Running for the 96

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Solidarity greetings to Dominic Williams and the other five runners who are raising money for the Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG) and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) by running the route from Hillsorough to Anfield, which is equivalent to 3 marathons in 3 days.

I was not at Hillsboborough, but found myself watching the game on television, sobbing at the images of so many people killed for so little good reason. I was 16 at the time and had been a Liverpool fan for several years. I wasn’t from the city, but had adopted Liverpool  in part because so much of the city’s culture (comprising music, art and politics as well as football) was bound up with resistance to the Thatcher government, which I too loathed.

I had started going to football matches for the first time that season, and used to travel up from London to Liverpool by train, joining a group of regular Liverpool fans who made the same journey. I didn’t buy tickets in advance; you didn’t need to in those days.

I attended the match before, which was an away game conveniently in London against Millwall, and found myself talking to a man in his late 50s or early 60s, an amateur referee. He was kind and generous; he saw me as a young fan attending a game by himself, and took me under his wing.

The following game was Hillsborough of course, and it was especially poignant to see that among those killed was a former amateur referee John Anderson, aged 62. Looking back on the events of twenty years ago I have no way of knowing whether it was John who I had met at the game before.

In a sense, what does it matter? Whether I knew them or not, people had been killed who were a part of me.

This isn’t the place to go into the ways that the powerful in Britain worked together to ruin the lives of the Hillsborough survivors: first by spreading lies about them in the Sun, then by re-writing the rules of the tort of neligence so that the families could not obtain compensation from the police for what the police did that day.

It just seems right to me that people should still be fundraising for the campaigns which are needed if we are ever going to have full disclosure of all the records from the day; and that this campaigning should take the form of running.

More details of how to donate here; http://hillsborough-anfieldrun.co.uk/

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