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

Contact Us - Contact TTWR

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign
134 Oakfield Road
Anfield
Liverpool
L4 0UG
Tel / fax : 0151 2605262

email:
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Through the Wind and Rain
PO Box 23
Bootle
Liverpool
L30 2SA

email: lol@parrjohnson.freeserve.co.uk

Through the Wind and the Rain Fanzine Archives

Terracing Debate-Article

Prometheus may disagree with the vast majority who are seeking a return to terracing TTW&R 36), but his argument is littered with inaccuracies - it was little more than emotive scare-mongering. I share his concern that the most important issue must be safety, but I can't agree with his 'interpretation of events that lead up to Hillsborough.

His assertion that 96 fans died because "the police mismanaged a crowd on a terrace is an atrocious lie. We must emphasise that the police mismanagement occurred outside the stadium; therein lies the cause of the disaster, not terracing. If that were the case, why did tragedy not occur in the 1988 game? Same match /venue/ fans fans/capacity - yet there was no disaster. The inescapable conclusion is that factors other than terracing were to blame; continuing to peddle this lie serves to divert one's attention away from the true cause - the ineptitude of South Yorkshire Police.

The Taylor Report blamed them for the 96 deaths. One could also claim that the design of Leppings lane contributed to the scale of the tragedy. One must also recognise that "poor stadium design" and "terracing" are not synonymous. Football stadia of the 90's differ significantly from those of the 80's, and we must stress just how different Leppings Lane '89 and the Kop '98 actually are; 11 had a very limited number of turnstiles, congregated in one bottleneck area. Fans were channelled directly through one central tunnel into two confined, enclosed pens - fenced on all sides, with all forward movement blocked by a tall perimeter fence. The Kop has, SIX separate entrances, on two open sides of the ground. Access to the viewing area is reached by negotiating a series of corridors and staircases; no pens, no fences, no restriction of movement in any direction, and growing maturity among supporters ensures the chances of injury happening if the Kop were a terrace again would be remote in the extreme.

Of course there is risk, but what about seats? How many would have died at Bradford if the fire had started on an unfenced terrace, devoid of obstacles like seats? And yet seats weren't banned in 1985, just the root causes of that disaster (fire hazards, wooden stands, better safety measures etc) were eradicated from sports grounds. Prometheus says you have to bring back terracing "for everybody" and launches an irrelevant attack on other grounds and other police forces. Is this kind of misrepresentation deliberate? According to the government, only one section of any stadium could be designated for terracing. The scenario he describes would never occur, as terracing would be reserved for home fans only.

Prometheus said that Rex Nash "wants his own way". Don't forget that re-terracing the Kop leaves three sides, and 33,000 tickets, for those who wish to sit. How the offer of this choice can possibly be described as "selfish" is beyond me. Especially, once ground capacity rises again, it could mean cheaper admission for everyone. If Prometheus wishes to attract children to Anfield, then perhaps we can start by making Anfield affordable and accessible again? With that affordability comes a greater attractiveness to those who have been priced out of their game in recent years, thus easing the financial plight of so many clubs who don't offer the corporate packages to our temporary friends in the City.

In terms of atmosphere, Prometheus manages to cite the only Premiership game last year that generated a reasonable level of noise inside Anfield. These days, discounting the odd European lost cause (or two!) the away leg of Everton's cup final and the annual visit from our Mancunian chums (except for the last, pitiful futile 20 minutes nowadays), one has to admit that Anfield more closely resembles a library than a fortress. Surely the addition of a few thousand additional voices would help alleviate this problem?

In conclusion, I disagree with both Prometheus and Rex (sorry, mate). I do believe that terraced sections will return. When the government does sanction a return to terraces, as they've already hinted, the plc are certain to be the first to respond. And with that, like a chain reaction, the rest of the Premiership is sure to follow - or else they will risk the wrath of their supporters. AND RIGHTLY SO!

Andy Pearson

History Repeating

They always say "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story" It certainly didn't rear it's head in Alexander Chancellor's piece in the Daily Telegraph on 13th October. His article was headlined 'Now all the youth of Italy are on fire' - the point being that the continent has it's own hooligan problems. So far, so sensible.

But you may have noticed the word "now" in the heading. Was there an implication that this was a new Italian phenomenon? More than that; here are the opening few paragraphs...................... "The only time I have ever been in the Olympic Stadium in Rome was in May 1984 to watch a European Cup final in which Liverpool and Roma drew 1-1 -the match being settled on penalties in Liverpool's favour. Rorna had generally played better than Liverpool, and the outcome was a bitter disappointment to the Roman crowd who, I feared, might take it out on the English after the match. So I felt rather furtive amid a sea of Italians, hoping not to be identified. Still, somebody said to me 'Are you English? and when I fearfully answered yes, he merely congratulated me on the Liverpool victory, with the comment that it had been fairly won. There were hardly any incidents that night, which may have been partly due to the fact that only a few of the visiting Liverpool supporters actually made it to the match - most of them had become comatose with drink during the course of the day. I was left with a most favourable impression of Italian fans who seemed, in sharp contrast to ours, to be generally well-dressed well-mannered and sober".

Well, the truth certainly wasn't going to get in Alexander's way, was it? Based on his own limited view of. Events that day in 1984, he has totally re-written this bit of -Anglo-Italian football history. The horrific experiences suffered by Liverpool supporters following the 1984 final just didn't happen - simply because they didn't happen to him! So if you were one of the many Reds attacked and beaten up in Rome that night, don't worry. It never happened. The Italians were far too well dressed, well mannered and sober to do anything like that. You must have dreamt it as you slept off the 20 plus pints of Peroni that 'most' of us drink before a game in Italy. Since we got about 10,000 tickets, that meant that less than 5,000 were inside to see it - this is in direct contrast of contrast to the Mancs who get 5.000 tickets and 10,000 turn up. Maybe we imagined all that too?

So God knows what Brian Glanville had been drinking. In his book on the European Cup (where his view on Liverpool fans is no less damaging and scurrilous than Chancellor's), he describes the events of 1984 thus; "In the streets, alas, the aftermath was savage and would bear bitter fruit in Brussels". As horrified Roman newspapers described, "young thugs of the Roman ultras rushed to their cars to grab knives and iron bars which had been left there, then they set about the Liverpool fans" . Ah yeah, but they did it in a well-dressed, well-mannered red and soberly. "There were vicious assaults, and the extraordinary sight of fans of Lazio, Romas bitter rivals, pressing weapons into the hands of Liverpool supporters, urging them to defend themselves". But obviously we were too comatose to pick them up for ourselves. Imagine those Lazio fans trying to help us. Only for 5.000+ Reds muttering incoherently "hey pal, what was the score, like?". Chancellor's article got even nastier with events a year later;" unfortunately drink this time failed to Anaesthetize the Liverpool fans. They became a rampaging. Mob" and so on. It was only when he visited our farmhouse in Tuscany" that he somehow it could be. He seemed amazed at the "grazie Liverpool" /"viva Liverpool" graffiti he saw on walls throughout Italy - even in Turin. Such ignorance seems astonishing, that such an ignorant ill-informed man could ever get the chance to write a major piece for a national nastier paper on such an important issue oh, hang on. It's not really astounding at all is it? It's everything we've come to expect.

Gary White / SK

Letters

There is an old saying that goes no matter who you vote for, the government always gets in'. For Government, read Establishment. Like many others I foolishly believed that a new government and new Home Secretary would result in an open~ minded approach to the events of 15th April 1989. Gone, I had hoped, was the uncaring coldness of the previous administration.

Like many others, I sent off my 'red card' to lack Straw immediately after last season's Liverpool v Spurs game. I believed that here was a man, a football fan, who would recognise that many questions remained unanswered. Straw duly ordered a full review. it was clear from the. start that Lord Justice Stuart-Smith was not suitable to carry out an independent, impartial review. Following his derogatory remarks about Liverpool supporters, he should have been immediately dismissed and somebody else appointed. I haven't read the review, but I will in due course.

Meanwhile, Trevor Hicks has gone on record as saying that Stuart-Smith has gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick with many aspects of the review. That is enough for me. Nevertheless, Straw accepted it. He has accepted that 96 people, paying to be entertained by a game of football, can lose their lives through no fault of their own and NO-ONE IS CULPABLE. He accepted the 3.15 cut-off imposed by the coroner, and has accepted that all the new evidence is not admissible. If this has proved one thing, it is that jack Straw is the weakest of men.

Contrast that with the strength of the families who time and again are denied Justice - and Still refuse to give up. I feel angry knowing that, despite the amount of new evidence now in the public domain, the news reports, Mc Govern's programme and World In Action, the Establishment has the arrogance to dismiss it all. 1 can't begin to imagine how the families feel; they have chosen to fight on through private prosecutions, and the rest of us must continue to support them as much as possible. I'm sure we will.

Dave Houlgate

I have to admit that I have found it very hard to write anything in response to Jack Straw's Hillsborough decision; not through apathy, you understand, but because I really don't know how to adequately express my frustration. And that's just me - a humble fan. I can't begin to imagine what the families are going through.

In the end, I can't say that I was surprised. It is beginning to dawn on people that the Tories were right. 'New Labour, New Danger' roughly translates along the lines of 'New Labour-Old Tories'. Once the judge had made his little joke about the families turning up late, we all knew what prejudices he was bringing to the table with him. And yet, reading between the lines of sonic of Jack Straw's words since, I would like to think that he shares our frustration at the way the police have conspired to avoid the judicial process. The man isn't stupid, and he will be well aware that the police cover-up was under way even as our fellow fans lay dying on the pitch.

They lied about gates being forced open. They tried (and failed) to prove that the dead had been part of a drunken mob, taking blood samples from corpses. They carefully filtered and managed the evidence put before the coroner. They -ahem,- 'lost' (wink, in an exaggerated way when you say it) incriminating video's and other evidence. And yet they walked away with fat pensions, early retirement and (incredibly) compensation for THEIR 'ordeal'!! Now to us humble fans, that has never seemed entirely fair. I doubt that it seems fair to the Home Secretary either, but he. clearly lacks the will or the balls to do Anything about it. We won't forgive or forget that simple act of treachery.

It isn't even as if we are asking for much: just that those whose, fault it was be tried in court and found guilty if the evidence supports that verdict. I'm not even bothered about their punishment, it hardly matters. It is beginning to look as though the only way there will be any trial is if the Families bring a private prosecution. That is a deplorable indictment of our legal system. That they have been through this protracted ordeal already is bad enough, but to tell them that if they want Justice they will have to organise and pay for their own trial too it's so cruel that it defies belief and makes me deeply ashamed of this country. Even so, I hope the Families take this last chance.

The balance sheet of evidence is very heavily stacked against Duckenfield and his cronies. It is also important to remember that when an impartial judge looked at all the facts and evidence (that which had not been doctored by the police themselves) he concluded 'the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control'. Lord Justice Taylor's report made the coroner's verdict of accidental death irreconcilable with the known facts. This was not an accident - it was somebody's fault. The fight for Justice goes on. Give it your support.

Prometheus

If Voting Changed Anything -They'd Abolish It

Where to start? Easy stuff first; Stuart-Smith is hopeless, and his report contains fundamental factual errors, notably on the 3.15 cut-off. It's deeply flawed, and it's acceptance adds to the cover-up. Straw is as bad as we were warned pre-election - he and that mouthpiece Howarth are two very good reasons for never voting Labour again. When Phil Hammond (best wishes for a speedy recovery from all Reds) stands in Knowsley, I'm there to help for one.

Where next? That's not so easy. Straw clearly won't face the issue, but the political pressure locally and nationally grows daily. There doesn't seem to be a lot we can do to help. New Labour stopped giving a shit about public opinion the day it was elected, so I can imagine where a Red petition will go; 'file under Dustbin Pressure from the families is harder to ignore, and will continue. A private prosecution seems the favoured approach, but even on that point lawyers are divided.

There is talk of another concert, and like May '97 let's support it, whether we like the bands or not. We still don't know how much the first one raised, who picked up the large bill (Branson) if the figures were negotiated, but we'll let you know when they are finalised. There's more talk of a charity match, and while I respect explorers backing a match for the Roy Castle Foundation I hope they will also back a Hillsborough match- I doubt it, and I'm not the only one., but we can hope. The game would be at Goodison -as much as we mock Johnson; he doesn't seem to be the obstacle. Reports suggest LFC are the sticking point - getaway? Ah well, as long as we're in Walter Smith's good book, that's the main thing.

Otherwise, it's a question of "wait and see'. Support all the events (the 9th anniversary memorial v Palace), and keep the spirits up. Not a perfect battle plan, perhaps, but for now it'll have to do. The message must have reached Straw by now that he's read the mood totally wrong. if he thinks that a blatant whitewash like this (is it some weird boast about being a bigger wanker than Michael Howard?) will work, he's mistaken - but only if we keep going. Not easy, I know; I walked up to the ground before the Bolton game, and hundreds queued outside Liver World, touts did business as usual, the sun shone. And yet, three hours before, the families were in Southport to give Straw a right load of stick. How many Reds knew about that? how many were interested? At that moment, the campaign seemed pointless.

The support for the cause is impressive-now, don't you think? The Echo continues it's belated backing, we have the churches, celebrities (er, Ricky Tomlinson), the 'Scum' (like it will do you any good - fuck you) and local activists appalled by the antics of the People's Party (ha!) Even LFC are on board, promising Trevor Hicks total support. Would it be mean to ask where everyone's been for 9 years? Yes it would, and we need every bit of help we can get, but if people start interfering unnecessarily, start stirring the shit and causing trouble for their own professional and egotistical motives then something is wrong. This campaign is bigger than everyone, and we should all remember that fact.

The focus will be firmly turned onto Sheffield Wednesday. We kept saying that Mackrell & co had escaped so far, now it's their turn. Voices are getting louder and louder for a full official boycott of Hillsborough; there are legal problems, but the best idea is for Wednesday tickets not to be sold, so LFC only have players and officials there on the day. Anything 'unofficial' will fail, because some Reds will always want to go, but sources in Sheffield say SWFC are shit scared of a boycott. They could lose something in the region of £160k. So let's do it. We could get the game beamed to Anfield, but again Wednesday would profit. We are just doing ourselves a disservice by turning up.

We have also been promised support from Newcastle fans for a season-long protest at Hillsborough next year, over the treatment we've had since the Mc Govern programme was aired, and the disgraceful absence of a memorial. We've built a few contacts with various ISA's and some Wednesday fans are showing interest; Graham from Sheff Wed's 'Spitting Feathers' fanzine has printed a couple of highly-critical articles - quite a brave step to take. So there may be things in 98199 that will regularly embarrass that club. The Task force visit to Merseyside is on May 7th, and another chance to raise the issue; if Mellor doesn't like it (if he actually shows), he can lump it.

People accuse the fanzines (and individuals connected with them) of an "obsession' with Hillsborough. Read this bit v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, then; we are talking about one of the biggest stitch-ups of recent decades, and we owe it to all concerned to carry on - ourselves included. Remember; WE ARE RIGHT. To Liverpool supporters who say it is time to leave it, you are a disgrace to the Red shirt. Some of my friends happily give me chapter and verse on what bastards SYP and SWFC are, boycott the Scum etc - and then say *you're raking over the past!

Do me a favour, will you? Please never summon up the ghost of Bill Shankly to us ever again, because do you know what? We all know where he would have stood on this; with the people.

Rex Nash

You Decide

ANIMALS STAMPED ON HURT FANS, SHAME OF BOOZY YOBS, 15 Hillsborough DEAD TOO DRUNK FOR DRIVING, HILLSBRO' FANS HAD 20 PINTS, HILLSBRO' FANS SPAT ON POLICE DRUNK KOP FANS URINATED IN MY GARDEN THE TRUTH - various headlines related to the death of 96 Liverpool supporters which appeared in the Sun.

"What is the life of not expecting to get work? What is the life of only expecting cynicism in political conversation? What is the life that sees no horizon further than the latest nasty video and the cable TV and the Murdochs and the 'Sun'. Just pick up a copy of the 'Sun' and say Is this Britain? Is this what we've done to ourselves?" Are these people, the people who work on that paper, how can they go home and face their families without any sense of shame? You know, I'd be ashamed to the pit of my guts if I were forced to do, and some of them are to be fair, forced to do it because they don't want to be unemployed. They want to earn. They need to earn. Some of them do things that they are appalled by. I know that, I've met some of them. I know they are, but my God, what a system." -

Dennis Potter's last ever interview, with Melvin Bragg still available on video or in print (SEEING THE BLOSSOM, Faber & Faber £5.99, ISBN 0-571-17436-1)

'And the sponsors for today's match is The Sun'- the tannoy announcement at the Sheffield Wednesday versus Liverpool game at Hillsborough on February 14th 1998 - a mere 4 days before the government announcement of whether there would be a new inquiry.

DEDICATED TO THE PEOPLE 0F BRITAIN - the latest 'Sun' advertising campaign.-You're going to reap just what you sow - Lou Reed, 'Perfect Day'; playing on the pub jukebox on the night of February 18th 1998.

Editorial

We have mentioned the Hillsborough Justice Campaign on several pages, and probably more to come in future issues. We make no apologies. The fight isn't over; in a lot of ways, it's only just begun. What hurts the most is that, in the same week he destroyed our hopes, Straw was talking about rooting out those Freemasons involved in 'police scandals'. Several examples were given; Birmingham, Guildford, West Midlands etc. One word was missing; yes, Hillsborough is no longer a 'police scandal'. That exclusion alone is a di4grace, and has to he fought. Support the Families, support the campaign. It's your fight, too.

As for TTW&R, we'll stick with the £2 format for another season. Everything seems out of date by the time we get 'onto the streets', so I might get off my arse and try for 5 issues next season. Mind you, it is big arses so don't build your hopes up too high. It wouldn't be the first promise I've broken. I'm not even sure there's 260 pages a year of any interest in the subject of Liverpool anyway, but we'll see. Till August, try and keep smiling. Football's not everything, y'know ...........

Steven

Ps you may have noticed a snidey little attack on TTW&R in the Pink letters page. What this blue knows about our Contribution to the Justice campaign can be written on the back of a stamp, and his reference to United was Pathetic. We expect nothing better, frankly. Tommy Smith asked us to "have some respect for the Hillsborough 96' Perhaps we should write for the 'Sun', then, like you did in 1991? How 'respectful' was that? Rex and I never claim we've made faultless contributions to the Justice campaign, but we'll put them up against Smith's any day of the Year.Oh, and as we've said a thousand times before; we're going to have our say on standing at matches, and no amount of emotional blackmail or bullying will stop us.

SK/RN

The most hated man on Merseyside is back. Kelvin Mackenzie, former editor of the Sun, has landed a new job as boss of the Mirror. This man was responsible for besmirching the name of Liverpool supporters by printing lies after the Hillsborough disaster. Now we hear that Mackenzie is in charge of the Mirror and it's sister Sunday paper. It is 4 years since he left the Sun after losing thousands of readers on Merseyside. Many switched to the papers he now runs. His successor has since tried to build bridges, but Mackenzie still has not apologised properly for the hurt he caused. Football fans should hit him where it hurts by boycotting Mirror newspapers while he is in charge.

Craig - Hunts Cross

Craig had his/her letter printed by the Echo, but it is still worth reprinting here. I suppose that's what Higgins & co were doing at Hillsborough on February 14th ~ building bridges? The Sun is number one for lies, and always will be.

SK

Hillsborough/Titanic

I went to see the much-hyped 'Titanic' recently. One thing that I had never realised before was the actual anniversary of it descending to the ocean floor is April 15th. You don't need me to explain the significance of that date, but it got me wondering. What will people make of the Hillsborough disaster when it's 85th anniversary is 'celebrated' in 2074? Part of me wants to believe that 'Justice' won't even be an issue by then, we'll have won our campaign and the truth about Hillsborough will be known and acknowledged by everybody. The cynical part of me wonders whether the Families will ever win.

Strangely enough, even after 85 years, the media can still tell lies about a disaster. in the film 'Titanic', a real steward is seen (a) accepting bribes from a first class passenger so he can gain one of the vital lifeboat places (b) shooting two of the 'steerage' passengers who are trying to get on one of the few remaining lifeboats, before being overcome with remorse and shooting himself. Both stories are a total invention of the Hollywood scriptwriters and there is no proof they happened, There is proof to suggest that this steward actually stayed aboard right to the last and did his utmost to save as many lives as possible while sacrificing his own.

Now this may seem odd to the film's makers, but his surviving family aren't exactly chuffed with the way their relative has been portrayed. They tried to take legal action to stop Titanic being screened. It was a shame they did not succeed. if the media can tell these sort of lies about a disaster that cost 1,500 lives, how many more could they tell about a disaster that killed 'only' 96 Can we too look forward to a future cinematic blockbuster about Hillsborough? Not one written by a conscientious man or woman, desperate to help the Bereaved Families, but a Hollywood hack with all kinds of juice at his disposal regarding robbing dead bodies, urinating on our brave hero of a police officer while he tries to save lives and all the other lies? If so, the campaign MUST go on.

The Red Boyo