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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The Hillsborough Justice Campaign
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Through the Wind and Rain
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Through the Wind and the Rain Fanzine Archives

The name of a football ground in Yorkshire continues to haunt us and hurt us. The decision by Sheffield Wednesday to renew plans to open Leppings Lane as TERRACING makes me angry and bitter. They've made medications, apparently, but I saw some Wednesday goals on telly and that tunnel is still there. I couldn't see another entrance, but his is irrelevant anyway. Who in their right mind wants to stand where 95 people lost their lives ONE year ago: For all the talk of getting back to normality, there can only be one simple reason – revenue. Listening to Sheffield officials bemoaning our 'hysteria' only makes it far worse. We've had to put up with the city's/clubs representatives; callousness almost from day one. I don't believe these people speak for some of the best supporters in England and some of the nicest people on earth. Let's get it right – WE know what hysteria is. WE'VE seen it.

Money also reared its' ugly head in the courts, with two heartless decisions. In the summer it was decided that only immediate family of the deceased could claim for damages over the tv coverage, and the distress it caused. This means if your son died, you can claim; if it was your grandson, you can't. If your husband was killed, you can claim; if it was your fiancé, you can't. What is the difference? The pain is the same, surely? It's convenient for the courts to deal with less cases, but people who have suffered – BADLY – have been told their pain doesn't count. It's the Director of Public Prosecution; decision not to prosecute anyone for the disaster that has angered everybody the most. – they were fast enough packing Liverpool fans off to Belgium. Insufficient evidence, he said – the lunatics are running the asylum. I'm writing this in the week that those responsible for Zeebrugge are in the dock; can someone explain to me just what are the difference between the two tragedies? On second thoughts, don't bother. I'm a football supporter from Merseyside – I already know the fucking answer.


Philip Chevron, who attended the tragic game at Hillsborough last year when 95 Liverpool fans lost their lives, reports on the first anniversary memorial service at Anfield. (This article is printed by permission of the Irish magazine HOT PRESS)

It's Easter Sunday, 1990 in 'The Park', a crammed hostelry in Liverpool's Walton Breck Road, where time-honoured Bank Holiday lunch time celebrations are in progress and Scouse wit fills the air as thick as smoke.

The Park could be any Northern English pub during the Sunday morning session if it weren't for the fact that it's located directly across the road from Anfield stadium, 95 of whose regular Kop-enders so gruesomely died exactly one year ago today, at another ground – Hillsborough in Sheffield 0 in a manner that no-one in this city will ever truly comprehend or forget.

That tragedy united an already close community in this once thriving, now poignantly sad but still great city. The people in The Park and those in the many other public houses in the area are here today because in less than an hour they'll wend their way across the road to Anfield to remember their dead and to hope, like myself, that the Anniversary Remembrance service will somehow help relieve the anguish, guilt and pain that after all this time inexplicably lingers. The gathering in the pub resembles nothing so much as a Wake in its merriment; young lads in Candy sponsored jerseys, little girls in Sunday best, and mums and dads, some in red and white scarves and caps, some in black suits or arm bands. And touchingly, a sprinkling of Everton blue which made me feel suddenly foolish that I have cheated by wearing my Nottingham Forest club boxer shorts, under my levis. Ashamed of this, though seeing the funny side, I now proudly apply my Forest Supporters Club badge to my lapel (a gesture unthinkable just yesterday when the two teams who took part in that fateful cup semi final last met) safe in the certainly that Merseysiders do not regard Hillsborough as just their tragedy, or just football's tragedy.

There were no Forest casualties on 15th April 1989, nor from the millions who watched in horror on their tv sets; but casualties of course come in many complexions and complexities. Like being at the other end of Hillsborough, as I was that day, on a terrace behind perimeter fences identical to those of the notorious Leppings Lane watching people die with only vicious looking dogs and their bewildered police handlers between us (Forest) and the human compulsion to do something, anything, to help.

A form of shock took shape as myself and one of my best mates finally left the ground not much the wiser as to what had actually happened. Amid concern for his beloved, from whom he had been separated before kick-off, we walked to the pre-arranged rendezvous (where, thank Heaven, she was waiting) saying….I don't really know what…"Weather-wise, it's such a lovely day"? The suburban Sheffield hill, strewn with angrily ripped-up programmes contrasted oddly with the beautiful surprise April sunshine.

Back at the Wake, the man putting the dimes in the jukebox reflects the proximity of the purging of grief by switching from Presley, Holly and James Brown to more downbeat records. It's funny how mere little things like singles can take on deeper resonances in certain circumstances. The Cars 'Drive' finally cracks my feeble 'I've just got something in my eye' stance as I recalled the moment my mate did locate his girlfriend, at our customary in-case-we-get-lost hostelry.

For this was also the pre-arranged meeting place for what should have a mini-bus full of Liverpool supporters, some of whom had not returned to the vehicle at this quite late stage. Grapevine reports on the Forest terrace as the disaster unfolded – in the absence of an efficient PA system at the ground – had suggested that possibly some people were dead, four or five maybe, or were they just hurt? Incredible, I know, but nothing was clear except in retrospect. The radio solemnly intoning the news from the 'Pool fans mini-bus revealed the terrible, though still underestimated truth. I shall never forget those people's faces, as they waited for their friends.

So The Cars 'Who's gonna drive you home?' already resonant from it's use at Live Aid, is my cue to drink up and take my seat in the Kemlyn Road stand, where the famous Anfield pitch, so movingly covered in tributes last April, is now bare but for a brass band, a small choir and dais containing three Merseyside church leaders.

The service itself, which many of you will have seen on BBC1 Easter Sunday, and to which one hopes tv did Justice, was a dignified affair by and large. If we, the 30,000 strong crowd didn't always raise the hymns to the rafters, or in this case the skies, you may understand that vocal chords don't always agree with lumps in throats.

'When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, Abide with me.' The clergy, to be fair, delivered marvellously secular and ecumenical sermons while dwelling maybe a touch too much on the cold comfort coincident of The Resurrection. Honourable as these men are, so far as I know, it's difficult not to observe that from the youngest (10 years old) to the oldest (67), the combined age of the deceased at Hillsborough is 2308, somewhat older than Jesus. (Who, incidentally, was not required to have posthumous blood tests to determine – as was revealed on Sunday in respect of the 95 – that alcohol was not even a remotely significant factor in his death.)

Some decades ago, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a fine finale for perhaps their best Broadway show, Carousel. A gentle little musical, the final song began; "When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high and don't be afraid of the dark." In the theatre, later on film and as performed by Liverpool supporters, (and Gerry and the Pacemakers of course) it has always had such an emotional effect on people that it has also, naturally, been parodied and ridiculed by full-voiced Reds haters at every major football ground in England, and that is a little sentimental anyway should not obscure its' claim to being probably the best secular hymn ever written. A little bit of genius.

Somewhat choked at first by the sight and sound of all Anfield performing You'll Never Walk Alone today it is cathartic, passionate and defiant. The pity is though, we do still walk alone us fans (a horde of uncouth garb and strange oaths – Pall Mall Gazette 1884) who get shat upon from every imaginable quarter. From Mrs Thatcher and her poodle Colin (Minister Against Sport) Moynihan, through to some of the police forces, and from the slime of dim-witted club chairmen and directors, to UEFA and those who would have Super-Leagues.

And would 'a game of 4 halves' tailored to the big bucks of the US tv networks, truly reflect in safer stands, decent food, toilets and better entry and exit facilities? Would it put roofs on terraces (even short term) or bring about non-hostile police cooperation? Will Justice Taylor's post Hillsborough report's vague suggestion that more supporter participation may be a good thing, that us guys and gals might have some say in how this billion pound business is operated, come to anything? I fear not. Walk on, walk on.

All I'm sure of, is those recurring images of people – they could have been any of us – crawling desperately to either safety or death; of those grotesque makeshift stretchers, advertising hoardings ripped from the sides of the pitch by Liverpool fans with sense of enterprise forced on them by the unbelievable lack of medical or emergency facilities available at Hillsborough (or most any other ground); of a game controlled by greed in Britain.

My sister, a veteran of the Liverpool/Juventus disaster of Heysel, and who helped me through the first few days post-Hillsborough, counselled me then that I could not forget or forgive and I'm not sure I want to do either. The tears which have been an almost daily experience ever since flowed freely on Easter Sunday, and are gradually ebbing as I write this a week later. Liverpool still stands as it always will, but his must never happen again! Never.

The Wake continues in the city later as I reflect on a quote from a goalkeeper for the Algerian team Oran FC, who in 1957 said 'All I know about morality and the obligations of man, I owe to football.' And I raise a glass to Albert Camus, for it was he.

Philip Chevron

Philip is a member of The Pogues, and his article originally appeared in Hot Press.