Let’s get one thing clear from the start. I detest football. It is, in my eyes, a game played by a professional class, the top players of which, earn more money *in a week* than *double* the national average *annual* salary. This is plainly immoral. Football is also perverse in as much as the folk who, by and large, *earn* the average national *annual* salary put their arses on the seats every weekend to perpetuate the immorality. Someone around here is plainly bonkers. However this, if you haven’t guessed from the heading, is not a rant about football…
I can remember where I was when the Hillsborough disaster occurred. I was watching it on the television. My housemate of the time, a staunch Nottingham Forest supporter, had commandeered the television and I had college work to do. So I sat and watched the pre-match build-up, intending to watch the entire game. Not because I’m a hypocrite but because even watching a game I detest is better than struggling through my revision on International Economics.
It was obvious from quite an early stage that something was wrong. The television producer periodically panned across the crowds from the talking heads in the studio and as the camera traversed the ground one could see the pattern of the crowds was wrong.
And when people began scaling the inhumanly tall fencing to escape on to the pitch from the crush of the terraces, and briefly, the television cameras were allowed to play over the gathering disaster from closer range, we knew there would be serious casualties and we were silent as we sat and watched.
Predictably the television commentary sought to lay the blame for the disturbance at the feet of a hitherto unknown troublesome element in the crowd.
Little did the talking head know that the disaster had been caused and was exacerbated by the rank ineptitude of the South Yorkshire Police Force. And how far have we not come in twenty years, that the conduct and professional behaviour of this country’s police forces continues to fail to meet public expectations?
No matter how one feels about football, ninety six people should not die whilst trying to watch their football team play.
At 15.06 this afternoon I shall be still and silent again.
Even though I detest the game.