Hillsbrough – The Final Tribute?Peter Houghton
Today, 15 April 2020 marks the 31sth Anniversary of the Hillsbrough Disaster, which took place at an FA Cup Semi-Final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at the famous stadium.
It was the aftermath of this that delivered the advent of Football Safety Officers in their current capacity and the Football Safety Officers Association. If you go to the Mathew Street part of Liverpool City Centre you will see the strapline “Where it all began”. That reference is to the Beatles but for us, the same can be said about Hillsbrough.
We have seen a proliferation in the development of our roles as Safety Officers since that almost “pioneering” time and it was Bruce Grobbelaar, the Liverpool goalkeeper on the day who told our Conference Dinner last year that Safety Officers do a fantastic job..and it hasn’t happened again. This was a fantastic tribute from a footballer who had the events taking place right behind him.
The last 12 months have seen a number of twists and turns in terms of culpability and accountability, the outcome of which has divided opinion but we must not lose sight of the fact that 96 people went to support their team and didn’t come home.
Today was to be the 30th and final tribute to be paid to the victims of Hillsbrough by the Club and the fans, but like in many other aspects of current life, they have been cheated out of it by the Coronavirus Crisis. I’m sure that at 1506hrs today many Liverpool fans, players, management and former players will show their respects from the safety of their own homes and gardens.
The FSOA, once again, shares this sadness with our colleagues from Anfield, the supporters of the club and more importantly the families of the people who lost their lives…at a football match!