Thursday, 16 April 2009


Last night, much to my joy as a Manchester United fan, I watched Ronaldo blast a rocket of a goal into the Porto net. It was probably the best distant shot I have ever seen from some 40 yards. Football, for that rare moment, will probably never get better. Last night, it didn't really matter.

Afterwards, I sat down to watch Hillsborough on TV and remembered the pain and injustice of that terrible day in Sheffield in 1989. That day, 96 innocent fans went out to watch a game of football and lost their lives. A good number were very young. Others were old.

Whenever I begin to feel the crush of the crowd during football or rugby games, I think of Hillsborough and remember the painful pictures of the day. On the whole, sporting crowds are innocent things. They are also full of human vulnerability. Those of us who attend and enjoy such events have to trust others who have built and now police stadiums.

We have to believe in the truth of their workmanship and believe that we are safe in their care.

Last night, watching TV after a football match I remembered the pain and anger of the parents and families who wanted a verdict of unlawful killing from the subsequent Hillsboroough inquest rather than the accidental death recorded at the time. In today's Independent I read that the Coroner at the time, Dr Stefan Popper, still believes that they did 'get to the truth of the matter'. That's not thew view of the parents who still crave for some sense of peace and an untold truth.

Whatever the brilliance of football last night, there were other things to think about - far more important things. I pray for peace and for truth.

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