Hillsborough disaster is one of the worst stadium events in the history of sport spectacles. 96 away supporters of Liverpool died in a stadium crush, as thousands rushed to enter the stadium for the match against Nottingham Forrest at the neutral Hillsborough grounds in Sheffield. A subsequent cover-up by the police and UK governments has prevented the families of the 96 and the rest of the football community from hearing the full truth of the day's events. In the aftermath, the incompetence of the police was masked by claims of football hooliganism, playing on the then Thatcher government's portrayal of football supporters as savages. Most notably The Sun of Rupert Murdoch ran the following head-lines four days later: "Some fans picked pockets of victims""Some fans urinated on the brave cops""Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life". Stories ran with the stereotypical drunken hooligan that had become villain number one of right-wing media in de-industrializing England.
In truth, it was the police who were slow to react to the obvious tragedy and emergency services were not initially provided, leading to a much greater loss of life. The incompetence of the police and their gross attitude against football supporters before and after the tragedy were concealed from the public eye for two decades, only last week have thousands of files been finally made public; a demand made for by the families of victims since the beginning. The now famous Taylor Report followed the tragedy, with the greatest emphasis and consequence being the redesign of football stadiums in the UK - most notably the recommendation for all-seater stadiums.
In Argentina, there is no stadium that is all-seater for league matches and many of the stadiums do not apply to international standards, let alone post-Hillsborough European standards. Popular-sections of standing-only can be packed, as was the case last Sunday in Newell's stadium in Rosario. There the small funnel like entrance and high-fenced pen has obvious potential for severe danger in case of a need for evacuation. What is potentially more dangerous however is the on-going relationship between police, hinchas, and the media. The popular portrayal outside of footballing circles of the savagery of in-stadium football supporters, coupled with the mistrust between police and hinchadas, is a potential spark necessary to legitimize in the moment a series of incompetent behaviours similar to what happened in Sheffield.
It is important for football supporters around the world to remember these events and struggle against the negative images promoted in the media. There are few rivalries as important historically as the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton. Thus when at kick-off of last Monday's match between Everton and Newcastle at Goodison Park, Everton's home stadium, this tribute was played to the Hillsborough victims to the standing ovation of the full stadium, we were all reminded in football there are some things more important than the rivalry on the field.
Everton tribute to the 96 who died at Hillsborough por emmysguysandgals