The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground: Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough

Sixer now …
as was, albeit a frw years back on a Ferryhill school trip to Paris

Mr Sixsmith – Pete or Sixer to most – has sternly corrected Monsieur Salut. The series is not to be passed off as The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team regardless of context; it’s Ground if we’re playing them away, Team if it’s at the Stadium of Light. So this latest edition is TFTEISYG and emphatically not TFTEISYT. Fine writers, eh? So precious.

But Sixer can be excused all preciousness. This is a wonderful series that cries out for a proper publisher (anyone listening out there?). And once aain he packs history, humour and personal reminiscence to come up with a winner …


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Sutton United – What price integrity? What price your soul?

John McCormick: We're not bottom, so is it a Happy Christmas?
John McCormick: it has to be said

On a weekend off, if it’s too soon to do a relegation review (which it is), I’d normally take a trip around the Northwest and bring you up to date with the tribulations of clubs such as Blackpool, Bolton, Blackburn and even some who don’t begin with B – Morecambe being the most recent.

And that was my intention until I read earlier today that Green Go Waste won’t be making an appearance on Monday’s TV.

I don’t know who they are, I don’t know exactly what they do, but I do know who their replacement is, and I don’t like them, not one bit.

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Hillsborough (2): a Sunderland fan in Leppings Lane End as disaster struck

Mick Goulding and son
Mick Goulding and son

We have already heard from Pete Sixsmith how the official approach to football supporters that was reflected when 96 people died at Hillsborough also threatened people attending at a Sunderland game, and how it nearly ended his own teaching career. Now, also discussing the historical context in which the tragedy was handled, Michael Goulding, lifelong Sunderland fan and occasional contributor to these pages, looks back on a day that affected all of us in different ways but especially those who, like him, were there …

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We buy newspapers but we don’t buy The Sun

John McCormick, who – as many readers will know – lives in Liverpool, writes: Vince commented recently that The Sun now calls SAFC “Derland” after SAFC banned them from football-related briefings. The question I would ask is why is it doing this? It’s a stupid activity that does no one any good, least of all The Sun itself, and it is being done at just the wrong time …

This is the newspaper,
and I use that term though others might not, that behaved disgracefully towards Liverpool supporters, indeed the whole city, 25 years ago. On the day Sunderland played West Ham the Hillsborough inquests reopened and, I’m sure, provided many Liverpudlians with a reminder of just how wrong The Sun got it.

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Salut’s Week: Hillsborough reflections, the McClean tweet and preparing for Liverpool

Jake captures the theme

Much space at Salut! Sunderland has been devoted this week to articles that I am proud to have published on this site but wish had never been written. Naturally, I refer to the impassioned, decent and – yes – angry pieces written by individual Sunderland supporters with voices worth hearing on the Hillsborough disaster and this week’s shamefully late official exoneration of the Liverpool fans who were cynically blamed for its occurrence.

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Hillsborough and a Sunderland view from Liverpool: no ‘sense of jubilation’

The memorial garden at Sudley House; Liverpool

John McCormick, the third Sunderland supporter to collect his thoughts and write on these pages about the agonisingly late recognition of Hillsborough truths, has a special reason to care enough to say what he thinks. Liverpool his adopted city, his children’s birthplace and the place from which friends and colleagues set off that day in 1989 to watch a game of football in Sheffield …

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Hillsborough: truths that were always known, a victory that remains bitter-sweet

Scarves and flags at the Hillsborough memorial, AnfieldImage: Ben Sutherland

In his moving words here yesterday on the long-delayed vindication of Liverpool supporters caught in the horror of Hillsborough 1989, Jeremy Robson mentioned being at one non-Sunderland game that afternoon as news of the disaster spread and thinking instantly of a close friend who was another, the Liverpool-Notts Forest FA Cup semi-final. That friend was Mick Goulding and this, reproduced with his consent from the Blackcats email list, is how Mick recalls an avoidable tragedy and the systematic distortion of the reasons it occurred …

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The Robson Report: Hillsborough guilt and shame and glimmers of human compassion

Jeremy recalls that awful afternoon of 23 years ago and welcomes a belated form of justice

The Hillsborough report has shocked all who have an ounce of compassion and care about decency in public life. Some messengers – notably The Sun – also bear culpability and Kelvin MacKenzie’s ‘profuse apologies’ now do not wash. But always remember it was the public services, or champions of those working within them, that created the message and ensured it was disseminated, focusing blame for 96 deaths – nearly half of them, perhaps, avoidable in any case – on entirely the wrong people. Jeremy Robson has his say; it is a painful but necessary read …

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