Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Community of Sports

I'm an "American" fan of the English Premier League -- meaning I enjoy it a great deal, but the sport isn't in my marrow the way baseball or American football are. Nonetheless, I am aware of its history -- including tragedies we've rarely encountered in this country.

In 1989, at an FA Cup Semifinal at a stadium known as Hillsborough in Sheffield, England Liverpool played Nottingham Forest (like the Super Bowl, the game was at a "neutral" venue).

At the time, many fans were stacked -- standing up -- into places known as terraces, kept off the field by fencing. Because of sloppy work by the authorities a crush of Liverpool fans was stacked haphazardly into one section, six minutes into the game, the action as stopped and 96 people were dead or destined to die from being crushed to death.

The police and the Thatcher Administration immediately, and wrongly blamed Liverpools fans for the deaths.

This was a lie -- they knew it to be a lie -- but they blamed them anyway.

It took more than two decades for the truth to come out. ESPN has what purportedly is an amazing documentary on the subject tonight at 7 p.m. Central.

Watch it, not for the sports, but the the too familiar story of negligence covered up and lies perpetuated the the government that is supposed to serve the interests of its people. Meanwhile, in Liverpool, at it's home stadium of Anfield, one of the most moving spectacles in sport occurred on Sunday.

Watch this...as their traditional song is cried out and the 96 victims are remembered. And be moved. Of all the traditions I have seen in sports that I would like to see just once in my life, it is this...and it never meant more than yesterday.


Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Liverpool. I watched this video, and I cried. Their hearts are big, and sincere.

Anonymous said...


Montag said...

Thatcher bore much of the guilt in the aftermath of this--her administration chose to portray this as working-class hooliganism, as did Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and their ilk. That posture also fit nicely with her errant and very public attitude that there was "no such thing as society."

As with her BFF, Ronnie Raygun, there will be many years expended repairing the damage she did and correcting the record. So, good to see that the correction of the record has begun, and that Liverpool proves her wrong about society.

Abu Scooter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abu Scooter said...

I'm not a Reds fan, but "You'll Never Walk Alone" is the best "fight" song in all of sports. Nothing else even comes close; but then again, few fan bases have the tragic history of Liverpool's. [The Reds, along with the rest of the English First Division, were still reeling from the effects of the Heysel disaster when Hillsborough occurred.]

Back to this video: that game Sunday featured a bittersweet coincidence. The youngest victim of the Hillsborough disaster, a 10-year-old, was an older cousin of Steven Gerrard -- who now leads Liverpool as its captain.

Finally, NBC has a better video of the crowd performance, which shows a lot more protest banners in the crowd.

pansypoo said...

i saw news coverage of this somewhere. can't remember. very sad.360 52965425