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
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Through the Wind and the Rain Fanzine Archives

So, did you watch it? A silly question maybe, but I know Reds who didn't, and I can't criticise them, since 1 didn't want to either. But I felt I had to endure it: I actually thought I could take it, and I admit, I couldn't, and eventually I didn't care who saw me crying.

A friend told me McGovern saw issue 32's preview, and was very annoyed, which is rather odd. But I don't really care, this is not a personal battle between TTW&R and McGovern. So I am happy to say Hillsborough was almost everything Reds could have asked for, and immense credit goes to McGovern, the producers, the actors (Chris Eccieston was superb), and especially the families and relatives who helped so much. That Trevor and Jenni Hicks managed to tell the story of dividing their daughters' belongings up is incredible, and testimony to the fact that Hillsborough didn't just deprive them of their children, but destroyed their relationship and their lives forever.

But some problems: the ads were awful. You have just watched fans entering the tunnel, you know people are about to die, and then you get fucking Christmas adverts? OK, this was not McGovern's fault, and yes, ITV is commercial, but it felt wrong. To that, add the break for the news which (a) upset the story's flow, (b) probably meant some people did not watch the second half, (c) mixed the trivial with the important. When Trevor McDonald asked in the News at Ten headlines "is this the greatest save ever?", I just lost it, and shouted 'fuck off at the TV at the top of my voice. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. On the story itself, i thought the second half could have been stronger in places. More of Duckinfield's Inquest answers would have been welcome, just to nail how utterly incompetent, unsuited for the job and totally unremorseful he was. Like his theory on Pens 3 and 4, which I'll repeat for those who haven't heard it: Reds entering those full pens should have realised they were chocker, turned around, made their way out and found another pen. Brilliant! Don't you see? It's OUR fault .... This crap would have been perfect, but to be fair, the inquest material used was pointed and well-chosen, so maybe I am being picky.

Some, like the Mail, called this trial by TV. To which I say: first, only one new fact came out, as far as I could see, the video technician. The rest was already public (from Rogan Taylor's Day of the Hillsborough Disaster, Phil Scraton & co's Hillsborough and after, and their excellent No Last Rights), so it's hard to see how it will prejudice any new inquest or criminal investigation. Second, and more important, even if it was trial by TV, since the police were responsible for the Disaster, I don't care. Seven years of bravely playing by the book, using the right legal procedures, campaigns, petitions, lobbying politicians, where did all that get the families, relatives and survivors? NOWHERE. So there comes a point where the end does justify the means, where the most important thing is to get the case reopened and back into public conscious- ness, and the technique used to do that becomes irrelevant. So to hell with Jeff Powell, the Mails ideological complainer-in-chief. Anyone who watched Hillsborough and then moans about political correctness really should be certified, and his opinions are not worth the crayon he used to write them with. He's still talking about 'probably lots of ticketiess fans' where are they all, idiot? What the Mail can never admit is that its precious, wonderful, talented police screwed up, large style. That runs counter to their entire ideology, so they cast around for another culprit. Hence their insane attempt to link 1985 and 1989. There isn't a link, people, time to wake up and smell the coffee. Oh, what's the bloody use.... So perhaps it's time to fight dirty, i.e. what the Mail, lngham, Waugh, Littlejohn and the Scum have done for seven years. If that is trial by TV, then that's just an indictment of the system that so badly denied Justice and then let the guilty off after conducting a cover-up of Stalin-esque proportions. Another criticism is that it played on emotions, stopping people making up their minds fairly: wrong, because it described what happened. Anyone who wants to decide where the blame lies only has to watch this, because this IS what happened. So no-one was being forced to believe lies and misinformation as a result of the sheer emotion in the programme. Some people have said that the build-up was unnecessary: yes, some of it was sentimental, like Vicky and Sarah Hicks discussing Steve McMahon's hair, but I took that as irony. These people were going to football, not mountain climbing (where danger and death are possible and accepted). The idea of coming home in a coffin is never considered, is it? So the syrupy stuff was OK.

Yet what does the latest goon running South Yorks, Richard Wells, tell us? "What we now want is other parties to share with us in a spirit of reconciliation and say, 'Yes, we were responsible too - we had a part in this'." Other parties equals... us! It's stonewall tactics, first and last, you know, we can bareface this out. Yeah, us at the police did it, but hey, we're not going to admit it. And we're supposed to enter into a spirit of reconciliation? With an organisation that has never shown any public remorse, that persists in smearing the innocent, that allegedly pressurises local media to keep it shut, that created a disaster and then covered it up for most of a decade? No thanks, Mr Wells, we'll find other allies if it's OK with you. We will NOT accept a 'part in this', because we don't have one. We turned up for a football match. That is not a crime. We have nothing to apologise for, least of all to the likes of you. But to be fair to the police (though it's unclear why the hell we should), junior ranks were shown trying to help fans, and not all accepting the cover-up senior officers wanted them to participate in.

All in all, the programme did as much as could have been expected, a credit to all involved. My natural scepticism about our political system makes me very reluctant to think it's actually going to make any odds to what happens next, but it's still fulfilled the aim of telling people what happened, and for that at least, it was well worth doing, whatever comes along in the future.


Anyone who needs counselling or just someone to talk to can contact COMPASS on 0151 xxxxxx. Please pass this onto anyone who might benefit from it. (Many thanks to John Gomall of Clitheroe for this, and we have sent it to the other LFC fanzines as requested). And well done to Tim Pinto (of the Sheffield FSA and DIFA), and everyone else in Sheffield who laid a wreath to the 96 on the day of the programme, that was a very touching gesture. And personal thanks to Tim for his public support for the programme.


HJC NOTE _ this info for counselling is no longer up to date (it is included here to show the level of care and responsibility TTW&R demonstrate in their writing), however, if you are a survivor and would like help then please get in touch.

Discussing Hillsborough is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Time after time 1 went to turn away, unable to deal with it. But somehow I forced myself to redouble my attentions to the screen, and I'm glad I did. Because what actually happened that fateful day in April 1989 only hit me for the first time in the 24 hours after the programme. I remember where I was when I heard as if was yesterday. Home in Dunedin, New Zealand, 7am on a Sunday (April 16th 1989), and I was woken by my father with the news that "Liverpool soccer fans had rioted and killed 80 people". I can't blame my dad for that, that's how Radio New Zealand reported it. But to this day, that's still largely the view of the tragedy in New Zealand and, I dare say, most of the world outside the UK. Any Red who buys the Scum should spot what they are doing. They are desecrating the graves of the dead. They are doing exactly what that 'newspaper' said we did.

South Yorkshire Police must be held to account. To hear their Deputy Chief Constable talking on Talk Radio about 'drunken fans' made me furious. Will they never learn? All the evidence shows they were to blame: the senior officer who appointed Duckenfield three weeks before this huge game, with no experi- ence in policing such big games, Duckenfield himself for freezing, and a significant number of other officers for treating the fans like shit. These are the people who must be held accountable. Jimmy MeGovern should be congratulated. I already thought he was a fine writer, but the way he sensitively covered such a hard subject, while getting the story across is remarkable, and Granada deserves credit too. The time has come for the truth, and this programme is hopefully the start of that.

Alex Brown