Hillsborough: It was all of us fighting
Hillsborough was not just about Liverpool Football Club. It was about ALL football fans. It was about ordinary people. It was about 96 families whose loved ones went to a football match and never came home. It has gone on to be a fight – a dignified fight, and cry for justice that those who called the shots on the day are held accountable, it’s become a principle of not buying THAT newspaper that printed such harmful lies and tarred our name. It’s become the story of a 27 year old battle for justice against a corrupt establishment – that today makes its biggest steps.
“We have been unable to discuss Hillsborough for some time now”, as Margaret Aspinall said at the last memorial service at Anfield “It’s not that we are scared to say it”
For me, I was born in 1990 – I have never lived in a city that hasn’t been fighting for justice. I have grew up seeing the stickers of “Don’t Buy the S*n” and “Justice for the 96” in every corner of our city. When I went to school we all wore the stickers and flame pins on our blazers. When I started going to my local gym in Walton I was greeted by a giant poster the size of the wall, shouting loud and proud what the real TRUTH of that day.
I was moved to go to the Hillsborough Memorial service in 2009, I wasn’t sitting far away from the man who started the first shout of JUSTICE when Andy Burnham stood up to give his speech, which he was unable to give clearly as we all shouted him to silence. I have continued to support the families at the memorial services since then too and I cried tears of happiness and anger when David Cameron announced the verdict of the independent panel.
Walking down London Road to the bellowing sound of “Abide with me” when there was a vigil at St Georges hall that night was emotional. Our city, my city – Justice was coming! You see, outside the city they struggle to understand. When our fans were blamed it implicated us all. We were given the reputation of “Murderers” and “Hooligans” – Hillsborough for many cemented the idea that Scousers were savage. Be it from comments from celebrities and politicians (such as Boris Johnson) we were given the reputation of people who wallowed in self-pity and many of our own people started saying that we should stop going on and give it a rest.
When I worked in London one of the strangest cultural differences was that in every mess room I went into there was multiple copies of that newspaper laying around still. When I asked one guy when he would read something that was not to be trusted and proven to be lying – He jumped to Hillsborough and how Liverpool fans were to blame and that how Scousers should stop going on about it. Today I think back to him and hope he is happy with his opinions and hurtful comments.
Today. The truth is known and the verdict is out. You and I are exonerated, we aren’t murdering hooligans who wallow in self-pity who aren’t to be trusted. We can laugh at those who chose not to believe the truth and call them ignorant. No longer is this a conspiracy theory – This is fact. The fans were not to blame and you and I have no reason to feel ashamed of being from Liverpool, a city full of great people who fought for 27 years for Justice.
Written By Dale Roberts, with respect for the families of the 96 who have done our city proud through their tireless fight for justice – We hope you have always felt supported by our generation.