The Truth, At Last, For The 96

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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3 Responses

  1. Nathan says:

    You think this country has changed?

  2. Albert Ross says:

    In so many ways, the fact that this was a disaster waiting to happen, and that the immediate reaction was to blame fans, are sadly unsurprising. The way fans were treated at the time was still based on the concept of “football fans are violent thugs” and containment was the order of the day. The Bradford Fire may have changed some things about stadium safety, but many other things – including poor stadium design – had not.

    Even several years later some attitudes were still on display – I went to a lower-league game in the mid to late 90s where, due to a terrace not being completed on time, 750 people were crowded onto a hopelessly inadequate terrace; when one person, at half time, ran onto the pitch towards the empty terrace, the police response was brutal. Complaints afterwards were met with a frighteningly similar response – that the problems were caused by a number of away fans who had been drinking heavily, with no acknowledgement that the bloodied heads might have anything to do with police losing theirs. Notably, those who chose to contest the charges against them had their cases dropped before there was the embarrassing (for the authorities) spectacle of video footage of the events being called as evidence for the defence.

    There have been significant changes in many places, yes sometimes and some places still provide examples of insensitive and heavy-handed responses to fans who just want to watch their team, but it is no longer the norm. For that, we have to in part thank the families of the 96, and all those who have supported their campaigns over the years. Without their persistence, the lies that some choose to believe about all football supporters would be far more widespread.

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