Day: August 17, 2011

The Government’s Hillsborough Documents Must Be Made Public

What, the inevitable question that will now be repeatedly asked will say, are they trying to hide? A little over two decades has passed since the Hillsborough disaster, and still no-one has been brought to account in any meaningful way for what happened on the fifteenth of April 1989. Since then, discourse on the subject has ranged from what we all know and understand on the subject – that this was a failure of crowd control, a failure of policing and basic safety – to the innuendo-laden and frequently hate-driven perpetuation of a pack of lies that was spread shortly after it occurred. Against such a backdrop, it is hardly surprising that those that lost loved ones may have been unable to find true closure on English football’s worst, most savage disaster. The innuendo was driven, of course, by The Sun newspaper, which printed a tableau of lies in the form of one of the most shameful single articles ever written by a British newspaper. We don’t need to rake over them again at this stage, but it may be worth pointing out that it has been persistently rumoured in the intervening years that the sources for the newspaper decided would pass for a story – and it was a “story”, in a more literal sense of the word than the newspaper would admit for many, many years –...

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Book Review: “32 Programmes” by Dave Roberts

It doesn’t take much to bring out the obsessive in many men of any age, and this is something that advertisers and hawkers have been aware of for a long time and acting upon this sort of impulse with greater and greater sophistication in recent years. Football supporters, of course, can be amongst the worst for obsessive behaviour, and one of the more obvious manifestations of this comes in the form of football programmes. For many, many decades, the football programme was no more than a glorified teamsheet with a couple of adverts attached to it. As football started to modernise during the 1960s, though, so the match programme became the “match-day magazine”, a glossier and glossier publication which has, in most cases, become blander and blander at the same time. Still, though, there is an improbable glamour about the football programme, and this is something that Dave Roberts – who may already be known to regulars of this parish for “Bromley Boys”, his book about the glamour (or lack thereof) of following the eponymous Isthmian League club in the early 1970s – touches upon in his new book, “32 Programmes”. The format of the book is simple. Roberts, at the beginning of the book, is moving abroad and can only take a small proportion of the vast collection that he had amassed over the years, while the rest will have to go...

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