Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) is no more ... This is the channel, along with the long departed Setanta USA, that allowed me to follow my beloved Reds for the last decade. Doomed by it's loss of the Barclays Premier League games to the rival NBC Sports Network; it has joined its' also recently demised brethren 'Speed Channel' as the victim of Fox's re-shuffling that includes their recently launched Fox Sports 1 Channel. We will miss you FSC. But thankfully not the games ... YNWA.
April 15th is a poignant and sad day for those who associate themselves with the City of Liverpool, whether they are Red or Blue at heart. April 15th is the anniversary of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster. For the relatives of the 96 Liverpool FC supporters who lost their lives it is a day of reflection and anger, anger at the years of disinformation and lies that blamed the victims for the failings of the Football Association, the incompetence of the South Yorkshire Police and the disinterest of the owners of Hillsborough in providing a safe facility. Only in the last year has the truth come to light after 25 years of never giving in to the injustices propagated by the Police, the Politicians and the Media in an ultimately failed attempt to deflect the blame and cover up the truth. Much of the disinformation was distasteful in the extreme, with survivors being accused of looting the bodies of the dead and worse. This and more was published in the infamous Sun newspaper as truth, and to this day the perpetrators have refused to fully acknowledge their complicity in the lies or offer any meaningful apology. Needless to say there are few if any who now read that rag on Merseyside ... Yesterday the following eyewitness account, written by a supporter who survived that day, came up on a message board I frequent: "24 years ago today, I was a 19-year-old lad, born and bred in Liverpool, the only Red in a family of Bluenoses, I had recently bought my first car. My first child was due in few weeks and I set off from Liverpool for Hillsborough, the FA Cup semi final against Nottingham Forest. I remember it was a beautiful sunny day, me and four good mates, driving across the Snake Pass, excitement in the car, at the prospect of the game to come. We had tickets for the Leppings Lane. We arrived early and we were in the central pen at the Leppings End. Before kick off, it became obvious something was wrong, I could not move, could not breathe, was gasping for breath. A stranger pulled me from the crush, saved my life. Still do not know to this day, who he was, I wish I did, wish I could thank him, tell him what I have done with my life, 24 years on from that fateful day. I was lucky to get out alive, 96 people, just like me, did not. To this day, my dreams haunt me, I cannot get the picture of fellow Reds, gaping for breath, crying out for their Mothers, dying next to me. Justice has still not been served, last year the truth at last came out, maybe at last, we will get justice. It is very apt, that the 1 person who could have spared the families and loved ones of the 96' the last 24 years of pain and hurt, died last week, God help me, but may the Iron Lady rot in hell, she knew and approved of the cover up. Today, my fellow Liverpool brothers and sisters, let us remember the 96' who were not as fortunate as me, they will never be forgotten and they will never walk alone. I got to see my daughter born, 8th May 1989', less than a month after the tragedy and since then, another daughter and a son, who make me very proud. I thank God every day for the blessings I have received and for saving me that day. I have never spoken of my experience until today, somehow, it now feels like the right time and the right forum. I hope we will at last see justice for the 96 and their loved ones and maybe, finally, my nightmares will go away. I have to close now, I am crying and cannot see the words I write, first time in 24 years, I have cried. God bless the 96, may you Rest in Peace and you will never, ever, ever walk alone." This week will mark the funeral of "The Iron Lady", many in Liverpool will turn their eyes and thoughts away from this event. Liverpool is a traditionally a 'blue collar' city and in those dark and turbulent days of the eighties the Liverpool City Council was essentially communist, and as opposed to the Tory Government of Margaret Thatcher as any city could ever be. In turn her enmity toward the city was well-known and, whether it is true or not, many in Liverpool choose to believe that Thatcher knew about, and condoned, the cover-up and lies that were told about Hillsborough. There will be scant morning on much of Merseyside ... For 50 years the supporters of LFC have used the Rogers and Hammerstein song "You'll Never Walk Alone" (YNWA), as popularized in the early sixties by Gerry Marsden (of Gerry and the Pacemakers fame), as their (our) theme. Sung before and during every game it is iconic, known and justifiably famous the world over, even featuring as part of a 'Pink Floyd' song on the album 'Meddle'. But, on April 15th of all days, the lyrics are especially appropriate: When you walk through a storm hold your head up high, And don't be afraid of the dark, At the end of the storm there's a golden sky, And the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind, Walk on through the rain, Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown, Walk on, walk on, With hope in your heart, And you'll never walk alone, You'll never walk alone. Justice for the 96. YNWA
Seven is a propitious number, here are 7 who wore the number 7 for Liverpool FC. Billy Liddell Ian Callaghan Kevin Keegan Kenny Dalglish Peter Beardsley Steve McNanaman Luis Suarez Seven men though brothers not, excite the Kopite hoard. Everyone a star ...
As I write this it's New Year's eve, and about to be 2013, the year the Mayan's (not!) said would never come; I'm glad I avoided falling off the end of the world or perishing in some major astrophysical cataclysm. Truth be told if they had been right I would have been severely 'upset' for the world to end before the Seven arrived. I may still fall off the fiscal cliff but I'll be in good company and then it will be open season on politicians, about time too ... So, in the spirit of new beginnings, new year's resolutions etc., here are some of my predictions for 2013: The Seven will finally be delivered, despite the continued silence from Leafield. The fiscal cliff will turn into the fiscal ditch. Texas will vote 'no' to secession from the Union, but it will be close. The UK will vote 'no' to secession from the EU, but it will be close. Scotland will vote 'no' to secession from the UK when they realize they will have to fund their own social benefits. Despite huge efforts gun control will once again sink on the rock of the NRA. Rangers will win the Scottish third division. Liverpool will not win the Barclay's Premier League. Have a wonderful 2013.