Fanzines - voice of the ordinary supporter

We highlight Liverpool 'zine 'Through The Wind and Rain' - always a staunch supporter of the HJC and a voice that has kept alive and published articles on Hillsborough throuout the last 12 years. You can read all of their back issue articles about Hillsborough here

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Through the Wind and Rain
PO Box 23
L30 2SA


Through the Wind and the Rain Fanzine Archives

Issue 20 - Held To Ransom

One recent TTW&R editorial referred to the glorious 5-0 defeat of Nottingham Forest in 1988, and the £3 entrance to the Kop on that night. It wasn't any kind of a benefit match, or a charity night, or a concessionary price. This was the ordinary price for an ordinary league game (though the performance and result were far from ordinary).

Four years later, the same team returned to Anfield - and it cost £7 to stand. A league match now costs £9. Before too long there won't be anyvvhere to stand at Anfield and watch Liverpool, because of the plan to go all- seater. This of course comes as a result of the Hilisborough disaster and the subsequent public enquiry. It was decided it would be better for supporters if the existing terraces were phased out and new stands built in their place.

This intention may have been well meant; no doubt, after long deliberation, Lord Justice Taylor only had the interests of fans in mind. One statement from his Report stands out from the rest; "this shouldn't become just another excuse to make the supporter pay for something that the clubs should have done a long time ago."

Strange then, don't you think, that without any word from the supporters that is exactly what the clubs have done? What have we had so far from this "necessary" 200% price increase at Anfelid? Err ........ not very much. In fact, we've had hardly anything at all, apart from the worry of finding the extra cash if we want to carry on watching our team the following season.

This is bad enough for most places, but for an area like Merseyside with its unemployment problems the situation becomes almost disgraceful. 2 years ago, when the FA Premier (?) league was formed and Sky given the exclusive TV rights, nobody could keep their gobs shut about bow much money would he made from this, and how television had the game "on the cheap" far too long.

Rather strange, then, that most of this money seems to have flowed in one direction only i.e. straight to the clubs and then straight back to other clubs via transfer fees. It's fascinating to note that, as soon as a new stand is built, we get a brand new set of admission prices - almost twice as much as the terraces they were built to replace. And forget inflation - our jump from £3 to £9 on the Kop is an average 25% rise per annum; if you know of a job with pay rises like that, can someone tell me where I can apply?

Regarding matters like this, I'm very cynical at the best of times (noooooo! - ed), but even I would be hard pressed to think that Lord Justice Taylor thought for one minute that this would turn into little more than a money making exercise instead of a major rebuilding programme to ensure that supporters could watch the game in comfort and safety.

3 years before Hiilsborough, Popplewell held his enquiry into the Bradford fire disaster. His conclusion; the safety precautions in place at the time were totally inadequate; in future, stands should be built from fireproof materials, stewards and ground staff should be trained to use fire fighting equipment placed within easy reach. As i have mentioned in TTW&R before, the clubs' reaction to this was almost apoplectic; "we can't afford this", "it's too expensive", "some of us will be forced to close down".

This was until someone pointed out that these were only really recommendations, and weren't legally binding. They calmed down slightly, and said it was unlikely Popplewell's suggestions would be fully carried out. Fascinating, though, that whenever supporters mention this with regard to the Taylor report, we were told in no uncertain terms that "if anyone refuses to comply with these recommendations, they will be made law" Not surprisingly, very few chairmen needed their arms twisting up their backs. Most clubs saw this as the chance to get more cash from their supporters for less effort; a few haven't even built new stands, just bolting plastic seats onto the existing terrace. If you need convincing on this point, check the National White Elephant Stadium (Wembley) and see what i mean.

Barry Stone (& his soapbox!)

I read an article in the Sunday Times (6-2-94), headed 'No Going Back Now'. New crush barriers have been designed that have electronic sensors to gauge pressure. This seems a worthwhile exercise, but this article took a negative view of the invention.

Maybe some people will agree with the criticism, but I have always found the Kop to be one of the (if not THE) safest terrace in the country, and the sensors would only enhance the safety factor. Of course, if they fail, consequences would be dire because the emergency services would not be alerted if the computer showed no crush. Equally troubling would be if the computer indicated a crush when one clearly wasn't happening (imagine the ensuing panic).

The writer of this 'piece' generalised the fact that 'only all-seat stadiums can prevent another Hilisborough'. This is an oversight on his part, as I recall that some of the people trying to escape the Bradford fire in 1985 were crushed to death trying to climb under the turnstiles. This is confirmed by Simon Inglis' excellent 'Football Grounds of Great Britain'. This only represents a small portion of the final death toll. One could say that the fire was caused by human error, several people did have cigarettes lit, but it would be grossly unfair to point the finger at one person. At Hillsborough, however, the finger can be pointed at one person in particular, and even if you have the most technologically advanced safety equipment in the world, human error can never, ever be ruled out.

Andrew Davidson