This comes a tad late, but better late than never – so the old saying goes anyway. I would like us all to spare a thought for the victims of the events at Hillsborough 24 years ago. The 96 people between the ages 10-67 who went to a football match never to return to their mums and dads, their brothers and sisters, their sons and daughters… These tragic events that, for a long time, have been surrounded by a cover of lies and more pain and grief than many of us can imagine, for those left behind, but also for those who actually did make it home from that FA Cup semi-final – who were traumatised by the sight before them, the 766 who were injured (if official numbers are to be trusted). Inquiries have been held, justice has been demanded, and finally, only last year, the truth came out – the Liverpool supporters at Leppings Lane were NOT at fault for the what happened, as certain media outlets had previously claimed, and it was in fact police and security personnel who fell short on the day.
The support given to the people of Liverpool – both the City and the Football Club, by people all over the world, has been immensely heart-warming. Seeing their banners paying tribute to the 96, to me, goes to show just how strongly the football world is wound together. Seeing supporters of teams worldwide put down scarves, banners, football shirts and so on, at memorial sites or independently, shows that this is something a lot of people in a lot of countries feel strongly about, because I think no matter which team(s) we support, we can all agree that going to a football match and never returning, is something that just shouldn’t happen.
While there are a lot of football clubs who have shown their support for the 96 and for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, there is one club in particular who I feel deserves a special mention, and that is Everton Football Club. Having grown up with a strong association to Liverpool Football Club myself, with a father who’s supported them for as long as I can remember and then some, LFC were a natural first choice when I started getting into the game, but over the years, I’ve developed a huge feeling of respect for Everton and I’ve come to view the relationship between these two clubs as more of a brotherhood than a rivalry, off the pitch anyway. The way Everton have stood up and shown their support, shows that the town really is “big enough for both clubs” – although this goes much deeper than the game of football, and I really get the impression the people of Liverpool know how to stand together when it matters.
I will leave you with a few photos I’ve found of teams (including LFC) showing their support for what so many have worked so hard for – justice for the 96, and sending a clear message to anyone affected; You’ll Never Walk Alone.