Talking Sport: Truth arrives for Hillsborough victims - next step justice

Liverpool fans trying to escape severe overcrowding on the day of the Hillsborough disaster

Liverpool fans trying to escape severe overcrowding on the day of the Hillsborough disaster

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On April 15 1989, 24,000 Liverpool fans travelled to a football match ... 96 never returned.

After years of lies, cover-ups and conspiracies, comes an admission of what the majority of football fans have always known: that the Liverpool fans were completely innocent on that dreadful day.

Much has been said of the incredible sense of betrayal from the police who were supposed to protect and of the scandal which saw The Sun print awful lies, but I don’t want to focus too much on the negatives of the latest Hillsborough revelations - and there are many - as I feel so much has been said on that.

In contrast, there are positives - the truth has finally been revealed, and the sense of togetherness from football fans across the country has been truly inspiring.

As a Liverpool fan I understand the intensity of the rivalry with Everton, but at times like this their battles for honours on the pitch are forgotten and fans come together to remember the 96 who never made it back on that terrible day.

Many have praised Everton’s tribute on Monday evening before the Newcastle match and the events of the past week or so have made me realise the great Bill Shankly was wrong about one thing, when he famously said: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Yes, football may be a big part of many people’s lives, but when you see the relief on the faces of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends of the victims who lost their lives that the truth has finally been revealed, you understand some things are so much more important than football.

The only sour note on a weekend which saw many teams offer their support and respect to Liverpool came from a small bunch of sick Manchester United fans, who sung anti-Liverpool fans. Sir Alex Ferguson has been quick to condemn the fans who stooped so low.

Tensions will be running high when United travel to Anfield on Sunday but Ferguson assures Liverpool United will play their part in the tribute to the 96.

There is still a long way to go to finally achieve justice for the 96 but last week’s report was a massive step for the people of Liverpool.

For so long they have had to suffer lies about their friends and loved ones. Now, finally, they can live knowingthe truth is out.

But that’s not the end of it. The view from everyone associated with Liverpool seems to be first the truth, next step justice.

- JOSH HARRISON

* Do you agree with Josh? What should happen now in this long and harrowing saga? Email sport@chiobserver.co.uk or send a tweet to Josh - @JoshHarrison08