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I don’t normally stray from writing about search marketing on this blog, but there are other things in my life.  One of those, since I grew up in Liverpool in the 70’s and 80’s has been my love for Liverpool FC.

On 15th April, 1989, following a breakdown in command by South Yorkshire police, and a catastrophic chain of planning mistakes and poor stadium design, 96 Liverpool fans from around the UK were crushed to death by sheer weight of numbers, in a disaster similar to those at the Roskilde music festival in June, 2000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roskilde_Festival) and the Love Parade in Germany in July 2010 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Parade_disaster).

Why bring this up now, 21 years after the event? Well, feeling still runs high among Liverpool fans that there is no sense of justice for the families of the dead.  Despite a general acceptance among most people in the UK that the disaster was the result of a collection of mistakes by those in charge of the safety of fans on the day (http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2006/12/07/local_history_hillsborough_feature.shtml), there is still resentment that some quarters of the press, through sensationalist journalism at the time, reported that fans were responsible for the disaster – claims subsequently retracted by most of the offending press.

The official enquiry into the disaster exonerated fans from blame, and highlighted several failure in command by the police, and issues with the design of stadiums and the general treatment of football fans by organising authorities.  It is because of this report that all UK top league stadia are all-seater now, for example.

Therefore, to read reporters in section of the press in the United States describe the Hillsborough disaster as a “riot” is not only disrespectful and ignorant, it is also distressing. Barely a family on Merseyside didn’t lose a brother or sister or friend at Hillsborough.  Describing Hillsborough as a riot would be like describing Hurricane Katrina as a riot – not only patently untrue, but indescribably upsetting to the families of the victims.

Therefore, I would suggest that Alex Beam of the Boston Globe does a little research into the subject matter of his articles before writing such ill-informed nonsense in the future. If he has the sense to do so, maybe he will consider retracting some of the nonsense he has written at http://www.boston.com/sports/soccer/articles/2010/12/07/alex_beam_hardball_in_liverpool/ and perhaps even consider a donation to the families support group.

To read more about the history of the Hillsborough Disaster, search Google, or try these handy links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster

http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2006/12/07/local_history_hillsborough_feature.shtml

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5PCrbRl3DI

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/15/newsid_2491000/2491195.stm

http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/archive/The-Hillsborough-disaster-The-darkest-day-in-British-football-history-article392289.html

http://www.epltalk.com/the-truth-about-the-hillsborough-disaster/491

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/picturegalleries/5145204/Hillsborough-disaster-Two-decades-of-hurt.html

http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/history/hillsborough

UPDATE: A few hours after the Boston Globe Article was brought to my attention, Globe editors appended the following to their article:

“Correction: Because of a reporting error, Alex Beam’s column on Tuesday in the “g” section mischaracterized the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster involving Liverpool soccer fans as a “riot.” The official investigation into the disaster, which cost 96 lives, placed the blame primarily on poor crowd control and inadequate stadium design.”

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