To its eternal credit the Harrogate Advertiser and its sister publications has covered the on-going developments surrounding the Hillsborough Disaster right from the start .
As previously reported a coach full of Liverpool supporters from around the District – Harrogate, Knaresborough , Ripon and outlying areas and beyond - attended that FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield on April 15, 1989. Those of us who attended have always known the truth of what happened on that dreadful day 27 years ago.
We have had to defend against allegations of the so-called bad behaviour of fans perpetrated by the lies and smears printed and put about by a certain national newspaper and establishment organisations.
Now the truth is finally confirmed, decided by a jury following the longest inquest in British history.
The fans played no part in the disaster unfolding at the Leppings Lane End. Many were actually heroic in their attempts to save lives.
Mistakes by South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service, defects in the Hillsborough Stadium, the absence of an up-to-date safety certificate and planning by Sheffield Wednesday FC caused or contributed to the disaster.
We now know that 96 supporters were unlawfully killed as a result; Liverpool supporters but this could so easily have been supporters of any club – Manchester United, City, Leeds, Chelsea, any club’s fans.
We offer our heartfelt congratulations and our continued support to the families of the 96 who have courageously battled for 27 years to achieve this week’s historic verdict. They have been completely vindicated and their dignity and resolve is a marvellous example to us all.
Some of us wept, as they did, on hearing the verdict.
The attention must now turn to accountability. There are two on-going criminal investigations underway: one into the disaster and one in to the shameful cover-up and smear campaign that followed. These should complete by the end of the year. We at the Harrogate and District Branch await the outcome of those investigations but for now, at last we do have the truth. Justice for the 96. YNWA.
For the committee and members (past and present) of the Liverpool FC Supporters Club , Harrogate and District Branch