Hillsborough

More than two decades ago, a tragic incident claimed the lives of ninety-six football fans attending an FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in Sheffield. The Hillsborough disaster was caused, as so many disasters are, by woefully inadequate infrastructure and planning on top of an equally inadequate response by the authorities.

The official line, propagated mostly (but by no means exclusively) by the Sun, had been that the fans themselves were to blame for the disaster. The findings of the Hillsborough Report Panel has made a complete nonsense of that stance, and the Prime Minister has issued an apology clearly laying the blame where it belongs -- at the feet of the police officials who were overseeing the match -- and acknowledging that there had been a major cover-up by the authorities seeking to shift blame to the fans themselves.

This isn't just about Liverpool, although I don't mean to co-opt their emotions here. This is about football. Hillsborough could have happened to Chelsea supporters, or Manchester United supporters, or Forest supporters. It was a tragedy for football fans, and one I'm not entirely comfortable writing about.

It's important that Liverpool supporters know that they don't stand alone. It's important the the truth -- the real truth -- be told. These things are important because, once we remove ourselves from the murky morality of our everyday footballing lives, we do know the difference between what's right and what's wrong.

And no, this isn't justice. But it's a start. Spreading the word is the next step.

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