“The full truth about Hillsborough would never have been known were it not for Phil Scraton’s meticulous efforts over many years – he has done a huge service not just to the Hillsborough families but to this country.”


For those who don’t know, this book examines how the 1989 FA cup final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest held at Hillsborough Football stadium turned into a nightmare crush which unlawfully killed 97 men, women and children, injured hundreds more and left thousands with a horrific legacy.

It’s about how the stadium was woefully inadequate for the purpose, how fears overs football hooliganism led to ordinary people being treated like caged animals and how the South Yorkshire Police created a lethal situation which they then cynically covered up.

Written by Professor Phil Scraton who was there on that horrible day, the book examines in excrutiating detail the circumstances leading up to the tragedy and the cover up afterwards. It describes how the SYP took charge of the narrative and, with the help of the tabloid press – The Sun in particular – smeared the Liverpool fans as violent, drunken yobs (including children under 12) who would desecrate the dead bodies of their fellow fans. The book details the 3-decade long struggle of the victims, their families and the City of Liverpool as a whole to get justice for those affected.

This is not just a book for football fans. It’s a book about accountability and how a body charged with protecting the public, if not properly scrutinised can end up colluding with the press to cover up a massively negligent and botched operation on their part. It’s a book about ordinary people fighting to clear their own and their relative’s names for daring to want to enjoy themselves on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re not incandescent with rage after reading it, you haven’t paid attention.


Reviewed by:

Debbie McCarthy

Added 11th October 2021

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Debbie McCarthy