today is the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. For the 18th time a commemorative service will be held at Anfield this afternoon in honour of the 96 fans who died as a result of bad policing and stewarding, and bad stadium management both fundamentally grounded in an attitude of contempt towards ordinary matchgoing fans.
The Hillsborough Justice Campaign continue, rightly, to work for the victims, for the bereaved, for the injured and traumatised survivors. There is currently an online petition to the government calling for a full public enquiry which UK residents can sign here, if interested. Liverpool's own website has a well-constructed online memorial (and also, to its credit, doesn't shy away from a memorial page on Heysel).
It's an occasion which requires solidarity from all fans of all clubs, frankly, as demonstrated recently both by Celtic fans (see Martino's post here) or by Man City, who before their 0-0 draw with Liverpool yesterday lowered all their flags to half mast while Joey Barton (scouse by birth) laid a wreath in front of the travelling fans. It affects all of us regardless of club or country affiliation and deserves to be remembered accordingly.
Hillsborough and the Taylor report which followed the initial enquiry are often in my mind here in Italy since I seriously wonder whether anyone in charge of stadium safety here has ever read it, or even its recommendations. Key amongst its recommendations was the abolition of fences separating fnas from the pitch, which however continue to be in place at Italian stadia. The Taylor report was also behind the decision to convert all English grounds into all-seater stadia, though it pointed out that standing was not 'inherently unsafe' merely dangerous when badly managed. Recommendations on policing and stewarding were vital in securing crowd safety, and almost every game I go to here I look at the way it's managed and wonder whether something like Hillsborough is going to happen here one day. I trust not, since the very least that can be done ofr the memory of the 96 who died is to ensure that nothing of the kind ever happens again.