Saturday, 14 April 2018

Hillsborough 29 Years on - Lost in a Void

My “memories” brought to the fore on Facebook at this time of year are filled with Hillsborough as you may expect. I have been on Facebook for 10 years now but my Hillsborough memories are stretching back an unbelievable 29 years.  That, as it happens, is half of my lifetime as I’m 58 in a week or so. 

Many of these memories are like nightmares that repeat randomly, vividly and sometimes unexpectedly. 

Since the verdicts of the new inquests and the impending trials I feel like I’m in some sort of void, a vacuum. With the 29th Anniversary of the disaster just a day away I really can’t say how I’ll feel tomorrow. 

The exploits of Liverpool FC have provided a welcome distraction this week but my memories of that day have been there in the background dipping in and out of my consciousness. 

On Sunday I plan to visit Hillsborough Oaks and then move onto the Memorial in Old Haymarket, St John’s Gardens.  I will remember those lost that day and will also be thinking of fellow survivors who like me find this time of year so difficult. 

I’m very grateful for the friendships that have developed over the years and for the support that has come with those friendships.  Together we have fought a long battle with some notable successes but ultimately there are no winners here, history dictates that. 

29 Years. Never Forgotten. Justice for the 96. Justice for all. 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Those Two Weeks. A Review. Sort of!

Those two weeks were something that hadn’t crossed my mind. Those two weeks were before this chapter began. I can remember significant things from before those two weeks; weddings, births, deaths, holidays, jobs and going to see Liverpool in the 60s getting into the Anny Road end at “three quarter time” with my dad watching Hunt, St John, Yeats and Peter Thompson flying down wing. Stuff like that.

Sir Roger Hunt
Ron "The Colossus" Yeats

But the Saturday that ended those two weeks tore up the script and a new direction was taken. It was darker, moody, but fine on the outside. Mostly.

I went to the Unity Theatre on Thursday evening with my grandson Tom. I’d promised him a pizza in Ma Egerton’s and we took the opportunity to go to watch what turned out to be a wonderful production by Ian Salmon called “Those Two Weeks”.

Pizza Time in Ma's

It was a play based in a 1980s house, set just in the living room, about a family, the Miller’s living a normal life. Normal in the sense of how relationships pan out each and everyday, what can go wrong, how brothers and sisters live together as they’re growing through their formative years; how mum and dad just carry on whilst in the background there are things like a ticking time bomb that occasionally raise their head and an argument explodes. Stuff happens then you get over it and move on. It was a house in Liverpool so there was going to be a Red & Blue element to it and of course there’d be salad! Sunday evening in our house mostly.

Those Two Weeks

I found the play riveting. I had warned Tom, my grandson, that I may get emotional - I did. I laughed, I was in awe of some excellent performances, I cried. He’s 16 and he he held my hand, he hugged me, he was there for me like my family and friends have been for the last 29 years.

The play made me think, I’m still thinking and that’s why I’m writing this. It’s my way of dealing with my thoughts and it’s good that I can do this. It’s therapeutic.

I’ve tried to recall what I did in those two weeks. I can’t. But I probably watched it on Thursday. I had my ticket so no worries there. I must have sorted the transport out with John, the manager of Tommy Hall's in Prescot. I’ll have gone to the match, had pint on the way home from the training I was doing at the time. I’d have been at home and played records, vinyl of course. I probably made some compilations on C90 tapes bought from Woolies. We’d have had salad for tea on the Sunday. I’d have decided what I would be wearing to go to the semi final. I’d have been buzzing.

I wore one of these!
Those Two Weeks has finished its short run at the Unity Theatre. I hope it is back soon because more people need the experience. It totally blew me away. 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


I'll say no more....


Journeys End? #JFT96

Will today be the day that sees justice prevail? Will the anxiety felt by the families of those that died, by those, who like me climbed out of that hell on earth as well as those affected in other ways, be banished forever?  

Awaiting the news from Warrington, I am nervous, apprehensive and at a total loss of understanding as to where I am at emotionally.  

Will I be angry, will I be sad, will I be happy or will I have no apparent emotion at all?  Will I want hugs and company, will I want isolation or will I have no idea what I want? 

That scenario is today but it hasn't just been today. That's the emotional rollercoaster ridden every second of everyday because you never know when a trigger will happen, when your mood will swing or where that will take you.

This journey has been a journey of almost half of my life - I was a week shy of my 29th birthday when I went to see the Reds tonk Forest.  The journey hasn't all been bleak as friendships have formed that otherwise probably wouldn't.  There are also positives to be taken from never giving up, campaigning to get the Truth out there and succeeding. 

There are also many people out there who are barely thought about in the emotion of Hillsborough - the families of the survivors.  Some people, including myself, have been lucky enough to have the support of a loving family throughout this journey - thank you all.  Some however were not so fortunate.

Today's announcement, whatever it is, for me will simply be another set of crossroads on the journey. Which road is taken and where it takes us is as yet unknown. 

Justice for the 96

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Not Guilty! and The Guilt That Never Goes Away

Not Guilty! and The Guilt That Never Goes Away 

"Get over it." "It's time you moved on."  I wish it was that easy.

For many years I thought it was just me. Feeling guilty for climbing out of Pen 3, physically unscathed, when all around me there was mayhem, injury and death.  

Over time I have met others who survived that hell on 15th April 1989 and I realised it wasn't only me. I've seen my feelings written down more than once, the latest time this very morning, but they were written by others, not by me. People who by a sheer twist of fate found themselves in midst of this carnage caused by the failings of many.

On 26th April 2016 I sat with my wife in the calm of Hillsborough Oaks and listened as the inquest verdicts were announced. I was relieved and emotional that they'd got it right. Us fans were exonerated. We were not guilty. I wish we didn't have to live with the absurd guilt of survival. 

This month is hard and over the next week it will get harder. If you know someone who like me escaped that hell hole please be there for them in which ever way they need. It will be difficult and different for each of us and we cope in our own way. We have done for 28 years. 

Justice for the 96. 
Justice for all.
We Never Walked Alone.

Friday, 7 October 2016

We Judge a Book by its Cover (UP)

I'd like to ask Norman Bettison why he thinks a new book is needed? We know the truth, some us have always known, we were there. We saw the incompetence first hand. We knew the spin started on day one. Go away and and perhaps read the books pictured here. They may help jog your memory. You could save this to your phone - if you have it with you that is. You never seem know that do you? #JFT96

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Hillsborough: An Indelible Change but life goes on....

You know it's coming. You know, or hope, that it's "good". You know it'll change your life, a life that has a thousand and one other things happening in it AND most importantly you know that you're lucky to be living it. 

I tried to close the Hillsborough chapter of my life decades ago. I couldn't. Not only were the lies overflowing but I was here. 95 others who'd done the same as me that day had perished. Another was being kept "alive" until any hope passed and there were 96.  Why the fuck was I here!?

Fast forward 27 years (and a bit).  I've lived my life from 28 years of age. 29 a week and a day later.  We subsequently had two additional children and three grandchildren who exist because I "survived". 

The family and friends of the 96 missed out on their future experiences with their loved ones and the additions that may have ensued due to the fact that they didn't survive. They were unlawfully killed. 

Now I knew that on 15.04.1989. I was there. In with those who never made it. Shoulder to shoulder. Many others did too. Many others who not only lied but forced others to lie too before suppressing the TRUTH they knew. Their fate awaits them. 

I'm not talking about 1989 here. I'm talking about now, this minute. The minute you're reading this which as I write has not yet arrived. 

Exactly a month ago the jury announced their verdict on an inquest that took place over two years into a tragedy that happened 27 years ago.  14 counts to nil it was unlawful killing. (Mentioned earlier but it's worth repeating!) 

I was in the last week of my job, an emotional time by any standards if you cared for the people you worked with, but made massively more emotional by the verdict. I was in bits to be fair.  I fist pumped when they finally said that we, the fans that day, were not to blame. At the risk of repeating myself I and others knew this and had for over 27 years. 

Sitting at Hillsborough Oaks when the verdicts were being delivered, supported by my wife Karen, was the right thing to do; the right place to be.  

Later that night, I think, I went missing apparently although I somehow arrived home. 

Then it was on to the vigil. St George's Hall. Another time filled with emotion and support from friends & family. I guess it was a celebration that finally the world knew the truth and the fans, including those lost, were vindicated.  I struggled despite the close attention of Kate, Sofie, Garry & Wilf. 

Meanwhile I was tired. In my own way I had fought this fight for nearly half of my life. The families were never alone. Those of us who'd been there and experienced the horrors were with them all the way. 

Onto my last day in my job. All neatly handed over - not.  Remember this is now not 27 years ago but I'm hoping that you're getting my drift Hillsborough is my now just as it was then. 

 We had a ball in Ma's before I departed for a She Drew The Gun gig.  I didn't make the end. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I got a taxi home. 

It was the weekend and a new start and a new job beckoned. I was starting on the Tuesday, Monday being bank holiday.  Rather than a new start a new life appeared. Welcome to the world Ollie. 9lb 7oz not 9 6 as I'd predicted!  

My first day at work lasted about 3 minutes. Happy, tired, emotional you name it. I was it!  Fortunately I'd found colleagues as nice as those I'd left behind and certainly an individual who had 'got' me from the interview and understood. 

Moving on. At the weekend we had the 5k for the 96 which followed the magnificent achievement of some very special people in running from Hillsborough to Anfield.  The second run for the 96 was more emotion, time to reflect and enjoy many friendships that would not have happened had 'Hillsborough' not happened. It's a massive indelible part of my everyday life and it always will be. But life doesn't revolve around it, it's just there. I need people to get that. 

You never know when the moment will come that will change your life. You never know when the moment will come that will change your day. For better or for worse. 

This morning at 8:20 I got a text. It simply said "hugs".