Hillsborough - 13th Sept 2012

The pasts a different country...they do things differently there.




I went to Football in the late 70's and 80's. It was different then. Much different. It had edge. No point saying it was anything else really. You learnt loads though. Was it better than now?...Different. There's a word...different.



I used to just go to games. Any old games. My teams were Merthyr and Cardiff. Merthyr away was even more dangerous than Cardiff. Straight up. Non-league, no segregation, no reputation like Cardiff to scare people off...I had a clump once off a brick in Halesowen when a load of Zulu's turned up and the Copper laughed. Seriously...he fuckin laughed as I buckled. That was football then...we were animals. To be controlled. I didnt care. We were told we were nothing in school. Our Fathers lost their jobs in the pits and factories. I felt like we were under attack. Like they hated us, The Govt, the authorities. They did.



I went to Newcastle on that fateful day. I drove past Sheffield. My older brother went...shall we pop to the game? The FA Cup final. It's what we did in those days. Jumped walls, paid on the gate, we just accepted that we'd be herded and pushed about. But we did love the football. And the fans. What they were wearing, singing...Liverpool especially. They kind of invented it...them and the Mancs and then Leeds. They always looked great...without trying.



We didnt go. We headed to Newcastle. I rang home....'thank god!' my Mother said. I used to be everywhere in those days. Going to see teams. Someone died that day with my name, only he had an 's' on the end....Jonathan Owens...he was the same age as me...he was 18 too.....Lads I know who support Liverpool often send me pictures of that lads name on the memorial....the same age as me that day, the same name. A football fan like me...only he never got home that lad.



There's rivalries. None of us were perfect. People died at football. People died in fires at football or because of walls falling over. It didnt matter because no one cared about us.



But Hillsborough was different. It wasnt the fans fault. And they knew it. Football had no money then and newpapers just did what the govt told them. They blamed the fans. They blamed football. It was easy. They thought they'd get away with it. Sell a few more papers. Didnt matter. Be like Bradford or Ibrox. Swept under the carpet. Only this time was different.



I'm wasnt a Liverpool fan as a kid. They were the best team. But they werent for me. It was all a bit easy. To me in South Wales if you weren't really into football in the 70's and 80's you said you supported Liverpool. Plenty were fanatical. But loads had no clue. Bit like supporting United in the 90's. Same thing. With success came hangers-on...but I liked Scousers. Still do. But now I admire them even more because they DID NOT back down. They hung on in there. And people slagged them...'victim mentality'....'always moaning'....but they didnt give up. In the Carling Cup...there was Justice stuff everywhere. I thought...they wont let it go this lot will they?



And now here we are...and they're going to get what they deserve a PROPER inquest, where the truth comes out. Doesnt matter who your team is, what your rivalry...I dont care. What happened that day could have happened to anyone. Any team. And it changed everything...for the better? I think so...it's safer now. But the shame of that day was a Police Force and Govt trying not just to get away with it but BLAMING the people who suffered most. And for that reason today is the most important day for any football fan of any team since then....Justice for the 96. Justice for Jonathan Owens who should be Aged 41. Like me...

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