It’s been a few days since the initial broadcast of “Hillsborough” on BBC. I finally got the chance to watch it and knowing the impact it had already had on the public, I was expecting a tough documentary.
Like many major events in the life that we live, you tend to remember ‘where you were’ when one occurs. I was only a kid on April 15th 1989, a young teenage boy.
I recall the footage live on TV that Saturday afternoon. I don’t remember if it was Grandstand or BBC News but the images were eye-opening for a boy of my age.
I had seen footage from other football matches in recent times where there had been crowd trouble. This was something else though, this was not crowd trouble.
Nearly 30 years on and with a verdict that has been fought for like nothing I have seen before, justice for the 96 dead was achieved last month. That is a long time to uncover the real truth about that day in 1989, too long in fact.
People have grown older, lives have been lost, families and friends and relationships have all suffered as a result. This has occurred because the failure and malpractice of authorities in the UK in a bid to redirect blame and protect themselves.
This isn’t something new to us of course. It has happened throughout history on these shores.
Institutional failings are at the heart of many historic events in the UK. Not complacency, but a blatant disregard for fairness, honesty and transparency.
It’s clear from the documentary that as well as the people who lost their lives and the families that suffered as a result of that, police officers also suffered. The chaos that ensued that day was caused by policing on the day of the match.
Not just the mismanagement of commanding a match but the failure to support and direct officers accordingly. The horrific images are etched in my mind as I recall the blurred stills and video footage from the BBC documentary.
I have seen disturbing things in my own life and career. I can only imagine the eternal torment on those who both suffered and witnessed the events of that day.
When I think of Hillsborough and the findings of the Independent report, I can only think of other times when the public have been let down by the authorities. We appear to live in a time of endless enquiries and yet nothing seems to change.
How do we move forward if we keep looking back at the same mistakes? Can we ever truly trust those who we are supposed to rely upon to safeguard us?
The Hillsborough disaster was of a completely different nature. Justice was denied before that day even began because of the people who were in charge and their inability to protect life.
The treatment of the victims and their families was abhorrent from the beginning and throughout the initial inquiry. To obtain the justice they deserved, they had to create their own campaign because they were let down by our authorities.
Those who fought are a credit to the dead, the injured and the families who have suffered. They are also an inspiration to the public and me personally.
You cannot allow ‘justice’ to go unchallenged. Never give up the fight for the truth.
Justice for the 96. You’ll never walk alone.