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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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A tribute to basic humanity

CARLISLE United’s connecting thread to the tragedy of April 15, 1989 is that Liverpool began their fateful FA Cup run with a 3-0 victory at Brunton Park before the hell of Hillsborough unfolded three months later.

A boy’s first experience of stadium football is one of life’s everlasting thrills. Mine was to watch John Barnes, Steve McMahon, John Aldridge and friends lowering their talents into Carlisle’s ground for one winter’s afternoon before soaring off again.

Liverpool supporters had this as a weekly privilege during that era and it’s plainly possible that some of the fans who travelled to Cumbria that January bore witness to, were hurt by or even perished in the Leppings Lane End crush during the semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Twenty-two years on, there are no moral reasons for the Government to continue its opposition to the full disclosure of documents relating to the disaster.

Belatedly, and with the pressure of a well-publicised online petition, the files are now to be thrown open, giving bereaved families the chance of some clarity on the afternoon their loved ones joined that haunting figure of 96.

It is the right outcome and a tribute to a campaign which is not just about football but basic humanity.

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