Yesterday morning, after 27 years of heartache and anguish, the family and friends of the victims at the Hillsborough disaster have finally received the justice for their 96.
None of this would have been possible without the desire and hard work from the victims’ families.
Over the last 27 years, they have faced condemnation and a backlash from people who did not believe in them. But, this did not stop them, they never gave up and all of their demoralising work has finally come to fruition with the details of yesterday’s verdict.
I am sure all of those involved, whether it be family, friends or even just any football fan, will be feeling overjoyed by this verdict, while also feeling a sense of relief that this heartbreaking period of their lives has now come to an end.
However, this verdict should not be the end of the story. It is clear to all that there were significant and disastrous mistakes by the police forces on the day of the disaster.
This included the fact that the police opened the gates for around 2000 supporters to enter the stadium, at a point where the Leppings Lane end was already overly full, to the point of endangering supporters. This act was evidently a clear action which heightened the danger of the supporters in the ground.
The jury on the case placed a large section of the blame onto the police on the day of the emergency:
“The police response to the increasing crowd at Leppings Lane was slow and uncoordinated. The road closure and sweep of fans exacerbated the situation. No filter cordons were place in Leppings Lane. No contingency plans were made for the sudden arrival of a large number of fans. Attempts to close the perimeter gates were made too late.”
It is now important that the members of the police force who contributed to covering up incriminating evidence are punished for their actions. Had there not been corruption surrounding this case from the start, the families would have been given the rightful verdict at a much earlier date instead of having to wait for such a long time for justice to be served.
Those in authority must assure that those found guilty of wrongdoing, are prosecuted for their actions, to ensure that the work done by the families is not undermined.
The South Yorkshire Police (SYP) Chief Constable David Crompton reacted to the verdict by stating that:
The force got the policing “catastrophically wrong.” His force “unequivocally” accepts the conclusions of unlawful killing and the wider findings. “As I have said before, I want to apologise unreservedly to the families and all those affected.”
The SYP have reacted to the verdict by assuring people that there will be a complete overhaul of their structure. This has ensured that the legacy of the Hillsborough disaster will live on. Already lessons have been learnt from the disaster and reforms have been put in place, which will hopefully assure that a disaster of this nature will not happen again.
Ex-Liverpool defender, Jamie Carragher, reacted positively to yesterday’s news:
Justice finally. #JFT96
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 26, 2016
What this case has proven, is that however divided football fans can be, events like this really does bring all of the footballing community together.
The images that were taken of the families in reaction to the verdict truly is heartwarming and it was all made possible with the togetherness and hard work of all those involved.
In spite of significant adversity, the 96 have at last received the justice they well and truly deserve.
They will never walk alone.