Kevin Sampson: HILLSBOROUGH VOICES - THE REAL STORY TOLD BY THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES
In association with the HILLSBOROUGH JUSTICE CAMPAIGN
Ebury Press - https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1096141/hillsborough-voices/9780091955618/
This is a tearjerker of a book. How can it not be, detailing as it does the tragedy of Hillsborough when 96 football fans lost their lives at the Leppings Lane terrace on 15 April 1989 and 766 more were injured, some very badly? Grieving relatives, traumatised survi-vors and fans who'd witnessed the tragedy were then dealt a further grievous blow when, with press support, the police in charge of events at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium sought to deflect attention away from their own catastrophic failures by blaming those fans who were fortunate enough to survive that fateful day.
At the same time this book, published just before the unlawful killing verdicts in the new inquests, is a truly inspiring authentic account of a heroic ongoing struggle by decent, honourable people for truth and justice.
The book was written in association with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. (HJC) With membership of the Hillsborough Families Support Group restricted to families only, the HJC was set up in 1998 by bereaved families and survivors with the aim of pro-actively campaigning for justice for those affected by the tragedy. HJC has a shop located outside Anfield.
Author Kevin Sampson was at the match between Liverpool and Notts Forest and he wit-nessed the horror firsthand. Kevin spent 18 months conducting extensive and exclusive interviews with survivors, families and friends who'd lost loved ones and public figures.
The book as Andy Burnham MP, an Everton fan who has played a crucial role in the fight for justice, states, in the foreword, is thus a voice for "the real Hillsborough voices.”
This is just a sample of some of what they have to say in this powerful, well written and must read book. If you want to know about Hillsborough read this book.
“Everyone knew the Leppings Lane was a bad end…for the semi-final the year before, and, all through the game, Liverpool fans were being pulled up from the terracing into the seats.” Peter Hooton.
“I heard this police officer and a couple of stewards saying they were going to open a gate. I actually saw them unlock the gate and people started coming through. They never poured through, they weren’t even jogging - it was a steady walk. When it all started being reported over the next few days, the police’s official line was that a ‘tanked-up mob’ had stormed the gates and swarmed in. It weren’t like that.” Steve Hart
“When the police and stewards opened the gates, most people headed straight down the tunnel to the middle section.” Jegsy Dodd
“The pressure was building and building…you could see people were starting to get really worried.” Steve Hart
“It was like a surreal dream, a nightmare; I saw a very young lad, a teenager, die in front of my eyes.” Steve Rotheram
“The first funeral I went to was tough - really hard. One day I went to three…it tears you to bits.” John Aldridge
“Hello! magazine had as its centre-page spread a fully blown-up image of the central pens at the moment where nearly a hundred people are about to lose their lives.” Martin Thompson.
“The police just pulled out this Polaroid and threw it on the table in front of me. I mean threw, like he was dealing a pack of cards. I picked it up and turned it round and there he was. It was Mike. Dead.” Steve Kelly
“What I was hearing first hand I knew that what had happened at Hillsborough was avoid-able. I was aware of the cover-up and involved in the fight to challenge that, right from the start.” Sheila Coleman
“In September 1990 the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that there would be no criminal proceedings as a result of the disaster…..there would be no action against South Yorkshire police.” Barry Devonside.
“In October 1993, Ed Fitzgerald successfully applied for leave for us to go for judicial review, which was a big boost for everyone.” Sheila Coleman
“Ricky Tomlinson played John Glover in the Hillsborough television play.” Peter Carney.
“The HJC was totally inclusive - we would accept membership from anyone who needed support or who wanted to offer support, and we embraced the survivors, absolutely.” Steve Kelly.
“JUSTICE FOR THE 96” sang the Kop for six minutes at the start of the Liverpool v Arsenal FA Cup tie in 2007 and repeated when Andy Burnham spoke at the memorial service at Anfield on 15 April 2009.
“I thought Andy Burnham was very brave getting up and saying what he did.” Jegsy Dodd.
“Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, announced the formation of the Hillsborough Independent Panel in December 2009.” Steve Rotheram
“We were sitting about four rows from the front. Bishop James Jones, the panel chair, stood up and his opening words were to the effect of, “I wish to tell you all that Liverpool supporters have been exonerated from any blame for the deaths of the 96 people.” Well, straight away, there were three people who fainted.” Barry Devonside
“Apology…the new evidence presented today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice - the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth. And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased - that they were somehow at fault for their own deeds.
On behalf of the government - and indeed our country - I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has bene left uncorrected for so long.” Prime Minister David Cameron on 12 September 2012.
“On 19 December 2012 the judge quashed the original accidental death verdicts on the basis of evidence we’d presented to the same court in November 1993.” Sheila Coleman
“When you look back at football in those days you realise what happened could have happened anywhere.” Danny Rhodes, Notts Forest fan who as at the match.
“Without the survivors, there really would not have been any realistic chance of us getting this far; there would have been no way of reclaiming the truth.” Steve Kelly
“I think it is important to distinguish between justice and the law…i don’t think justice will ever be truly achieved…..we are governed by some who would have difficulty spelling the word justice, let alone understanding the concept of it or placing any value upon it.” Sheila Coleman.
“I might not see the end.” Anne Williams
Want to comment on this book? Email Mark Metcalfe at email@example.com