HILLSBOROUGH VOICES: THE REAL STORY TOLD BY THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES was the book of the month at the Unite Education department in September 2016.
The book is written by Liverpool fan Kevin Sampson and is in association with the HILLSBOROUGH JUSTICE CAMPAIGN in which Sheila Coleman, the Unite Community co-ordinator in the North West, has played a crucial role.
The book is a tearjerker. How can it not be, detailing as it does the tragedy of Hillsborough when 96 football fans lost their lives on 15 April 1989 and 766 more were injured? Grieving relatives, traumatised survivors and fans who’d witnessed the tragedy were then dealt a further grievous blow when, with press support, the police in charge of events 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.
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.
Author Kevin Sampson witnessed 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 played a crucial role in the fight for justice, states, in the foreword, is thus a voice for “the real Hillsborough voices.”
This is sample of some of those voices in this powerful, well written and must read book. Want to know about Hillsborough? Read this book.
“Everyone knew the Leppings Lane was a bad end.” Peter Hooton.
“I heard this police officer and stewards saying they were going to open a gate. I saw them do so. People entered at a steady walking pace. Yet the police’s official line was that a ‘tanked-up mob’ had stormed the gates.” Steve Hart
“Most people headed down the tunnel to the middle section.” Jegsy Dodd
“Hello! magazine centre-page was of the central pens at the moment where nearly a hundred people are about to lose their lives.” Martin Thompson.
“The police officer pulled out this Polaroid and threw it on the table…. I picked it up. It was Mike. Dead.” Steve Kelly
“In September 1990 the DPP ruled there would be no criminal proceedings.” Barry Devonside.
“HJC accepted membership from anyone who wanted support and we embraced the survivors…without whom..…there would have been no way of reclaiming the truth.” Steve Kelly.
“JUSTICE FOR THE 96” The Kop for the first six minutes of the Liverpool v Arsenal FA Cup tie in 2007.
“Andy Burnham was very brave saying what he did.” Jegsy Dodd.
“Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced the formation of the Hillsborough Independent Panel in December 2009.” Steve Rotheram
“When Bishop James Jones, the panel chair, said words to the effect of, “Liverpool supporters have been exonerated from any blame for the deaths of the 96 people,” three people nearby fainted.” Barry Devonside
“The new evidence demonstrates these families have suffered a double injustice – the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait for the truth. And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased – that they were somehow responsible for their own deeds.”
David Cameron 12 September 2012.
“In December 2012 the judge quashed the original accidental death verdicts on the basis of evidence we’d presented in November 1993.” Sheila Coleman
“Looking back it could have happened at any match.” Danny Rhodes.
“We should distinguish between justice and the law…I don’t think justice will be truly achieved…..we are governed by some who would have difficulty spelling justice, let alone placing any value upon it.” Sheila Coleman.