PRIME MINISTER: THE TRUTH ABOUT REDS FANS
Paul Rogers 13 April 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has spoken exclusively to LFC TV about his admiration for the 'magnificent' Liverpool fans who fought to save lives at Hillsborough and claimed those who attempted to blame them for the disaster had been proven wrong.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's anniversary of Britain's worst ever sporting disaster, the Prime Minister, a Raith Rovers supporter, was determined to let the city of Liverpool know that 20 years on, the country remains right behind the families who lost loved ones at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989, insisting:
The behaviour of fans was magnificent
Those who blamed fans were wrong
We can never forget the 96 people who died
Families deserve Freedom of the City
In obvious reference to one particular newspaper's disgraceful and now infamous front page attack on Liverpool supporters just four days after the disaster, Brown made a point of twice chastising those who tried to blame the very people who were doing most to save lives on the day.
"People will never forget that day; it's etched on our memories," Mr Brown told LFC TV, in an exclusive interview to be screened for the first time at 9pm tonight during a special edition of 'This is Anfield'. "I remember just hearing half hour by half hour the news as it came across from the Hillsborough stadium. It was then that I started to realise what a major disaster that this was. I also remember how the Liverpool fans helped each other, coming to the aid of people who were in difficulty and trying to rescue fellow fans - both young and old. I don't think we can ever forget the 96 people who died.
"I think that the families, in trying to cope with this disaster, have had the support of all decent minded people across the country. I think that's probably what matters most: that people understood that the behaviour of Liverpool fans in helping each other was, as I think the judge said, 'Magnificent'; that it was wrong for people to blame, as some did, Liverpool fans on that day and it's right that the Freedom of the City has been given to the families of Liverpool fans on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of this disaster."
When questioned on what he thought the legacy of the disaster was, Mr Brown again reiterated his point about how the actions of Liverpool supporters on the day were not just heroic but totally at odds with how they were portrayed in certain sections of the media following the disaster.
"I think people have learned first of all not to rush to instant judgements and some of the people who did rush to instant judgements have been proven wrong and that's why the Liverpool people are so respected throughout the country," he said. "The work that they did to help each other on that day and subsequent events when people had to help each other through the difficult times is something that will never be forgotten."
When quizzed in the interview to be shown later tonight on whether he thought there was a still a legal route open to the families in their continued search for justice or whether even an apology would go some way to help ease the pain and suffering of those who lost loved ones that day, the Prime Minister refused to be drawn, preferring instead to repeat his praise for the fans and the families who've acted in such a dignified way over the past 20 years.
"I feel that the best thing that we can do," claimed Mr Brown, "is say that the memories of these fans who died will always be in our minds, that the country understands the difficulties that people have gone through and that there is huge public support and affection for the families that have had to suffer so much. Let's never forget the fans that cruelly lost their lives on a day when we know the people of Liverpool were trying, if they were in that ground, to help each other and that's the spirit of Liverpool."
You can watch the full interview with Gordon Brown on LFC TV's 'This is Anfield' show at 9pm - Sky Channel 434, Virgin Media Channel 544 and online on www.liverpoolfc.tv.
Edited by dorgie, 13 April 2009 - 10:11 am.