Like most people today, I find even myself gobsmacked and profoundly disgusted by the degree of statement manipulation, fitting up, and overall Plod prejudice that condemned many Liverpool fans and victims of the Hillsborough tragedy to over two decades of undeserved ignominy.
But I’m sorry, I cannot accept the verdict of one former player, who this morning was quoted by a major MSM press title as asserting, “At long last, Liverpool fans have been absolved of any responsibility for Hillsborough”.
My antipathy towards the Sun’s sociopathic blob Kelvin Mackenzie is well-established, but in no way can Liverpool fans be given total absolution by this new generation of media priests. The suggestion that they bear no blame for the events of 23 years ago is absolute bollocks.
Several times both back then and since I have studied the CCTV footage of clearly identifiable Liverpool fans crashing one of the gates into the doomed semi-final. Although in no way unique to Liverpudlians, gate-charging was an already well-established way – long before 1989 – for hooligans to get into big games without a ticket.
The illegally forced entry placed an intolerable pressure on that end of the ground – and led to the sickening suffocation of innocent people who did have tickets. While I accept entirely that the Yorkshire police (a) moved at the speed of a snail on valium to do anything about it, and thus (b) displayed all the bravery of a hermit crab trained by Health & Safety, later (c) doubling their cowardly amorality while trying to fit up innocent fans, I do not accept this lachrymose rubbish about saintly Scousers….any more than I would have turned a blind eye to the criminal behaviour of Mancunians, East London skinheads and Celtic fans during that sorry era.
I’m allowed to say this, because I have very strong connections both to Liverpool and footie….and also because at one time I spent professional time working with the police. The real truth is that, after thirty years of dealing with undisciplined yobs at football games, Plod gradually did what Plod always does – start to see a sector of the public as The Enemy.
That doesn’t even begin to excuse those cops who later told gargoyles like Mackenzie that Liverpool fans had nicked the wallets off corpses and urinated on police. But equally, I have been to games where fans spat on the police, chanted obscenely about the police, and took a leak on the backs of those unfortunate enough to be standing in front of them.
It is a rule of social anthropology that any tribe threatening another tribe will create bigoted myths among the threatened. But any and all such myths are powered by a grain of truth.
The MSM seem able to forget this, whichever sensationalist way they happen to find themselves facing. So too do anti-Liverpool right-wingers, and Scousers-can-do-no-wrong lefties.
As is so often the case, reporting about such things depends not on where you were standing then, but where you sit now.