By Lee Jaundrell 14/9/12
Since that fateful day in April 1989, I have tried many times to put my thoughts and feelings of that day in writing, but have been unable to. The emotions I have are hard to explain, but they have made it impossible for me to commit it to the written word. Even in conversations with friends and family I have struggled to talk about Hillsborough.
The 15th of April 1989 has shaped my life for over 23 years, for good and for bad. In those years I haven’t really known what I wanted. I have been asked several times during the years about what I was looking for from the campaign for justice, my reply would be generally along the lines of, “Who am I to judge how someone mourns a lost loved one? I want whatever the families of the 96 who died want. Whatever would give them closer, help them through the pain. If they want justice, I want justice.”
On Wednesday 12th September 2012, I was working a 12 hour shift, but followed the news coming from the HIP on the internet, twitter and television the best I could. I had to fight back my tears and emotions on numerous occasions, it was a hard day to struggle through, but I now know that it was the day I had been waiting for for 23 years. A cloud, for me, has been lifted. A weight which has burdened me for a long long time was gone. I feel cleansed.
I woke Thursday trying to explain to myself why this was. Deep down I have always known the truth, that a catalogue of errors, mistakes and bad management by the authorities had caused the disaster, but due to the police/media smear campaign I now realise that I had a small nagging doubt. Had I somehow also been part of the cause? Was I somehow partly responsible?
There were four of us who travelled to Hillsborough that day, two of us with tickets in the Leppings Lane end, one with a ticket for the stand, one without a ticket who had come for the day out and no intention of trying to get into the match, and we did what we did for dozens of away games in the past. We always got to the towns/cities early. It was all about the (away) day out, something different to the normal visits to Anfield. We wanted to see some of Sheffield, experience the pre match atmosphere in the city. We got to Sheffield around noon, we ate, visted a couple of pubs, laughed and joked with Liverpool and Forest fans. I was driving so didn’t drink, my friends did have a drink but nothing excessive. We got to the ground around 2.30pm, and got caught in the masses outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles. It was chaos. We got through the turnstiles, tickets intact, and entered the only visible entrance to the terraces.
What happened next is well documented, even more so after this week’s events. Then the smear campaign started. People believe what they see and read. If the first reports on the news and in the papers is that it was the fans fault, it sticks. There’s no smoke without fire. But it was all lies.
What I needed was for everyone to know the truth. There are no longer any doubts. Nothing nagging me.
The families who have fought for this are remarkable and amazing people and I thank them unreservedly. They have acted with a dignity far beyond which could be expected.
Although I have my closure, I now, more than anything, want the families to have theirs.
AFTER THE TRUTH COMES JUSTICE.
What has happened is much worse than an hit and run. At least with an hit and run you could argue the run was a spare of the moment action. The police smear campaign was far from that. It was a premeditated action to protect their own, and those responsible must feel the full force of this countries judicial system.
I can look forward to my future with a renewed optimism. My wife is expecting a baby next month, and we will be moving house soon. I can finally move on, hopefully the families can move on too, sooner rather than later.