The Shame of Hillsborough


I have never lost a loved one in a tragedy such as occurred to 96 Liverpool fans in the Hillsborough football ground in 1989, during what should have been a happy event.

So I cannot even begin to contemplate the personal loss suffered by relatives, never mind the fact that it was part of a multiple tragedy. Add to this the failure of the ambulance and police services to handle the immediate situation satisfactorily with a lack of professional competence, and the anger was justifiably going to grow. Unjustified accusations of fan mis-behaviour did nothing to help the campaign in its quest for truth to be discovered.

But what must surely be considered a major factor to be carried into the future, was the continuing failure of professionals in the legal, political, and policing fields to allow the truth to come out. The eventual release of all the legal papers, just a few years ago, showed not just the failure of proper leadership, but even more worrying, some of the statements by police officers had been changed by superiors, to protect those who had made the wrong decisions. Despite the damning evidence, it has taken some years for the legal procedures to be completed. The decision reached today by the jury placed responsibility where it should be, and completely vindicated the efforts made by the relatives. It is good that they feel some closure, and that duty has been done to the memory of those who died.

Our relief that justice had been eventually achieved (after 27 long years) was muted with the realisation that those responsible as up-holders of the legal area of our society have been shown to be capable of wrong decisions, and are not always whiter-than-white when it comes to admitting to their professional mistakes.

Professionals such as these take on an awesome responsibility when they assume the mantle of decision-making and leading men…….and when things go well they deserve the plaudits. But they must also know what will happen when their decisions are wrong, with subsequent dreadful results.

We are now seeing where the next turns of the wheels of justice are taking us, and we know that there will be problems of what, if anything can and will be done about those individuals and institutions now held reponsible. There is no doubt that any retribution or apologies will not bring back loved ones, or make up for the years during which the truth was distorted.

Were I one of those campaigning, I think I would be at a loss how to feel. Can I therefore hope that there may yet be an element of forgiveness from the relatives for those professionals who, in retrospect, made the wrong decisions, and have to live with that knowledge all of their lives.

…and while we’re thinking…

Apropos the recent departure of England from the World Cup…….how can any individual justify a wage-packet of ¬£6m for managing a team (in fact for doing any job)?

Seems a bit obscene, doesn’t it?

P.S. maybe he’ll now think of going into the banking fraternity!

The madness of football

As a resident of Scotland, within about 45 mins of Ibrox, the Rangers Stadium, I was sickened by the recent scenes in Manchester. There is nothing which can be said to explain or excuse the appalling behaviour of the minority of people who ravaged the centre of the city, and showed a distorted view of the normally-sane Scottish football lover. What an example to the young ones present (why were they not at school?)! And what are they saying to the rest of the world? The injuries caused to police officers, and the appalling video of the attack on one of them, is an insult to the ideals of law and order, to which, fortunately, most of us adhere.

The sooner, that the footballing authorities get some kind of grip on these people (who, incidentally help to pay the inflated wages of football management and players) the better. It cannot be left entirely on the shoulders of the police forces who are already well-stretched.

Perhaps they could start by remembering that at one time football was a sport, and not a reason to produce high emotions, change a genuine opportunity for rivalry, into a chance to hate people wearing a different shirt, and destroy property.

If not, then the next generation will pursue the same path.

A Fitba’ Match

We went to see Aberdeen beating The Jags (Partick Thistle) on Wednesday Night. It isn’t a common occurence (either attending a match, or Aberdeen beating Partick Thistle). Son was going with his family, so Young Lady of the House was quite happy to go along with my suggestion of all of us attending. The match itself was quite exciting but I think that sometimes the activities of those attending are more interesting, and raise a few serious sociological questions….

  • Latecomers don’t seem to bother looking at the pitch as they arrive….it only seems to be part of the scene.
  • Some folk are happy to eat and drink rubbish, and pay highly for the chance to do so.
  • How does a chant start at the same time all over the stand, and just as mysteriously, just stop?
  • The quietest-looking supporters are often the most vociferous.
  • The Man in Black is often accused of being blind, but my observation has to be that he has to be deaf to avoid reacting to the taunts from both sides!
  • The Young Lady of the House can get as excited as anyone and screams with terror or jubilation as the occasion demands.
  • Footballers are only human and make mistakes just like the rest of us….but they still get better paid!
  • On a wintry evening, you end up with cold legs and a freezing bum!
  • A hoarse throat the following morning, goes with the teritory!

When’s the next suitable match?