22 April 2009

Justice for the 96

I have no desire to write about Steven fucking Cohen, the co-host of the World Soccer Daily radio show. The man is an embarrassment to American soccer fans, end of.

But, unfortunately, that prat is the face of the Prem in the US for many. And if I can convince just one American to never listen to his show again, it’s worth having a post with that malignant fucker’s name in it.

The Gaffer at EPL Talk has two comprehensive smackdowns, which are much appreciated given his audience.

Paul Tomkins also eloquently kneecapped the bastard.

The RAWK thread, as usual, is worth the read.

And Phil Scraton, an authority on the subject if there ever was one, wrote an outstanding post on RAWK, which I want to copy in full here because every person possible should read every single word.
Dear Steven Cohen,

I have read some of your recent unsubstantiated allegations regarding 6 to 8,000 ticketless fans at Hillsborough and your comments conflating Heysel and Hillsborough. I have researched the Hillsborough disaster since late 1989, written two reports on the disaster and its aftermath, numerous articles and the book Hillsborough: The Truth. I attended the Taylor Inquiry, the Coroner's Inquests and the trial of the two senior officers. I also gave written evidence to the Stuart-Smith Scrutiny in 1998.I have read hundreds of statements including every single statement made by all police officers on duty on the day. I also interviewed many of those in authority at Hillsborough on the day including the senior South Yorkshire Police investigating officer. It was my work that uncovered the fact that all police statements had been 'reviewed and altered' by a team of six senior officers in collaboration with the South Yorkshire Police solicitors. The terms 'review' and 'alteration' are theirs not mine. The 'cover-up' and the deliberate transference of blame to the fans was orchestrated at a senior level in the SYP and involved briefings given to the media and to the Prime Minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher. The alteration of statements was known to the investigating police (West Midlands), Lord Justice Taylor, the Coroner and the Home Office.

Undoubtedly there were ticketless fans on the day, as there are at all matches, but there is nothing at all in any witness statements to suggest that their numbers were unusual. The build-up at the turnstiles was caused by the following: the 'corralling' (their word, not mine) of fans by the police and escorting them from coachparks and the railway station in the hour before kick-off; the failure to 'filter' the crowd into the known bottleneck at the turnstiles (I uncovered an internal SYP memo from a senior officer in the SYP written in 1986 warning of this very danger); malfunctioning turnstiles. As had happened previously at several other capacity matches, processing over 25,000 fans (North Stand; West Stand and Leppings Lane Terrace) through 27 old turnstiles in an area no bigger than a school playground was a serious danger. After a close call on the Leppings Lane Terrace at a semi-final in 1981 Hillsborough had been stood down as a venue.

What happened next on 15 April 1989 is well-known. The Match Commander opened the exit gate to relieve congestion outside and fans walked (I have all this on the CCTV tapes) down a 1 in 6 gradient tunnel into the back of two already overcrowded central pens. There was no opportunity to move sideways or onto the perimeter track. The ground had no up-to-date safety certificate and the police operational order for the day gave no details of emergency response. The Match Commander had full view of the pens from the control box at the end of the terrace yet he failed to close the tunnel, as had been done by his predecessor in 1988. He then lied to the Chief Exec of the FA that Liverpool fans had broken down the gate and caused an 'inrush'. This deceit was passed to the awaiting media as fans were dying in the pens ... it was also given to the Prime Minister the following day. According to correspondence wuith her press secretary, the PM was told that a 'mob, tanked up on drink' had caused the disaster.

Steven, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it is unacceptable to broadcast ill-informed opinion as fact when the evidence, amassed over years, has exposed your assertions as false. I feel that the least you might do is to retract.


No matter where you’re from, where you live, or even who you support, no true football fan should abide by this. Doing anything else makes the words “Justice for the 96” meaningless.


The Gaffer said...

Nate, thanks for the support mate.

The Gaffer

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

This honestly brings tears to my eyes as a Liverpool supporter. I've had no idea he has said all of this bullshit. How can he honestly say this? "SHARED RESPONSIBILITY?" ARE YOU JOKING?! I will NEVER listen to this fucking piece of shit EVER again.

Ed said...

I had no idea who Steven Cohen was, and now he's skyrocketed into S*n territory. What a gash of a man. Well done to the Gaffer and all the others who have served him up.