Liverpool’s hopes of turning “distraction” into Champions League ticket dashed

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When Liverpool qualified for the UEFA Europa League, many of their fans saw the competition as a distraction because they were hoping the Reds would be focussing on another attempt at a Premier League title or at least a top four finish. The league season didn’t work out that way and long before it ended Liverpool’s online sportsbook soccer odds of winning the league title were non-existent and the Europa League was considered Liverpool’s golden ticket to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Sadly that ticket ultimately went to Sevilla, Liverpool’s amazing adventure in the Europa League coming to an end against the second Spanish side they faced in consecutive ties of the UEFA competition.

In the semi-final of the Europa League, team manager Jürgen Klopp spoke about his team’s strong chances of advancing to the final but also cautioned that the players and fans not to get too far ahead of themselves because the team faced a tough test against Villarreal. That seemed to be proved right when the Reds came home from Spain with a 1-0 deficit. A week later, under the Anfield floodlights, Liverpool put on a display that banished any concerns they might not make the final, a 3-0 win booking them their place in Basel 3-1 on aggregate.

In the quarter-finals, Liverpool pulled off one of the most thrilling comebacks in the tournament’s history against Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund, who had a big aggregate lead – including the advantage of away goals – at one point during the second leg of the tie. The Reds mounted a furious comeback in the second half of the game against Dortmund, and eventually won the game 4-3, and advanced to the semis with a 5-4 aggregate win.

Prior to their quarter-final match with Dortmund, Liverpool had knocked off Premier League rivals Manchester United out of Europe with a 3-1 aggregate win in the Round of 16. With the convincing wins against Manchester United and Dortmund, Liverpool fans are excited about their chances of making winning the tournament and qualifying for the Champions League.

Despite his joy about the way his team fought back against Dortmund, Klopp was hoping the comeback wouldn’t be wasted by losing to Villarreal in the semis. He was worried that some of his players might have been overconfident heading into the tied and warned them about the consequences.

Klopp told his players that despite Villarreal being fourth in the Spanish League, they were a very tough side capable of defeating any of the best teams in Europe having already knocked Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen out and easily dispatching Sparta Prague in the quarters.

Despite Klopp’s cautious optimism, Liverpool were favoured to win the tie against Villarreal, and to advance to last week’s Europa League Final, a prediction that turned out to be true. A win in Basel in the final would have earned them that spot in the Champions League next year and would have allowed them to commence the battle to win their sixth Champions League title. That battle will now have to wait.

The game against Sevilla proved to be one game too far, one half too far even, with Liverpool certainly dominating proceedings and looking well in control when the two sides went into the dressing rooms after the first 45 minutes. A Daniel Sturridge goal was the difference between the English and Spanish teams by that point and the Reds fans that made up the majority of the crowd were full of confidence.

Sadly for Liverpool the confidence was obliterated after less than 20 seconds of the restart, Sevilla catching Klopp’s side cold and grabbing an equaliser the Reds never recovered from. There was a great deal of controversy about some of the decisions made by the officials during the game, including an assistant seemingly changing his mind about an offside call, but Klopp’s men showed none of the determination for a comeback that had got them past Dortmund a couple of rounds before.

A competition originally seen a distraction had become far, far, more and with just 45 minutes of a marathon season left it looked like Liverpool were heading into next season’s Champions League. In the end it wasn’t to be, but it’s safe to say that the Reds’ adventure should make more teams take the competition seriously in future.

Liverpool to rival Tottenham for Callum Wilson

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Liverpool and Tottenham are going head to head for Bournemouth striker, Callum Wilson, according to the Sunday Express, writes Sam May.

Wilson, 24, missed part of Bournemouth’s Premier League campaign having picked up a serious knee injury in September against Stoke City.

Scoring five goals in seven appearances, the England Under-21 star, hasn’t netted since his return. This however, hasn’t put off Jürgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino.

It is believed, the Spurs boss is to be handed a £60 million transfer kitty as he looks to strengthen his squad and ease the burden on Harry Kane, 22.

Klopp is said to be keen on the Cherries’ Coventry born frontman as he looks to add firepower to his attacking line ahead of the new campaign.

The Reds have also been linked with a move for FC Basle’s Cameroonian striker, Breel Embolo, 19, who has recently been targeted in a £20 million move to Tottenham.

Clearly, both teams are going to try and out smarten each other, when the new season begins.

Five Liverpool Transfer Rumours

Every day brings with it a new transfer rumour. With Liverpool doing better than ever this season, it’s natural that the Anfield rumour mill is working overtime. Here are five transfer rumours that have been making the rounds lately.

1. Joe Allen

First and foremost, fans want to know what’s going to happen with Joe Allen. With the Liverpool midfielder’s contract expiring at the end of this season, there have been rumours that he may be transferring elsewhere. The contract was originally signed in 2012 when he transferred from Swansea for £15million. However, his Europa League performances over the past few weeks may have secured his chances of a contract extension, according to Jurgen Klopp.

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Image Source: Ronnie MacDonald/Wikimedia Commons

 

Clearly the uncertainty of his future at Anfield hasn’t distracted Allen from getting the job done. With Jordan Henderson’s knee injury taking him out of the limelight, Allen has had a chance to shine. On the heels of their victory against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool squares off against Villarreal on April 28. This will be the first time that the two teams play competitively, with some giving Liverpool the edge and others giving it to Villarreal. Sites like Betsafe slightly favour Villarreal in terms of odds, but could Allen help drive Liverpool to another win?

2. Ryan Sessegnon

He may only be 15, but Ryan Sessegnon has made a splash as captain of Fulham’s under-16 squad. Both Liverpool and Arsenal plan to duke it out for Sessegnon, who is already considered to be one of the country’s most exciting talents. Compared by some to a young Gareth Bale, Sessegnon is classed as a defender. Arsenal has already tried and failed to snare Sessegnon, as a trade for Serge Gnabry until the end of the season. However, Fulham wouldn’t agree to the deal, deeming Sessegnon too valuable. It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will be able to make it work this time, or if Liverpool will be able to outbid them.

3. Theo Walcott

This certainly isn’t the first time that Theo Walcott has been linked to Liverpool, and it probably isn’t the last if things don’t pan out. For example, just last summer there were speculations that he would be part of a swap with Brendan Rodgers. At that time, Walcott had caught Liverpool’s eye as a potential striker, for scoring the opening goal against Aston Villa in the FA Cup final. According to recent reports, he’s now been linked once more with Liverpool. The Star on Sunday claimed that Klopp may be interested in making a play for Walcott, with rumours that the England international player is feeling antsy and on the hunt for new opportunities.

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Image Source: Ronnie MacDonald/Flickr

4. Mario Götze

Bayern Munich forward Mario Götze is rumoured to be more than interested in reuniting with Jurgen Klopp, who he has worked with before at Dortmund. Chief executive officer of Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has stated in a recent interview that he is willing to sit down and work with Götze and discuss his future at the end of the season. This has added credibility to the possibility of a transfer to Liverpool. Klopp has already been painted as quite confident that Liverpool will be able to sign Götze, who has been marked as a high priority for transfer. Just 23 years old, Götze is ready for a change as he has only made 12 appearances at Bayern Munich this season and is hungry for a higher profile role. By the end of the season, he’ll only have a year left on his Bayern contract and Liverpool hope to get a good deal for the transfer as a result. Naturally, Arsenal have also got their eye on World Cup winner Götze, but Klopp’s history with the player gives Liverpool a leg up in negotiations.

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Image Source: By Steindy/Wikimedia Commons

5. Marc Andre ter Stegen

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is being pursued by a number of teams, particularly Manchester City and Liverpool. Online reports say that he’s restless and looking for new opportunities, having made only a handful of La Liga appearances this season. According to rumours, Liverpool are prepared to double his salary to £110,000 a week, which would make him the fourth highest paid player on the team. Barcelona would also demand a sizeable sum for the transfer, to the tune of £30million, according to Squawka. Ter Stegen has been the subject of Liverpool transfer rumours since October, but at the moment it seems that Manchester City may be winning out.

Liverpool close on Manchester City wonderkid

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Liverpool are closing in on a deal for Manchester City youngster Rafael Camacho, according to sources, writes Sam May.

Camacho, 15, joined the Sky Blues from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon since the summer of 2014. The attacking midfielder is seen as one of the best talents to come from Portugal for his age, and scored three goals in five appearances for his country’s under 16s.

Despite this, he is set to leave and is unlikely to win a professional contract at the Ethiad Stadium. The Reds are said to be keen admirers of the teenager, with talks at an advanced stage.

If brought in, he would become the second City youngster to move to Merseyside in recent weeks with Liverpool already signing defender Diego Lattie last month. Lattie, 16, was informed that he wouldn’t be given a professional deal before his departure.

The England Under-17 international has now agreed a three-year-deal with the Reds. Having been released from his Sky Blues contract, Liverpool don’t pay any compensation for the player.

Ex-Reds technical director, Rodolfo Borrell, who spent four years on Merseyside and is now at Manchester City, could be an influence in the players moving to Anfield.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam95May

Klopp: Hard work and team ethic key to success

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Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp insists work rate and togetherness has played a huge part in Liverpool’s fortunes and transformation, writes Sam May.

Replacing Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, Klopp had a difficult start to life at Anfield, but 2016 has seen the Reds reach two-cup finals.

Despite losing the Capital One Cup final on penalties to Manchester City, the Reds can earn a place in next season Champions League if they beat Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basle on May 18.

The match at St Jacobs Park will see Alberto Moreno face his former club, since his £12 million move from Los Rojiblancos in 2014.

“Hopefully it is like this because we are together so often,” he said. “It is because of the boys. That makes it easy.

“We have a good relationship and that is very important when you have so many hours together every day. You want to feel close to your players.

“There are a lot of roads that lead to Rome. The most successful managers in the world may have different relations with the players – but I can’t change my character. Maybe I should in some parts, but not this.”

The Reds had to come from behind to score four goals to beat Klopp’s former club, Borussia Dortmund, in the quarterfinals. Liverpool then overcome Villarreal in the semis, having lost the first leg 1-0, before cruising to 3-0 an Anfield, with the Yellow Submarines offering little resistance.

“All I saw was the players working. Where is the miracle?” Klopp said. “We came back against Dortmund – see how often they have lost or drawn in 2016, not a lot. Teams who play like that deserve to win.

“Against Villarreal in the first half hour I have not seen this often from a team. It was pure power.

“But I have seen something in these boys that made me think there’s really something in this team.”

In the final, expect Liverpool to continue to show togetherness, great work ethic and high pressing. This should be enough to stop Sevilla making it an unprecedented hat trick of Europa League successes, having won it the last two years in succession.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam95May

Top Five Liverpool Kits

By Andrew Moody
May 9th 2016

With the Jurgen Klopp era now starting to take effect at Anfield, Liverpool’s new kit for the 2016/17 campaign by American manufacturer New Balance was leaked ahead of the intended launch on the 9th of May. The reveal of the new Liverpool shirt is always much anticipated amongst the Kop and the forthcoming season’s release is no exception, adding to an impressive portfolio of classic designs in years gone by.

Following this announcement, I have decided to take a nostalgic look at both past and present football kits that have become etched in the hearts of many Liverpool supporters, either through their classic appearance or because of an affinity that has been attached following one of the club’s many memorable achievements in its illustrious history. Here are my top five.

1. 2004/05

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One word. Istanbul. The kit that sparked the greatest comeback in European Cup history. From its simplistic and smart design to the famous red Liver Bird that has been incorporated into the crest, this shirt more than any symbolises the prestige and will to win attached with this great football club.

2. 1983/1984

From a visual perspective, the white stripes balance off against the scarlet red perfectly. This kit would not look out of place in the modern game and the subtle dashes of red around the v-neck collar and sleeve hems add a touch of panache to what is considered the greatest team to embellish the hallowed turf of Anfield. Pure class.

3. 1965/66

Without doubt, this iconic old-school strip, typically worn with long-sleeves remains a pivotal part of Bill Shankly’s legacy. It was in 1964 that their dynamic leader made the decision for Liverpool to switch to an all red kit which has now become synonymous with the club. Shankly believed that the introduction of the all crimson apparel had a huge psychological affect on everyone connected with the club. “You know something… tonight I went out onto Anfield and for the first time there was a glow like a fire was burning,” claimed Shankly.

4. 1988/1989

This sweet offering was the first Liverpool shirt to be sponsored by domestic applier manufacturer Candy and always divides opinions amongst the Anfield faithful. The traditional three stripes of Adidas adorn the shoulder and complement the stylish white collar. Cult-heros such as Ian Rush and Peter Beardsley have graced this particular number on their back – surely that is enough to silence the doubters?

5. 1997/98

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Liverpool stuck with this shirt for two seasons with its classic collar look embodying Roy Evans’ fearless side who were arguably one of the Premier League’s most exciting and aesthetically pleasing team of the 1990s. This kit signified the emergence of a young Michael Owen who went on to form a compelling strike partnership with Anfield hero Robbie Fowler. However despite this trophy-less period, the Carlsberg era would experience glory on the biggest stage further down the line.

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How does Liverpool’s new kit stand up to these timeless pieces of attire with its definitive yellow lettering and flashes of gold across the neck and sleeve lines? If you haven’t seen it yet then there are photos of it at the UKSoccershop blog. I suspect the minimalistic; one button style will cause a difference of opinion amongst supporters, especially as it bears a strong resemblance to the home kit donned by arch-rivals Manchester United last season. Where does the 2016/16 design rank in your favourite Liverpool kits of all-time?

 

Liverpool interested in former Blues defender

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Jürgen Klopp is interested in snapping up Valencia centre back, Shkodran Mustafi according to reports, writes Sam May.

Mustafi, 24, has been in fine form for Valencia making 41 appearances and scoring two goals, and is seen as key summer signing for the Reds.

It is understood 48-year old manager Klopp, will send a scout to keep a close eye on the defender this weekend, when Valencia take on Liverpool’s semi final UEFA Europa League opponents, Villarreal on Sunday at the Mestalla.

Having had previous experience playing in England, rising through the youth ranks across Stanley Park at Everton, Mustafi made his first team debut for the Toffees back in 2009 in a 1-0 defeat to Bate Borisov in the UEFA Europa League.

Despite not being handed a start in the Premier League under former Blues manager David Moyes, the German International signed for Sampdoria in 2012, before moving to Los Che two years later.

Having already made 10 caps for the German national team, he is expected to feature for Joachim Low’s side at Euro 2016.

It seems Liverpool could have an advantage should they sign the player, with former Reds assistant Pako Ayestarán in charge of the Spanish side, who took over from the sacked Gary Neville in March.

Having already signed Joel Matip from Schalke, the Kop boss will look to sign other central defender, given Mamadou Sakho’s ban and Kolo Toure, who is set to depart in the summer. The Reds are also said to be keen on 30-year old Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen and continued to be linked with a move for Mats Hummels.

Sakho officially suspended, UEFA commence disciplinary proceedings

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European football’s governing body, UEFA, have today formally announced that disciplinary proceedings against Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho have begun. As was anounced by Liverpool FC just before the game against Newcastle on Saturday, the proceedings relate to a failed doping test. Sakho is now provisionally banned for 30 days but the ultimate suspension is expected to be far longer than this.

The UEFA statement reads:

Disciplinary proceedings have been instigated against Liverpool FC player Mamadou Sakho, following the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second-leg match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC (1-1), played on 17 March.

The proceedings relate to a violation of the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations, after the player failed a doping test at the above-mentioned match.

The player did not request the analysis of the B sample. UEFA has now suspended the player provisionally for 30 days until a final decision is taken by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body.

The date of the disciplinary hearing will be announced at a later stage.

Sakho had become something of a cult hero to Liverpool fans thanks to his attitude in games and perhaps also as a response to the criticism the French international would receive from time to time from those uninvolved with LFC or its support. This incident has badly damaged that status and, although some fans are waiting to see what mitigating circumstances there might be, the player’s decision not to request the B sample is enough in the eyes of many to confirm his guilt.

It is difficult to see how he could have taken the substances – yet to be officially confirmed – by accident. All players know the risks not only to their reputation but also to their livelihood, their careers and the club that is paying them decent wages. All players have a pigeonhole at Melwood where any supplements or special drinks are placed by the medical staff and the club has its own doctor who can advise on anything a player might be thinking of taking.

There is no need to take a risk – and it is not just the player’s own situation that he puts at risk if he chooses to.

Sakho has let the fans down and the news comes at what has been a momentous week due to the sacrifices of so many others off the field.

Meanwhile ex-LFC forward Steve McManaman says Sakho has “blown it” for himself and should have checked before taking anything. “I wouldn’t take a Lemsip without asking first” he said in an interview earlier today.

We await the full story but it is difficult to see a way back for Sakho at Anfield right now.

 

Hillsborough Justice Campaign Press Release following unlawful killing verdict

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Following yesterday’s momentous day, which saw the jury in the Hillsborough inquests return a verdict of unlawful killing as well as exonerating the supporters – including of course the survivors – of any blame, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign issued a press release.

Please take the time to read it and digest what it says – and remember it could say far more if there wasn’t a need to hold back for the time being until the next stage of the fight for justice – the criminal investigations – are complete. That includes the investigations into what happened after the disaster, when rather than come clean about what happened on April 15th 1989, about what had caused the unlawful deaths of 96 people and untold suffering to hundreds of others, various individuals and organisations instead went to great lengths to add to that suffering in what seems to have been a decades long attempt to hide the truth.

The truth of course being that the people who were meant to protect and care for the 96 victims and those hundreds of survivors failed completely to do so, as decided yesterday at the inquests. It wasn’t the fans’ fault, far from it, and now the truth is out there are no excuses left. It is time for justice – Justice for All.

Here is the full HJC press release.

 

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Hillsborough Justice Campaign

Press Release

26th April 2016

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign welcomes the jury’s verdict of unlawful killing. The right conclusion has finally been reached. The jury has listened and decided that the weight of evidence against South Yorkshire Police and in particular David Duckenfield, given the admissions he made in evidence, leads to this verdict.

This verdict of unlawful killing will now be considered by the DPP in respect of criminal prosecutions. There is so much more that could be said on this point, however given that there is already an ongoing criminal investigation we would not wish to prejudice any future proceedings. We would however hope that matters are dealt with swiftly.

We are also pleased that the Jury has exonerated Liverpool supporters from being in any way to blame for the disaster. We put on record our disgust that the police once again used the coroner’s court as a vehicle for reiterating lies in respect of fans behaviour. They did it at the original inquests and even though the HIP report in 2012 illustrated a web of conspiracy, cover-up and lies on the part of SYP, nevertheless they attempted at these new inquests to once more influence the jury to the detriment of supporters. Shame on them. We also wish to record our anger at the coroner for choosing to put fans behaviour to the jury to consider as a contributory factor in causing the deaths of the 96.

 

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The effects of these lies on good, honest supporters should not be underestimated. To the present day many fans remain traumatised. Others have committed suicide or attempted suicide. Too many have carried an unnecessary burden due to the lies perpetrated by those in power. Enough is enough. We applaud those fans who acted as rescuers on the day and we say to all those who continue to suffer; live your life with your heads held high. You told the truth.

These inquests have also highlighted the roles of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, Sheffield City Council and the emergency services. We have always maintained that the Hillsborough ground was not fit for purpose. Evidence has proved us right. Safety arrangements instead of being paramount were slack and shoddy illustrating a systemic problem with both the local authority and the club. Fans were treated appallingly with little consideration being given to their well being.

Likewise the ambulance service responded in an inadequate manner to the emerging disaster in 1989. They failed to establish a proper emergency response and subsequently sought to cover up their failings. We are disgusted that so many years on and, in spite of previously apologising for their mistakes, they nevertheless used these new inquests to once again try to assert that victims had died early. By so doing they attempted yet again to absolve themselves from responsibility.

We have always known why the disaster happened. We had the witnesses who had seen, first hand, the devastation of that fateful day. Yet it has taken over twenty seven years for the dead to receive a proper verdict. The intervening years have been tortuous for families and survivors. They have seen senior police officer after senior police officer retire early and on full pensions. We have had to endure being policed by not one, but two former senior officers of South Yorkshire Police as Chief constables of Merseyside. Such was the contempt for Hillsborough families, survivors and the people of Liverpool and Merseyside.

We call for the immediate removal of the current chief constable of South Yorkshire Police. We also call for all senior officers involved on the day to lose their pension rights with immediate affect.

The HJC notes that at a time when so many people in this country are living in abject poverty, these proceedings have occurred at an enormous cost to the public purse. We wish this was not the case. Indeed it would not have been the case had David Duckenfield told the truth on the day of the Disaster and if subsequently the findings of Lord Justice Taylor had been accepted by South Yorkshire Police. The truth in this instance has come at a huge financial cost.

We would like to thank the jury members not only for reaching the correct verdict but also for their enduring commitment to these lengthy inquests. We note that they did not hear evidence from the 2012 HIP report that police deliberately lied, that statements were altered and fans were wrongly blamed. All credit therefore to the jury in reaching a verdict of unlawful killing.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge ourselves, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, for we are the people and we are many. Bereaved families, survivors, supporters of the campaign for justice. We never gave up. We persisted over many years, in the face of great adversity. First we were ignored, then we were bullied. However we never went away. Eventually we were feared – because we wouldn’t go away. We forced the establishment to listen to us by our campaigning, whilst simultaneously offering support and help to families and survivors. We know what we did, the role we have played. We lost good people along the way. We will not forget them nor will we forget those who continue to suffer the trauma of 1989. We will continue to support those affected by the disaster in whatever way we can.

Justice for All.

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96 people were unlawfully killed and now the establishment has questions to answer.

The Hillsborough Inquests jury returns its verdicts on a historic and momentous day. The 96 Liverpool supporting victims were found to have been unlawfully killed and the Liverpool fans who were there were found to have played no part in causing the deadly situation to occur.

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27 years of fighting later and the families, survivors and campaigners have finally, finally, got a legal judgement in black and white that proves that they were right all along.

On an extremely emotional day the jury in the Hillsborough inquests, over two years after it began, gave their verdicts.

96 football fans died on the 15th of April 1989 – and they died because they were unlawfully killed.

The deaths of the 96 Liverpool fans were in no way whatsoever down to the actions of any of the Liverpool fans who were at the stadium that day, despite the attempts of the establishment at the time and in years to follow to claim that it was.

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They didn’t die by accident, they didn’t die at the hands of their fellow supporters. 27 years of lies proved wrong.

The police, including its senior officers, the ambulance service and Sheffield Wednesday FC were all found by the jury to have played some part in a situation that resulted in the loss of 96 lives.

The next stage now is for the criminal investigations to continue and as a result everyone is still restricted in saying what we really think about the role of South Yorkshire Police and its senior officers that day. The force apologized today, a hollow apology in many people’s eyes.

The families now know their loved ones died not because of ‘accidental death’, as ruled by the now-quashed original inquests, but by ‘unlawful’ means. That means person or persons have been walking free without facing a criminal prosecution for 27 years despite having played a part in the unlawful deaths of 96 innocent people.

The survivors, many of whom went through unspeakable and unimaginable torture that day, coming close to losing their own lives and watching helplessly as people around them lost theirs, not to mention the sights and sounds they experienced, found themselves blamed by the establishment for what happened 27 years ago. Already severely and deeply traumatised, to be told that they were to blame – falsely – is an act of cruelty bordering on the barbaric. Numerous survivors would ultimately find the traumas of that day and the aftermath too much to bear.

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27 years is far too long to wait for justice but it is clear that the families, survivors and campaigners were not going to sit back and let the passage of time be an obstacle to their fight. In many cases the mothers and fathers that began the fight for justice for their lost son or daughter are no longer with us but in their place their children and a constantly growing army of campaigners fought in their place.

The fight was never going to stop, and it never will, until justice has been done for all 96 of the victims and all those survivors who had to endure hell.

To allow 96 people to die is unforgivable – to cover those deaths up is in many ways far worse. The S*n newspaper played a part in that and for that title to still be in existence is a crime of a different type, especially when they are still able to peddle front page lies with the only deterrent the risk of having to publish a postage stamp sized apologies buried deep inside their rag.

There are also one or people celebrating victory today that might want to think again about their own part in slowing down the march to it, including some who only use the disaster when they think it will boost their own image, turning down requests from campaigners when it doesn’t suit their own needs.

However today should be as much about recognising the good as it is about highlighting the bad. The bad will get their day in court, the good have got their day now and will have it every day from now on. Tonight the bad will be losing sleep, the good can sleep easy, knowing those who have suffered can now rest in peace.

So many people have sacrificed so much in the quest for the truth and 27 years is a massive chunk of anyone’s life. Some are no longer with us and some might not be with us by the time the whole criminal process is finally over and done with, but we’ll always have them with us as inspiration because they never gave up, ever. The obstacles they faced, the monsters they fought, the contempt they had to overcome – they must have been real life super humans to get past it all. But get past it all they did and that is why today they are celebrating a victory far bigger than all of Liverpool FC’s victories put together.

Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Conservative heroine Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister at the time and part of a government that once secretly suggested the city of Liverpool should be put into ‘managed decline’, always insisted that the fans had played a part in the 96 deaths. He refused to comment today, quite the opposite approach to the time he said: “Liverpool should shut up about Hillsborough.”

Liverpool didn’t shut up about Hillsborough and the more the rest of the country and the rest of the world heard about Hillsborough the more the people who had campaigned from day one got their voices heard. Those voices had always been right, now they were louder than ever.

The truth always comes out in the end and, despite the callous way those with power use that privilege to hurt others, there is no weapon stronger than the truth, especially when used with the kind of dignity we have witnessed for almost three decades.

Today THE TRUTH won.

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