From “The Fiver” – Guardian Unlimited
“TRUTH WILL DEFEAT THE LIES AND PROPAGANDA”
Last night, Liverpool Football Club played their part in one of the greatest matches in the history of Big Cup, a thundering 4-4 draw with Chelsea unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry by anyone who witnessed it. And yet this morning, as queues snaked outside Anfield, with thousands waiting to pay their respects to the 96 Liverpool fans who needlessly lost their lives at Hillsborough, that match was suddenly put into the starkest of contexts.
Twenty years ago today, not long after kick-off at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, a Peter Beardsley shot rattled the Nottingham Forest crossbar. It would be the last significant incident of a football match that would be halted at 3.06pm. Tragically, it would be far from the last significant incident of the day. By the end of the evening, 94 fans had lost their lives, crushed to death after police guided crowds into an already over-populated central pen at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, then opened a gate to ease turnstile congestion. Another fan would die four days later, a final 96th supporter two years on. And because of an arbitrary 3.15pm cut-off time imposed by the coroner, and the unwillingness of police to release official documentation, many families still don’t know what happened to their loved ones before they died.
Anfield opened its doors this afternoon at 2pm, and over 30,000 people streamed quietly in for the memorial service. A banner reading “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was unveiled to chants of “Justice for the 96”, then squad members present and past filed in to take their seats, before Kenny Dalglish arrived to warm and loud applause. The names of all 96 victims were read out, each preceded by the peal of a bell. Then at 3.06pm, two minutes silence.
After a choral rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, Dalglish read out the first lesson. Culture secretary Andy Burnham later made a speech paying tribute to the victims, which was met by applause, but he was also heckled by chants of “Justice for the 96” upon mentioning the government and Gordon Brown. Trevor Hicks, the president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, apologised to Burnham for the heckling, but added: “Truth will defeat the lies and propaganda.”
John Alfred Anderson (62), Thomas Howard (39), Colin Mark Ashcroft (19), Thomas Anthony Howard (14), James Gary Aspinall (18), Eric George Hughes (42), Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16), Alan Johnston (29), Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67),Christine Anne Jones (27), Simon Bell (17), Gary Philip Jones (18), Barry Sidney Bennett (26), Richard Jones (25), David John Benson (22), Nicholas Peter Joynes (27), David William Birtle (22), Anthony Peter Kelly (29), Tony Bland (22), Michael David Kelly (38), Paul David Brady (21), Carl David Lewis (18), Andrew Mark Brookes (26), David William Mather (19), Carl Brown (18), Brian Christopher Mathews (38), David Steven Brown (25), Francis Joseph McAllister (27), Henry Thomas Burke (47), John McBrien (18), Peter Andrew Burkett (24), Marion Hazel McCabe (21), Paul William Carlile (19), Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21), Raymond Thomas Chapman (50), Peter McDonnell (21), Gary Christopher Church (19), Alan McGlone (28), Joseph Clark (29), Keith McGrath (17), Paul Clark (18), Paul Brian Murray (14), Gary Collins (22), Lee Nicol (14), Stephen Paul Copoc (20), Stephen Francis O’Neill (17), Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23), Jonathon Owens (18), James Philip Delaney (19),William Roy Pemberton (23), Christopher Barry Devonside (18), Carl William Rimmer (21), Christopher Edwards (29), David George Rimmer (38), Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34), Graham John Roberts (24), Thomas Steven Fox (21), Steven Joseph Robinson (17), Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10), Henry Charles Rogers (17), Barry Glover (27), Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23), Ian Thomas Glover (20), Inger Shah (38), Derrick George Godwin (24), Paula Ann Smith (26), Roy Harry Hamilton (34), Adam Edward Spearritt (14), Philip Hammond (14), Philip John Steele (15), Eric Hankin (33), David Leonard Thomas (23), Gary Harrison (27), Patrik John Thompson (35), Stephen Francis Harrison (31), Peter Reuben Thompson (30), Peter Andrew Harrison (15), Stuart Paul William Thompson (17), David Hawley (39), Peter Francis Tootle (21), James Robert Hennessy (29), Christopher James Traynor (26), Paul Anthony Hewitson (26), Martin Kevin Traynor (16), Carl Darren Hewitt (17), Kevin Tyrrell (15), Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16), Colin Wafer (19), Sarah Louise Hicks (19), Ian David Whelan (19), Victoria Jane Hicks (15), Martin Kenneth Wild (29), Gordon Rodney Horn (20), Kevin Daniel Williams (15), Arthur Horrocks (41), Graham John Wright (17). RIP. Justice for the 96.
I dinna speak easily through tears. Never forget.