Parallels From A Victorious Weekend, Thoughts on Hillsborough From 9 Year Old Me; To A Policeman's Lie..(A Poem For Hillsborough)

Parallels From A Victorious Weekend, Thoughts on Hillsborough From 9 Year Old Me; To A Policeman's Lie..(A Poem For Hillsborough)

My heart is still beating hard following Liverpool's dramatic win on Sunday over Manchester City. Many have pointed to the strange parallels between yesterday, and 1989. The match, undeniably a classic, was played out in brilliant sunshine, and like the FA Cup Final of 89' finished 3-2. The game also finished in the 96th minute. Weird coincidences aside, the entire game of football stood in solidarity, and every single club, player, manager, coach, executive and supporter should be proud. Manchester City's fans deserve credit especially. They observed the minute silence immaculately at Anfield, and their players were tenacious in defeat. I think that the greatest parallel about this season, is that the squad is on the verge of experiencing something truly amazing, whilst the implacable Hillsborough Families, in partnership with the city, are on the verge of finally experiencing justice, and the prospect of both quickens my pulse instantly.

Looking back, it's hard to believe that the events of April 15, 1989 took place 25 years ago. I was a Liverpool FC obsessed 9 year old at the time, sat cross legged on the floor of our living room, dressed head to foot in my cherished red, as I waited excitedly for the live updates from Liverpool's FA Cup Semi Final against Nottingham Forest via Grandstand to finally start at 3pm. In the 6 agonising minutes that followed the 3pm kick off, football changed forever, the city of Liverpool changed forever, and the hearts of those who support Liverpool Football Club were broken, never to be mended, as 95 men, women and children died in the stands, another fan later died in hospital, and a further 762 were injured.

I remember watching Grandstand transfixed. I was too young to fully appreciate the gravity of what was taking place some 70 or so miles south west of my home city, Hull. I remember my mum crying as the numbing truth was announced via the BBC, and other news outlets. People sat awestruck, their hands covering their mouths as the death toll mounted.

How could this have been allowed to happen? The stadium disasters of Ibrox in 1971, and Bradford City, in 1985 were supposedly seminal moments in stadium safety. Lessons had been learned. Hillsborough was a major sporting venue at the time, hosting numerous key matches.

Why was the stadium so inadequate for the number of fans? Why did the police seemingly sit back rudderlessly and allow this human train crash to unfold?

Over the next few days, poisonous and shameful journalism from The Sun, and others sought to smear the characters and families of 96 football fans who left home to watch a game, and never returned to their families. Over the years, I thought it was a symptom of the attitude displayed by the Murdoch press towards northern cities, in particular those who were staunchly opposed to the Thatcher government. We have subsequently discovered of course, that the Thatcher government was a key architect in the campaign to discredit people who were unsuspecting, abandoned by the state and the police, and most important of all, who were innocent.

In the years since, the families have never once stopped fighting, campaigning, and advocating the need for a new inquiry, and for those who have been proven to have lied to face charges. They are an inspiration to me, and should be to us all.

Hillsborough is a snapshot in many ways of the politics of the 1980's; derision shown by the ruling class towards the working class people of the regions, an untamed, toxic press, desperate to do the bidding of its political bedfellows at all costs, and the undying solidarity, spirit and principled struggle of the ordinary people standing in the crosshairs.

Hillsborough will remain with me forever, as will my love of Liverpool FC. The memories of the 9 year old me watching the events of April 15, 1989 unfold, alongside my anger and disgust at the authorities, the Thatcher government, and the tabloid press inspired me to write this poem called "To A Policeman's Lie". Whilst time has shown that an infuriatingly large number of police officers conspired and lied in order to smear the fans of Liverpool FC, I have to point out that the vast majority of police officers across the country serve with diligence, pride, and dedication to their communities. I have friends who are employed within the police service, and it is my real hope that, not only do the families finally receive justice, but also that the minority of dishonest police officers who brought disgrace upon British policing are scrutinised robustly, and brought to justice, in order that the majority of honest, hard working police officers are freed from the shadow of this terrible saga, so that they may lead by example and help to rebuild the reputation of our police.

I dedicate this poem to the 96 who fell, the 762 who were injured, and the countless thousands who have never once lost their faith in the innocence of those who lost their lives through no fault of their own.

Rest In Peace; You'll Never Walk Alone....

"To A Policeman's Lie"

I was just a child in 89'

Switch grandstand on!

Its kick off time!

At 3:06 they scream and cry,

Then lose their lives

To a policeman's lie,

On ripped up hoardings

They ferry the dead,

95 koppites dressed in red,

Dads, Sons, Daughters

Never come home,

Whilst Murdoch screams

"They killed their own!"

There are reds, there are blues

With blood of the same,

But Thatcher declares

"It's the scousers to blame!"

The police and the government

Tighten their ranks,

As mourners drape scarves

On the statue of Shanks,

The players go to funerals

The families say prayers,

But the editors make sure

That their readers don't care,

Controversy fades for those

Not born a red,

Fan 96 dies

In his hospital bed,

Years turn to decades,

No justice in sight,

With cold crumbs of comfort

From knowing what's right,

Twenty plus years

It's taken for proof,

Too late to force

Margaret Thatcher to truth!

lt seems that real stories

Will finally be told,

My brethren! Be Noble! Be Red! Be Bold!

The victims are honoured

Their memories enshrined,

The 15th of April

Burned forever in my mind,

I was just a child in 89'

Switch Grandstand on!

It's kick off time!

At 3:06 they scream and cry,

Then lose their lives

To a policeman's lie...


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