importance of the disaster or the justice campaign here so I’m not going to try.
But in the light of Alan Davies’s comments today I wanted to write something in response. The emotive nature of the subject matter means that we can often respond to any mention of Hillsborough with rants and abuse. That does nobody any favours.
Thanks to lies told by a certain rag in the aftermath of the disaster and perpetuated by government after government, it’s a sad fact that most people in this country do not know the truth behind Hillsborough. They look on Liverpool as a ‘woe is me’ city, living in a constant state of maudlin desperateness. Like Alan Davies they will acknowledge with one hand that Hillsborough was a terrible tragedy, but then suggest with the other that we all ‘move on’.
Alan Davies has stated in a despicably glib and dismissive manner what a lot of people in this country probably think. That there is no reason why Liverpool shouldn’t be made to play on April 15th – the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. United play on the anniversary of Munich. Rangers will still play matches when the yearly remembrance of Ibrox comes around. Why shouldn’t Liverpool do the same?
The answer can be summed up quite simply. Because we shouldn’t. Because we don’t want to. Because if United or Rangers or any other club felt that they didn’t want to play on the anniversary of a disaster important to their club, why should we make them?
Davies has, evidently, never been to the memorial service at Anfield on the anniversary of Hillsborough. There are some clear, glaring facts that he’s managed to ignore in order to make a stupid attempt at humour. I’ve been there. I’m sure many people reading this have too. It’s an incredibly emotional occasion. The feelings are still raw. The families who lost loved ones on that day have still, 23 years later, not had any justice for the lives lost. No-one has been held accountable. People like the odious Kelvin Mackenzie, who told base lies about Liverpool fans, are able to work for the BBC and make a living from the licence fee payer’s pockets, but mothers like Anne Williams still don’t know the truth of what happened to their children.
Kenny Dalglish, the current Liverpool manager, was also managing the club in 1989. He had the weight of the city on his shoulders in the aftermath of the disaster and he helped us all stand tall. At times he was attending several funerals on the same day, offering families any support he could. He was magnificent.
The events of April 15th 1989 still haunt him and they still haunt the city of Liverpool. Is Alan Davies seriously suggesting that, on the day that Dalglish remembers the tears of parents who lost children, children who lost families and a city that mourned as one he should also ‘get over it’ and manage a football match?
Liverpool quite rightly expects the playing squad to attend the Hillsborough memorial. To pay their respects and show the fans that we all stand together in the face of adversity. Should we abandon that because it would be ‘easier’ for Chelsea to play on the Saturday?
The anniversary of Hillsborough isn’t just a time when we take a moment and have a think. We gather together. We stand shoulder to shoulder and demand justice. The team, the management and the fans understand and respect that, when all’s said and done, football really is just a game. Nothing is more important than remembering those who lost their lives and shouting out for justice that’s taken far too long to come.
That United, Rangers or any other club decide to play on the anniversary of their own personal tragedy is up to them. But if they didn’t want to I’d understand. We should all understand.
Hillsborough is still very raw. Still very real. A lot of match going reds were lucky. They were at Hillsborough and were fortunate enough to make it home. Most fans were personally affected by what happened, knew someone that lost their life in the most horrendous of circumstances. They should never, ever have to think of anything other than their loss on that day. Kenny Dalglish shouldn’t be asked to think about formations and substitutions when he should just be allowed to reflect.
It’s time for the non-Liverpool supporting people in this country to stop making glib comments about something they know little to nothing about. If you insist on opening your mouth to say something about the Hillsborough disaster then the only thing you should say is JUSTICE FOR THE 96. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Kopsource.
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