Hillsborough Remembered Pt 4: 25 Years On

Published: Apr 17, 2014 20:07pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 17, 2014 @ 08:07pm EDT

 

It was 25 years ago and I had only just turned 10 a few weeks before. I remember the images vividly though as reports came in, through the television, of trouble at the Sheffield Wednesday ground, Hillsborough. That was the neutral venue for one of that years FA Cup Semi Final matches, in this case Liverpool faced Nottingham Forest for a place in the Final. The game on that day would not finish and 96 Liverpool fans who went into the ground that sunny, Saturday afternoon, wouldn’t come back out alive. This is their story and over four days I will do my best to give you a feel for the events of that day and the justice still being pursued today.

 

PRESENT DAY:

 

Over the last three days I have looked a little at the actual events which led to the Hillsborough disaster, the immediate aftermath and the Taylor Report which was undertaken afterwards. Since then it would be fair for you to think that everything had been worked out and the families could now continue with their grieving and mark the various anniversaries in ways other disasters are marked. That had never been the case.

With this 25th Anniversary came a break in a new inquest into the events of the day. The six days prior to the memorial service held at Anfield, families had been testifying about the family members they had lost. Sons, daughters, fathers, grandfathers, fathers-to-be and a mother all went off to Sheffield that Saturday afternoon and never returned.

Trevor Hicks, who lost both his daughters, Sarah and Victoria, said that it wasn’t a double grief because he lost both his daughters in the disaster, but more the realization that the families entire future had died out that day. The potential lives his daughters could have lived were gone meaning they would never get married, be successful in their jobs, get their first house or have children.

The reason I pick out Trevor Hicks is because it was he, along with others, who had been campaigning against the original inquest released a year after the disaster. It was only five years ago, at the 20th anniversary when the Labour MP, Andy Burnham, was drowned out by the crowds call for justice. This led to him requesting all the official documents published and the quashing of the original inquest by the new Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The current inquest has been adjourned in order for the families to participate in the anniversary and will continue again after the Easter period.

 

DRAMATIZATIONS:

 

With actors such as Christopher Ecclestone and Ricky Tomlinson a TV drama simply titled ‘Hillsborough’ was first aired in 1996. Using actual footage, witness testimony and dramatization it follows Trevor Hicks (Ecclestone) and a couple of other families before, during and after the events, including the initial inquest. Since then the program has re-aired 1998, 2009 and 2012, with the later being shown the weekend after the release of the latest Independent panel findings.

Even over on this side of the pond you would have had the opportunity to watch another 2 hour documentary, also simply called ‘Hillsborough’, as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of sports films. This documentary aired this past week, on the 25th Anniversary.

 

CHARITY SONGS:

 

The most recent song released was a reworking of the The Hollies song ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ and sold 269,000 copies to catapult it to the top of the British charts. The band’s name was simply ‘The Justice Collective’ and consisted of big name Liverpudlian singers such as Spice Girl Mel C, Ex Take That Robbie Williams, Paloma Faith, Rebecca Fergurson and ex Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.

Profits from CD sales and internet downloads were given to the families of the victims of the disaster.

Five years earlier, on the 20th anniversary, another song had been released. Entitled ‘Fields Of Anfield Road’ it featured ex Liverpool players Phil Thompson and Bruce Grobbelaar but only made it to 14th in the charts.

 

THE FUTURE:

 

With this latest inquiry it is felt that at last there will be justice for the 96. Families of the victims will not have to defend the names of their relatives as drunks and hooligans. Maybe, just maybe, the truth will be revealed and this last anniversary at Anfield on Tuesday marks the first of a new era of remembrance for the victims, one that can be observed with no black clouds.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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