David Duckenfield, the commanding officer at Hillsborough in 1989 is not the only senior South Yorkshire Police Officer potentially now facing criminal charges and disciplinary procedures. It is no accident that this police force was central to the defeat of the miners in 1984/85, a force fetted by Thatcher and her government for defeating ‘the enemy within’ – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). After the Miners Strike and Hillsborough, these officers continued to be promoted up the ranks. Perhaps the greatest insult to the Hillsborough Families and the people of Liverpool was the appointment of Sir Norman Bettison as Chief Constable of Merseyside. Bettison (pictured below left) was a Chief Inspector at the time of the disaster and he led the ‘dirty tricks’ team from South Yorkshire Police who attempted to assassinate the characters of the victims, their families and the supporters of Liverpool FC.
By Phil Thornton
“Blaming Liverpool fans for Hillsborough is like blaming the passengers on the Titanic for hitting the iceberg.”
FA Cup Semi-finals were always frenzied games in the 70s and 80s when the noble art of the jib became almost obligatory and ‘to pay is to fail’ was a mantra for hardcore fans across the land. Those held at Hillsborough were notorious for the Leppings Lane and it was the same at Villa if you didn’t get the Holte End.
Let’s rewind to 85. A van load of us went to watch the FA Cup final between Man United and Everton. None of us had tickets. We all got in. This was only 11 days before the Heysel Disaster in Brussels. We bribed turnstyle staff, jumped the barriers and then either bought stubs from grafters or placed pressure on the terrified security staff to open the gates onto the already overcrowded terraces.
We knew sooner or later they’d let us in and so it was. Once inside that shithole of a national stadium we strained to watch a game in a standing section that was so packed I could barely stand, never mind see Norman’s winner.
This was par for the course. Nothing unusual. You wanted to get one over on the snidey FA who only distributed a pathetic percentage of tickets for finals, as they hived vast numbers off to corporate cronies, pals and touts.
This was all possible because the ‘culture’ of the game in the 80s was always semi-militaristic. You hated ‘them’ and ‘they’ hated you and everyone hated the bizzies because the bizzies hated everyone. Mob survival was essential and although the violence was often sporadic and over-stated, nevertheless you were always aware that a kick off was probable at some point in the day.
Some people stayed sober, most drank or had a smoke, some got pissed and or stoned. Some got twatted. That too was part of the ritual.
So, those who continue to peddle this line about Liverpool fans being partly to blame for the death of the 96 at Hillsborough, then remember how you used similar tactics and that even if you had a ticket, you understood the semi final frenzy.
Blaming Liverpool fans for Hillsborough is like blaming the passengers on the Titanic for hitting the iceberg. They paid for their tickets, they entered into a contract with the shipping line, they expected to be treated like valuable customers, they deserved to get to their destination. They hit an iceberg and drowned because of the negligence and incompetence of the crew and the company charged with protecting them. Even the odd stowaway didn’t deserve to drown.
Football fans were never treated like customers. Not by their own clubs, not by the FA, not by the political class and certainly not by the police. Fans were there to be fleeced and brutalised in appalling stadia that remained in the poorest areas of our inner cities.
This bred an attitude of open hostility and whether some of it was deserved or not, the comparison with how fans were treated in other countries was testimony to how divided by ‘class’ Britain was and still is. It’s still them and us.
It’s still THEM and US.
For all their mealy mouthed platitudes, the likes of Cameron and his Tory pals will be saying very different things about the despised scousers in private. Jack Straw and Tony Blair will no doubt share the same belief that this would have all been better if, as Nick Robinson, said on Radio4 this morning, scousers had just ‘moved on.’
They always want us to move on and ‘draw a line in the sand’ when they fuck up but never the other way around. If you dare to expose their lies and corruption, their hypocrisies and failures, then YOU are branded a cynic, a spoiler, a militant, a rabble rouser, a malcontent, a subversive, a traitor.
They will use every tool at their disposal to demonise you, their pet media, their spies, their pals in low places and they will try to dig enough dirt to create a smokescreen which they can then hide behind.
It has worked every time. So far.
‘The Truth’ as published by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper was a conspiracy of lies… The Sun newspaper will never rise again on Merseyside
Like many I don’t believe that ‘the truth’ – the full truth – about Hillsborough will ever be revealed and that the cowed media will have enough nerve to dig where the faceless men who work in nameless offices keep tabs on those who seek to uncover such facts.
To reveal the truth about the fit ups, the bribes, the murders, the lies, the cover ups, the stitch ups, the propaganda, the everyday dealings of those charged with ‘OUR’ national security would be to place their carefully orchestrated fantasy of One Nation Under A Groove at risk.