Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Hillsborough

In another lifetime it could have been me.  I’d spent the years 83-86 at Anfield every game bar two (two League Cup ties where I failed to get a ticket for one – yes, an all-ticket League Cup tie – and was returning from Newcastle on the evening of the other and couldn’t be in two places at once).  We would stand at crossbar height behind the goal, there were three of us minimum as a rule, none of us older than 19 by 1986.

Heysel in ’85 took a lot out of many.  No-one should go to a game of football and not return.  ’86 was a momentous season in the history of Liverpool Football Club, a “double” year no less, and yet I was there almost on sufferance – later that year I would be going to university, people had died at a ground in the name of football, even the price had hit £3 (yes, £3) a game and was becoming excessive.  I had a chance to make a clean break and took it. 

I’ve been to five games since 1986 – one where I was taken as a birthday gift in the early/mid 90s, one where luck met opportunity and I went to the Stade De France to see France play Algeria while in Paris for a horse race, two games where I took my son to see Everton last season and one to watch Everton Ladies as a whole family at Marine FC in the summer just past.  With the exception of the international game, none were, strictly speaking, “for me”.  The game holds no real attraction for me any more.

In another lifetime, though, I didn’t go to university.  I stayed home, went on, kept turning out every other week and expanded into away games.  I’d been to a cup semi-final in ’85, an away game at York in the same cup run, I was getting older, wiser, would be independently earning and with that who knows?

That’s not the point, though.  We all have alternate timelines like that – if Manchester United had beaten Nottingham Forest in the sixth round, the semi would have more than likely have gone to Maine Road instead and Hillsborough would have been waiting to waylay another game – there had been incidents at semi-finals in 1981, 1987 and even 1988, an exact repeat fixture of that of 1989.  Hillsborough was a disaster in the making and not the FA, not the police, not Sheffield Wednesday football club would do anything about it.  And that is the point.

In another lifetime, it could have been me.  But for anyone reading this who has ever been to a game, in another lifetime, it could also have been you.  You’ve seen now that it wasn’t the club, it wasn’t the people from a certain city, their behaviour or any other such factor.

It was this country and the people running it.

Never ever be sold the lie of heritage, history, culture or any other such guff for as long as you live – this country is run by people who have nothing but disdain for you.  They will lie, smear, distort, cheat, suppress, broker deals behind closed doors and bundle the lot up and push it out through tame media.  In the 23 years subsequent to Hillsborough, you can only imagine how despised Lord Justice Taylor has become in those circles where we aren’t allowed for not singing from the same songsheet as coroners, public prosecutors, senior police, lower level but career-minded police, Boris Johnson, Kelvin MacKenzie and every other history rewriter who up until last month did their bit to prevent the truth of their incompetence and their desire to self-exonerate at the expense of maligning the paupers they lord over.

You’re fodder to them.  And fodder isn’t supposed to talk.  It’s almost a century ago that the youth of this nation would be sent to war and would die senselessly in huge numbers at Passchendaele, Ypres, the Somme.  If that’s the culture and heritage they wish to preserve – sending youth to a pointless death – then they can stuff this country and let someone else have a go because we deserve better.  Society has technological advances of unreal proportions to fall back on since 1989, let alone World War I.  How come the supposed “leadership” of this country is the same inhumane overprivileged imbeciles of the time of the self-deluding Empire then?

It could have been me a century ago as well.  It could have been any of us.

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