Few Wednesday fans will have missed the renewed focus on our home over the last few days as the release of previously-secret documents from the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 shed new light on an issue that has cast a shadow over football for 23 years.
What the new documents clearly show is that there was collusion, corruption and covering-up at the highest levels of the most important institutions in our country - those tasked with protecting and serving us as citizens. It's clear that individuals and organisations should be brought to account for those actions - and I'm sure that will follow.
While it's still painful for us as Owls to be forever connected with the events of that day, it's important that we follow the example of our club this week, which apologised unreservedly for the actions of those in charge of SWFC at the time - and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow fans in Liverpool. Admitting that our ground's design contributed to the causes of the tragedy is not something we should be scared to do.
Yes, Hillsborough was an unsafe stadium in 1989. ALL stadia were. For a government and a police force that regarded football fans as lower than animals, to be herded and caged, crowd safety came far behind crowd control in the thoughts of how to handle football matches - and from Newcastle to Torquay, from Norwich to Wrexham, we took our lives into our hands countless times even entering those penned terraces. And we as fans must take some responsibility for that state of affairs - because for a generation we chose the buzz of tribalism over a common cry for better treatment. Thankfully football has changed and we will never see those days again.
The Hillsborough Disaster could have happened at any large stadium, at any large match, to fans of any large club. It could have been us.
We've all got friends or relatives who tell stories of Liverpool fans drinking, or Liverpool fans without tickets, or Liverpool fans arriving far too late to the match. But not only did ALL clubs' fans do exactly the same things (and let's be honest - sometimes still do), but fans arriving at 3pm had no bearing on the tragedy, which was claiming victims from half-past-two on that fateful day. It is clear from the released documents that massive, tragic mistakes were made - but the anger on the Mersey and around the world comes from the concerted attempts to cover up those mistakes and to push the blame for the deaths of 96 people onto their fellow fans. Fans - in red shirts and red scarves maybe - but fans like us.
So be angry. Be hurt that our club and our stadium will always have that shadow cast over it. But make sure that hurt and anger is directed at those who not only allowed it to happen but did everything they could to ensure that it was we as football fans who took the blame.
We at Wednesdayite walk with the 96, with their families and friends, and with every other football supporter who has been affected by the events of April 1989.
Up The Owls.
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