1989, when it all changed
That era, the 80s, distorting the truth to protect themselves (the police, politicians, news agencies) all deflecting to aid their own agenda and callously avoiding responsibility - it was easy to do. For all of them, not a seconds thought to dissociate and detach blame. Our culture, within football and outside of it has changed. Almost unrecognisable in comparison. But then so much has in the past twenty years.
On the day its self, there was competence, lack of awareness and respect. No planning or organisation. No contingency. Just a blag and panic that led to chaos. How exactly were grounds inspected back then I don't know and hate to guess. You'd think having a clear understanding of what constitutes safety and what is potentially dangerous and life threatening would be imperative to having a handle on things. Then again, football fans were profiled mostly as trouble makers, cattle on the day. Get 'em in, get 'em out.
The police with their panic caused chaos. Crowd control in the way of rushing and searching blindly for a quick fix over actual crowd safety, even at the cost of fans not getting into the ground. The police had no clear idea of how to police it. The catalyst was devastating human error followed by further mistakes then compounded by conspiracy and cover ups by people in power with power to draft an untruth that was perpetuated by the tabloids.
It's staggering just how much manipulation was had. Football has become a safer environment since but again you have to ask why there was such a dismissive attitude towards that potential for disaster. Leppings Lane was notorious for over crowding. As witnessed in 1981 when Spurs played Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final. Thirty eight injured, hundreds climbing over the fencing and sitting on the pitch perimeter. Negligence cost the lives lost at Hillsborough in 1989. Could have been any club, any set of fans. Could have happened to us in 81.
Also, on the subject of one particular tabloid, I think (for very obvious reasons) they are the very public face of the perpetuated lie. They were used as a tool to aid the cover up and asked no questions because all they wanted to do is sell newspapers. Best they are just ignored. Different era, different people involved. If the government wanted to turn a blind eye than a Tory publication was always going to appease them. Make the ones at the heart of the lie accountable and bring them to justice. If there's any of them left.
Sadly, corruption is one human trait we'll never see the back of. It will continue to happen but perhaps, in football terms, it will never have the impact and repercussions that day in 1989 had. Football changed because of it. Shame the authorties perception of football fans didn't change earlier, long before that day.