The atmosphere was heavy, Saturday evening, June 4, during the meeting of the Spirit of Shankly, a group of Liverpool supporters. A week after the chaos around the Stade de France during the Champions League final on May 28, consternation and anger prevailed. We also counted the injuries: a kitty was collected to help some of the fans who were injured on the spot and are off work.
“Above all, we were sad and tired of having to organize a meeting once again to deal with the same problems as in 1989”, sighs Ian Byrne, a deputy from Liverpool, a supporter before the Lord, who was himself present at the Stade de France. 1989: the year of the Hillsborough tragedy, when 97 Liverpool supporters died crushed against the stadium gates after the police mismanaged the organization of the crowd. A trauma for the club, because of the balance sheet, but also because of the false accusations that weighed against the supporters.
At the time, the British press and police started pointing fingers at them, making them look like hooligans. It took thirty-three years of mobilization to have the facts recognized and to obtain an apology from the authorities, in 2012, by the voice of the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
For Mr Byrne and Liverpool supporters, history – although less dramatic – is repeating itself. According to them, the accusations of Gérald Darmanin, who affirms without providing evidence that “30,000 to 40,000 British supporters showed up (…) without a ticket or with a fake ticket” are a gross lie. “The French government must apologize to the fans and to the Liverpool club for having implemented a strategy of defamation and lies”believes Mr. Byrne.
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After three decades of adversity in Hillsborough, the fans this time have no desire to let it go. “At the Spirit of Shankly meeting on Saturday, many said that the French authorities were attacking the wrong club, because we are now an organized, solid group, we have our history behind us”explains Peter Hooton, another member of the group, also present at the Stade de France. “In 1989, there were no social networks, organizations like the Spirit of Shankly did not existconfirms Mohan Randhawa, who was also in the final on May 28. Under the same circumstances, the French authorities might have been able to get away with their lies, but that will not be the case this time. »
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