This is not a flattering portrait or Britain’s civil authorities. And now that people on Merseyside have finally been given permission to get mad about the cover up they are entitled to get even.
Those who perverted the course of justice and compounded the misery of the deaths of 96 people by smearing the deceased must be reacquainted with the rule of law they helped corrupt for 23 years.
Football, too, must play its part in the next phase. Another telling revelation of the Hillsborough Panel is that turnstile greed played a direct role in the calamity.
At an FA Cup semi-final at the same ground between Spurs and Wolves in 1981 “many people were injured and fatalities narrowly avoided.”
The minor modifications that followed were not sufficient to earn new safety certificates. Guess what: potentially life-saving recommendations were ignored by Sheffield Wednesday on grounds of cost.
The Taylor Report and all-seat stadiums were football’s shock therapy. Hillsborough’s death trap is now an image from a museum of horrors.
When I see that white ambulance trundling across the pitch through packs of stunned fans my thoughts turn to Fabrice Muamba and the speed and efficiency of the medical services in attending to him on the pitch at White Hart Lane.
But there is more to do, starting with the profoundly offensive arms race of
chants that pass between
Please don’t trouble me with a timeline of who started it and which side is the least sensitive. The point is that songs about the Munich air disaster of 1958 and cries of “You killed your own fans” must be consigned to the same dustbin as the reputation of South Yorkshire police from 1989.
The skin went cold when the Hillsborough report dropped on Tuesday. All at once shame descended on those who have passed on hearsay for 23 years about Liverpool fans turning up sloshed without tickets and causing the crush.
At the same time the dark deeds of the police, an MP (the Conservative Sir Irvine Patnick) and some sections of the media evoked the Leveson inquiry and the unholy bonds that corrupt British life.
Naturally the sword of truth is waved by the campaigners who refused to yield to an institutionalised lie.
By extension it was waved also by Liverpool Football Club, who have offered a haven these past 23 years for those disfigured by the memories.
This is where common ground reveals itself. After Munich, Manchester United acquired an extra, spiritual dimension.
The terrible diminution of the Busby Babes gave birth to an urge to rise again and defy the random cruelty of 23 fatalities in an air crash. United’s very identity was constructed around their refusal to yield to this fate.
They were the phoenix club of the 1960s and Old Trafford’s elder statesman, Sir Bobby Charlton, is still around to connect the glories of the current era with the unlikely recovery of 1958.
To the west, at Anfield, the spirit of the Hillsborough campaign has coloured every day in the life of Liverpool FC.
Kenny Dalglish, the club’s greatest figure, is synonymous with the fight against secrecy and obfuscation. There is no intention to compare Munich and Hillsborough in a political sense.
Yet there could never be a better time to end the disgusting mockery of each club’s grief.
“You killed your own fans” was always cruel and inflammatory. Now it plays into the hands of those who doctored witness statements, searched for criminal convictions with which to smear the dead and briefed Whites Press Agency in Sheffield that Liverpool fans had stolen from corpses and urinated on police.
However venomous the rivalry between the clubs, there will be a common enemy when they meet at Anfield on Sunday week.
Those who may face criminal charges are the enemies of United fans as well as Liverpool’s followers, because it could have been any set of supporters in the Leppings Lane end that day.
Anyone who chants, “You killed your own fans” in the game nine days from now should be identified and banned from football for life.
All sentient United fans will know this has to stop, and Liverpool’s will surely see the need to reciprocate by leaving the dead of Munich in peace.
That way, the game can take one simple step towards justifying its claim to be a kind of religion that knows the meaning of respect I spite of all its tribal posturing.
A chant of “You killed your own fans” is a cretinous endorsement of those exposed as dangers to society by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.