The verdict comes as painfully belated exoneration for Liverpool's fans who were blamed for the deaths by South Yorkshire police, a fallacy perpetuated most glaringly by The Sun newspaper, and vindication for the families who fought to bring the real truth to light.
The jury gave their answers to 14 questions at the courtroom in Birchwood Park, Warrington and delivered a damning verdict on the police's handling of both the planning, management and aftermath of the FA Cup semi-final at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium in April 1989 and cleared supporters of any culpability.
Everton FC and its fans have stood side by side with Liverpool FC, its fans and the families of the 96 who lost their lives on the terraces at Hillsborough for 27 long years and there will be joy and vindication in the city coupled with deep sadness for those who died and lingering anger that it took so long for the cover-up to be brought to light.
As evertonfc.com so nicely put it, theirs is the greatest victory in the history of football.
Reader Comments (78)
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1 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:14:28
2 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:17:09
3 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:20:47
4 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:26:29
5 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:27:01
I hope all the guilty parties get there's
6 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:27:45
And you just know it's not going away. Assume now there will be ongoing criminal investigations.
7 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:27:59
8 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:28:01
And like the case against the Orgreave picket miners in the 80s which was thrown out of court - the sequence of events in the video of the clash with police was reversed to show (misleadingly) the miners initiating the clash.
And so it goes on.
9 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:29:37
RIP the 96. God bless the families who never gave up. The city united.
10 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:30:47
Truly horrific what happened. Should never have happened.
11 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:34:27
Little did he know at the time the full extent of the full tragedy that unfolded.
I lost a good friend there, I also felt that Liverpool would go on to win the cup.
12 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:36:26
This must be such a sad victory for the campaigners on reflection. Did any ever want to be campaigners ? They'd swap another day with their loved ones for any of this I imagine.
It will be a rare miscarriage victory too now Legal Aid has been slashed.
No joy in this for anyone.
13 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:38:48
15 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:49:35
So now there needs to be an investigation into police officers who caused the deaths and another into who in the police initiated and took part in seeking to blame the Liverpool fans.
I also expect that one knighthood will be stripped from its odious recipient as soon as possible, and that certain former city councillors are today hanging their heads in shame.
16 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:53:24
"Everton Football Club salutes the Hillsborough families and their total vindication as Fighters for Justice."
"Theirs is the greatest victory in the history of football."
"RIP, the 96. Good night, God bless."
"From us across the Park."
17 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:56:35
Next? For me, the awful, terrible decisions of the day are less important (no disrespect to the dead intended) than what happened next. The falsified, rewritten police reports. The MP who the Scum quoted and then the Scum itself. And of course the government of the day. These people will never be brought to justice. I would dearly love to be proved wrong.
18 Posted 26/04/2016 at 15:59:19
19 Posted 26/04/2016 at 16:16:03
RIP and sympathy to families after a long struggle
20 Posted 26/04/2016 at 16:21:50
22 Posted 26/04/2016 at 16:27:23
How those families have lived through 27 years of torment I will never know - nothing but my respect for the agonies of those families involved and the courage they have shown.
I hope the criminal justice system now does the right thing and follow this through to the bitter end for those who have been found guilty of unlawful killing.
RIP - and I hope you can all now at least live in some peace at last.
23 Posted 26/04/2016 at 17:08:20
It was a massive fuck up by south yorks police and sheff wed who given they staged semi finals every year should've had it down to a fine art.
27 years justice at last.
24 Posted 26/04/2016 at 17:21:32
25 Posted 26/04/2016 at 17:38:39
I was eight years old when Hillsborough happened. I'm thirty five now.
Well it took forty five years to clear Derek Bentley so I guess we're making progress.
Twenty seven years to decide the fans had done nothing wrong and in the aftermath were the heroes. Twenty seven years to work out what I knew as an eight year old. The fans had done nothing wrong. They were the heroes of the day. There was no pissing on the dead, robbing of the dead, or sexual molestation of the dead and injured.
Twenty seven years to get to what an eight year old knew on the day. Is that good enough?
26 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:04:04
The acts and deeds of a few incompetent police and officials on the day cost the lives of 96 friends, family and loved ones. The subsequent recriminations led by press, politicians and police besmirched a city, its people and its standing in the world.
Today 96 people can rest in peace.
Today all those who lied, mislead, besmirched the fans, the people of Liverpool and the memories of loved ones there can be no peace. We will not forget who you are, we will not forget what you said and what you did.
We are Liverpool, We are Everton. We are one.
27 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:30:15
RIP the 96.
28 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:30:30
29 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:33:26
30 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:36:55
32 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:46:38
I hope these families can now find some peace and closure after so many years.
33 Posted 26/04/2016 at 18:59:04
Last few years have read and listened - the actions of police, media, even the designers, architects, surveyors, local authorities of the stadium, Clough and other "celebrities". Makes me absolutely ashamed of the human race. The FA should hang their heads. So so so sad.
Thank you to the families for their courage and fight and hopefully their love ones can now RIP.
34 Posted 26/04/2016 at 19:03:26
35 Posted 26/04/2016 at 19:13:54
Let us hope we will soon see real justice being done.
37 Posted 26/04/2016 at 19:21:49
I hope the people who lied, have their liberty taken away, and that's nothing I could ever say lightly.
The British Goverment, the master of the cover-up, have today been exposed, with the truth finally coming out in the end.
To the families I have nothing but respect, but for Thatcher and her aids, and David Duckingfield, the man responsible because of a catastrophic mistake, I have nothing but contempt.
Why did you cause so much more pain for everyone involved? YOU FUCKING HORRIBLE HEARTLESS BASTARDS.
38 Posted 26/04/2016 at 19:35:53
We believe that the UK is a free society. That such injustices will never happen. Tell that to the families in Aberfan, tell that to the young kids in care homes.
I give great tribute to the families, key figures and the city for standing behind that fight. Stereotypical cat calling and intimidation to hide the truth, it must never be allowed to happen again.
39 Posted 26/04/2016 at 19:37:50
Impossible also to imagine losing someone in such tragic circumstances, then hear of 'newspaper' articles concerned, not with the truth, but with reinforcing lazy stereotypes, completely invented by venal scumbags like Kelvin McKenzie in his arse-wipe poisonous comic.
The lives of the relatives and friends of the victims changed forever in 1989 and will never be the same, but I hope the decision today gives them something approaching relief.
I also hope there's is swift justice on the way for those accountable.
Thoughts with the families and friends of the victims.
43 Posted 26/04/2016 at 20:10:30
Mind you does anyone remember when we played Barnsley a couple of rounds before, yes Yorkshire. I remember we where getting crushed and then they opened the front gate pitch side behind the goal to relieve the crushing. we had to shout to get the gate open and let supporters move to another area. Does anyone remember?
44 Posted 26/04/2016 at 20:25:16
45 Posted 26/04/2016 at 20:34:03
Whilst I am extremely glad that those killed at Hillsborough will now get their justice and those responsible will get theirs, I would hope that the 39 people who died at Heysel will also eventually get theirs. They were also victims of treating football fans as animals
46 Posted 26/04/2016 at 20:50:20
Hopefully a lot of those sad families can get some peace of mind now, sadly their lives can never be the same.
Rest in peace the ninety six.
47 Posted 26/04/2016 at 20:55:56
I remember very well. It was so close to that fateful day and in hindsight, coupled with the fact it was Liverpool's city brethren compounds how chilling an experience it was. The crushing was painful and unbearable; my brother actually passed out despite my attempts to shield him (we had become lodged at the front of a barrier half way down). Somehow and with assistance from those around me, I made a pocket of space and pulled him above the crowd, who duly passed him overhead to the front along with many others in a similar state. After much berating, the Police (fortunately on this occasion) opened the gates to allow supporters onto the pitch perimeter and ease the pressure. I eventually was able to make my way forward and out onto the pitch to find my brother lined up against the fence in a sitting position alongside other traumatised fans although thankfully safe and okay. Others had dislocated ankles and were clearly in a traumatic state but fortunately all lived to tell the tale. I distinctly remember Big Nev being concerned and continuously looking to see what was going on. As you say, we all moved to other areas of the end behind the goal and proceeded us to watch us win 1-0 if I recall. Although, moving to the left hand side corner on the curve, had to subject dodging rocks being hurled by our South Yorkshire compatriots (improvised rocks - the were tearing up parts of the decaying terracing!!!).
Fortunately no one died. Sadly it was the 80s and poor grounds, shocking facilities, a stereotypical view that all football fans were animals and Scousers were scum contributed to this near miss being passed over as a normal day out and scarcely (if at all acknowledged). Institutionally, English football at the time was a disaster waiting to happen. Sadly it was simply a matter of time; we escaped on that day only for our cousins to suffer months later.
Apologies if I sound over the top - like you, it seems like an almost unspoken event that was chillingly close to something that changed the game forever.
Justice for the victims and their families today.
48 Posted 26/04/2016 at 21:13:25
I salute this verdict. All those years of pain. I could never ever imagine for one minute what it must be like to lose a daughter, son, husband, wife, etc, to a tragedy like this. To all those who suffered you are in our thoughts. Justice for the 96.
49 Posted 26/04/2016 at 21:20:16
Don't forget Brian Clough's lies and innuendos or Boris Johnson's tirade against our city. Bernard Ingham is another of this ilk.
51 Posted 26/04/2016 at 21:28:36
54 Posted 26/04/2016 at 21:47:48
This isn't justice yet. This is just clarity and a spotlight on behaviours which were scurrilous and fucking reprehensible.
People need nailing and locking up.
That would be justice.
Not holding my breath.
A fucking dreadful time in the history of our country.
55 Posted 26/04/2016 at 21:55:59
But maybe not.
Here's a very general question - what do you think people in Britain think of when they hear 'Leeds'?
Or if you want, you can swap Leeds for Lincoln (or Nottingham or Carlisle or Exeter..)
My guess is they don't think anything in particular.
Liverpool is different.
There aren't 'jokes' (told and understood nationally) about those other cities, based on poverty or thieving or the dole.
'So what's the harm, a few gags?'
The harm is it doesn't end with a few gags, in fact that's usually where problems start.
My genuine belief is that because we've had years of this 'robbing scousers' shite, we are treated differently.
And my guess is, because of the accumulative effect all that shite, policing (or certainly police attitudes) back then could have been different for the visit of Liverpool, than it might have been for the visit of a team from another part of the country.
Maybe in 89, many of Yorkshire's finest were thinking "Scousers? We'll show them who's hard."
What is beyond dispute is that the establishment's greatest single weapon has always been 'divide and conquer', basically making sure the proles don't see the trick because they're watching the sleight-of-hand.
56 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:00:42
I'm assuming we will pay tribute to the fight for justice at our match against Bournemouth.
57 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:01:19
Terrible that it has taken 27 years for the truth to finally be reached.
58 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:10:55
Then you think, as a kid, there will be a line drawn under a tragic time. But there wasn't. That was because of the media, the police and the government. We wouldn't still be talking about this, the relatives and friends of the deceased would have some sense of closure...years ago!
27 years. A lot of lies and a lot of facts ignored for at least two decades. It is disgusting.
Radio 5 Live just read out the names of the 96. It brought a tear to the eye. All those names. So many from Irish backgrounds or John Pauls and one with a middle name of Lennon.
People came out on the day saying the health and safety at the ground was negligible (no fibrillator in the ground) so why has it taken so long to sort it out?
Horrendous by the authorities. Peace to those who perished and their friends and family.
59 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:12:07
There' s an article in the Guardian which refers to just that point. I've sat in gatherings where just such optiionsn are aired. It's usually ignorant gobshites but in my limited experience it has been people with some sense of superiority or entitlement. Telegraph readers if I can use a lazy stereotype.
Self satisfied pricks.
The Guardian says something along the lines of ' it was encouraged to think about people who lived in Liverpool, a failing Northern city, were in some way different or 'other'
Or something like that
60 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:17:36
62 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:26:37
What has gone on in the last 27 years highlights just how f**ked up society (the establishment) actually is. That said, I am made up for the families, they must have gone through a hell I hope I will never have to experience.
63 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:34:33
See the way is (unbelievably) being paved for no convictions already though - if that is the outcome, I hope the families are still left with a feeling that justice was achieved.
I'm not from the city, but started visiting GP in the mid-80s - have wished for this day for a long time now... also that the "Scum" newspaper was run out of business too...
Still, a good day today.
64 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:35:10
God bless the families for all what they've been through.
65 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:38:46
It wasn't their fault.
JFT96 - COYB
66 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:50:29
67 Posted 26/04/2016 at 22:51:55
Sorry, but Heysel was also one of the most tragic events in European football in which Liverpool fans were directly and actively involved, which set English football back by decades; ironically Everton were the ones who suffered most. But we either have to ignore it or be called "bitter Blues" for mentioning it. Likewise, their defense of Suarez was downright embarrassing (the warm up t-shirt moment).
Probably the wrong night for it. Justice for the 96 - no other club has supported them more - but I will never refrain from my right to point out their inability to acknowledge their own hypocrisy. I reiterate, Justice for the 96 fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989. God Bless your memory.
69 Posted 26/04/2016 at 23:02:12
to the groan of delayed play announced, to worse, when sinking in on the coach back, to the raw emotion felt at the rocket at the end of the M62 and being hugged by both parents in Old Swan, to watching MoTD and listening to radio merseyside that night. surreal.
On top of that starting a work experience that week at HSBC Dale St. Ultimately, I will never forget. And neither should any Blue. But for the grace of... we could have been there. And I will never forget their first game back, against us, or the cup final... never forget the 96, reflections of me, you, us all... football fans...
70 Posted 26/04/2016 at 23:29:29
71 Posted 26/04/2016 at 23:31:47
I was at Villa Park that day. And long before our game had ended. The seeds of misinformation and pushing the blame on to the fans had already started.
I remember being told by someone who had a radio. That Liverpool fans had forced open the gate that Duckenfield eventually admitted 27 years on was opened by his orders.
72 Posted 26/04/2016 at 23:37:12
73 Posted 26/04/2016 at 23:59:59
At last there is an acceptance of blame laid else were other than at the hands of innocent fans.
74 Posted 27/04/2016 at 00:06:45
75 Posted 26/04/2016 at 00:11:28
Personally I think the Scouse accent is very unique. You can confuse a Blackburn accent for that of Yorkshire if you're from elsewhere in the country. You can confuse Geordie for Boro. Norfolk for Cornwall (I've heard people do it) but the Scousers are identifiable from being from one place only.
I am using the term Scouser (derived from Norwegian stew brought in through the Norwegian sailors in the dock) to avoid saying Liverpudlian. I'm second generation so I want to avoid offending anyone.
BUT - as a Southern born Blue, people cannot wait to get on Scousers with all the shit about stealing and benefits. Another failed ship building cities like Hull doesn't get the negative press Merseyside does.
The way the people of Liverpool were treated as third class citizens, pre-judged to be drunk or hooligans, that is utterly revolting when bodies were in the gym being used as a mortuary...and I hope people are now held accountable. Knowing our system, those pressed will suddenly develop senility etc but they can but try.
76 Posted 27/04/2016 at 00:32:03
77 Posted 27/04/2016 at 03:08:20
South Yorkshire police needed to call in a massive favour in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the machinations of the establishment and the Masonic lodge kicked isn't overdrive to perpetuate and spin a web of lies, corroborated by news international who had pfevioudly orchestrated the downfall of the printworks Union at Fleet Street.
Look no further than Margaret Thatchers then press secretary Bernard Ingham. Liverpool has been besmirched by a generation of lies and falsehoods, today delivers justice for the 96 and countless families destroyed by the lies and deceit peddled by the establishment. RIP.
78 Posted 27/04/2016 at 06:50:10
Not only did many of us have relatives, friends at Hillsborough that day in April 89 but for the sake of someone picking a different ball out of the hat it could have been our club, our fans involved. I stand square with Liverpool FC ( and God how I hate them otherwise!) - they've had the truth yesterday but now it's time for justice. Dukinfield and his senior officer should face a court for the lies and deception over the past 27 years together with the rest of those who have conspired to deliberately tarnish those who died and suffered. I know our club and fans will continue to do what we've done and maintain our support for the ongoing campaign.
79 Posted 27/04/2016 at 07:25:22
80 Posted 27/04/2016 at 09:35:46
81 Posted 27/04/2016 at 10:16:22
Well personally speaking, me neither - but only because I'm now old enough and ugly enough for it not to be able to really affect me.
But as I say, the accumulative effect of years of all that 'in your Liverpool slums' and 'they're all robbers' shite, actually will affect many Scousers and they will face discrimination (though for the most part, will probably have no idea it's happening).
I mean if it's down to you and the equally-qualified feller from Swindon for the job, my money would be on him, simply because the interviewer won't have (consciously or sub-consciously) absorbed 30 years of 'Swindon people are all robbing, violent, lazy bastards'
Being the butt of jokes isn't a problem, the problem is being the only butt, specially when the 'jokes' are simply used to offend and stereotype.
By the way, just for balance, I'm no Billy Butler - all that wallowing in scousey-scouseness and 'jeremembersugarbutties?' makes me want to heave and I'm more than aware of the negative side of the city.
82 Posted 27/04/2016 at 10:45:12
It is a stereotype we could do without. Things are getting better. The amount of people coming to Liverpool these days and are going home astounded by how vibrant and welcoming our city is, are growing. Its generally all positive from visitors. It will take a while to completely eradicate the grim portrait of the 70s and 80s but we shall get there. At the moment we are still a secret thats starting to spread quickly about how great Liverpool is.
83 Posted 27/04/2016 at 12:06:58
I don't dispute that Scousers have gained this type of unfair stereotyping (when is it ever fair?) but the Hillsborough situation wasn't the establishment versus Scousers, it was the establishment against something that threatened it. For the police it was easy to attack the credibility of Liverpool fans, not necessarily Scousers, because they were under a massive cloud from Heysel where they had been at least partly responsible for many deaths. What the establishment didn't take into account was the tenaciousness of the Liverpudlians in seeing that justice was eventually done despite the efforts of the establishment to corrupt the outcome. This is a massive plus for Liverpudlians and one that is being recognised everywhere in a very powerful and respectful way.
I'm from Liverpudlian parents with strong Liverpool family ties but not a scouser, I live down South now but was brought up in mid Cheshire in an area split with overflow from Manchester and Liverpool. As such I don't have the same sensitivity to criticism that you guys have.
My explanation as a non-scouser is that the stereotyping started in the 60's and 70's over Union militancy in the docks and car industry and eventually in its local government which almost caused the destruction of the city and its industrial base. It was about everybody working for the Corpie, the increased unemployment and crime rates and how exiled scousers became stereotypes in places like Skem and Winsford. Most of all the jokes were about the victimhood complex that scousers were seen to display over any issue and their seen to be irrational sensitivity. I know that these weren't true but it's all about perception.
I do believe that it's all changing now and this Hillsborough result will accelerate this massively as will the fantastic regeneration of the City since the time of the Garden festival. Liverpool should be praised to the rafters for how it's recovered from its bad times, there have been few examples of this outside of London. Liverpool is a great City with great people. Shame about the accent but you can't have everything :-)
My wife is Malaysian and she loves the times that we go to Liverpool from being asked can she spare 10p for a cup of tea to her laughing like a drain because she hadn't understood one word of some directions she'd been given but all so well natured. I may try to take her up to the match Saturday, she's never been but I know she'd love to go.
84 Posted 27/04/2016 at 12:28:44
Your remark about brummies & stokies & cocknies really is bang on.
Cocknies = "knees ap mavver brahn", jellied eels, a fetish for sewing buttons, racism
Stokies = "Clayheads" (their own term, being thick is seen as an enduring quality)....... erm that's it really
Brum = fuckall......... Englands second city and .......... Fuckall else. Belgiums most boring city would still be more interesting, hence there are no songs mocking brum, because in order to mock there would need to be something remarkable/interesting/unique. There isn't.
Then of course the underlying reason. Everton fans support the club, team & players, hence, our songs are about our club, team & players.
85 Posted 27/04/2016 at 12:40:09
Stop dawdling, man!
Take her to the bloody match, or are you using psychology? Deprivation creates desire?
87 Posted 27/04/2016 at 13:01:12
This stereotyping had a direct effect on the ease with which the police, government, press and coroner blamed the tragedy on a 'tanked up mob'. It encouraged the Sun to claim that Liverpool fans urinated on the police and stole from the dead. It explains the ease and speed with which the institutional cover up was implemented and why it has taken 27 years for the truth to come out.
I am glad that you wife enjoys coming to Liverpool by the way. She would hopefully have done so if she had visited in the eighties as well.
88 Posted 27/04/2016 at 13:14:21
Loathsome, odious scumbag.
And I hope they prosecute all of those in the police force involved as well.
(Somehow I think they'll squirm out of it unfortunately).
89 Posted 27/04/2016 at 21:44:17
90 Posted 27/04/2016 at 22:14:11
A big blue hug to all the families and everyone concerned in bringing this piece of history about. You are a real credit to yourselves and this wonderful city of ours.
I would like EFC to give the fans a chance to give a minutes applause before the game on Saturday, so we can all show our appreciation, to what has been a wonderful week.
Credit to Andy Burnham today too - wonderful speech in Parliamant.
As for our Prime Minister who said in 2011= the families were like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that wasn't there - his words yesterday were as hollow as always.
91 Posted 28/04/2016 at 01:05:45
1. They were fed those stories by the South Yorkshire police.
2. Several other newspapers repeated them.
Great coverage on Radio 5 this evening well worth a replay on iplayer if you missed it.
Just to show the media can get it right sometimes.
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