Senin, 17 September 2012

Bosses react to Hillsborough news

Former Liverpool assistant manager Steve Clarke paid tribute to the families of the 96 fans who died at the Hillsborough disaster after their 23-year fight for justice finally uncovered the truth on Thursday.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel revealed in a 396-page document that a police cover-up had taken place which had intended to shift blame for the events at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest onto the victims themselves.

Clarke, now the West Brom manager, was at Liverpool between 2011 and 2012 and said he had been struck by the emotion of the cause during his time at Anfield.

"The biggest thing is it vindicates the families," Clarke said. "The families have chased this verdict for a long time.

They are the ones who have suffered when you think 96 people went to a football match and didn't come home. There is something deeply wrong with that.

"For the families to have to chase the verdict they have finally got fo r 23 years, it vindicates the way they have conducted themselves, the way they have conducted themselves, the way they have channelled their anger if you like into getting this verdict in the right way.

"In my time at Liverpool I went to two of the memorial services which are obviously very emotional occasions and you could feel the sense of injustice that was there.

"The biggest over-riding memory for me out of the services is when someone actually reads out the names of the 96 people and how long it takes. That shows the scale of the human cost."

Former Forest midfielder Martin O'Neill, whose Sunderland side face Liverpool on Saturday evening, said: "It's been going on for so, so long, but it is total vindication for those Liverpool people who felt this was worthy, to fight this all the way.

"They always felt they had been maligned greatly and it has worked for them.

"I think everyone is in total agreement that it's a total vindication of their thoughts and their viewpoints at the time, and they must draw some sort of comfort from this, even though 96 people still lost their lives.

"In many aspects, it's rather late, but if there is such a thing as a victory for them, it is that.

"It doesn't bring people back, of course, but they have been totally and utterly vindicated."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said the deaths were not only a tragedy for Liverpool as a club and a city, but for the whole of football.

"I know sometimes you see things that are away from your football club, but you feel part of it. I think it affects the whole football family.

"In many ways, it's a moment where a bit of truth allows you to have a bit of closure. All of our feelings and sympathies goes to the families of the 96 people."

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was happy to see the truth emerge, and is grateful for how far the game has come since the disaster.

"It is sad to hear that suc h a thing that happened at Hillsborough had been covered up for so long but absolutely delighted now for those people that suffered that the truth has finally come out," he said.

"I think safety in football had been taken on by every single football club from there on in and football grounds now are as safe as they possibly can be and I don't think they can be any safer.

"Unlike a lot of clubs abroad who still have lots of hooligan problems we appear not to have any of that type of problem in the grounds anymore so I think from that sad day there have been massive strides made in terms of looking after people's safety."

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins said: "A lot of people have been affected by this situation - I know from my own point of view my brother was actually in the stadium that day."

Norwich boss Chris Hughton applauded the families' persistence in pursuing their case.

"They need to take massive credit," he said. "When we consider i t has taken 23 years it is an awful lot of campaigning and knocking on doors. It takes an awful lot of patience and resilience to do that and they need to be applauded."

He also praised the developments in fan safety since that time.

"It is unrecognisable," he said. "Look at the safety procedures in place at stadia. The magnificent stadia that we do have. I suppose in some way that was a result of this incident and we in the football world have benefited from it where others haven't. The regulations we now have in place are top class."

Ipswich manager Paul Jewell, a boyhood Liverpool fan, was playing for Bradford on the day of the tragedy.

"I was playing for Bradford, ironically against Ipswich that day in a 2-2 draw at Valley Parade," he said. "As I came off the pitch, Peter Jackson [team-mate] said to me that there were people feared dead at the Liverpool game.

"I watched the scenes from the players' lounge and it was surreal what was goi ng on at a football match. They were devastating scenes and it just left you feeling empty.

"I was there with my wife Ann-Marie. She's from Liverpool as well and was pregnant at the time. We just sat there in silence watching what was going on.

"It was very raw to the people of Bradford as well because only a few years earlier they had the tragedy of the fire at the stadium. It brought back some devastating memories for people at the club.

"I later found out that one of the lads I grew up with in Liverpool died at Hillsborough. It was a tragic, horrible, horrible day."

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