...and moreover, proud of my Merseyside roots.
This week has been emotional. It's been a week that we've waited 23 long years for.
It's one of those occasions which is imprinted on the mind forever. 'What was I doing on that day?'
Those of us who are old enough remember exactly what we were doing on April 15th, 1989, will never forget it.
I was a teenager at the time. I'd spent my Saturday as I always did. In town, with friends, buying records, talking about boys...
I remember coming home that afternoon and seeing my parents glued to the TV screen.
'Something terrible is happening' my mum said, her eyes red.
My dad was pacing up and down.
The commentator was confused. 'It seems there's a huge problem at the Liverpool end of the pitch. There are fans spilling onto the pitch, and some of them seem worse for wear.'
I remember watching the drama unfold. We could see fans from both ends ripping advertising hoardings from the side of the pitch to use as makeshift stretchers. It was chaos.
Only later did we realise the full extent of what happened that day. 95 fans dead on the day, another the following year, and over 400 injured. It was horrific.
We all know what followed, it's been well documented. Liverpool fans vilified by the tabloid press and blamed for causing the disaster by turning up drunk or without tickets. The blame was laid solely at the door of the fans. Despite the witness statements from those who were there on the day, nobody was held accountable for the deaths, except those who died, and their fellow LFC supporters.
The families of those who died have campaigned tirelessly, and fearlessly since that day, in order to set the record straight. They have been met with hurdles and blockades from the highest levels of Government, yet they kept on, steadfast in the belief that the truth will ALWAYS come out.
The ground was KNOWN to be unsafe
The gate was opened allowing fans to spill into ONE pen, when three were available
The fact that ambulance crews were forbidden from accessing the ground
The infamous (and totally ludicrous) 3.15pm cut off point
The smearing of the fans by the police
The deliberate altering of statements
Thank you to all those who have campaigned to uncover the REAL truth.
I salute them all, and I salute the people of Liverpool, Merseyside, and beyond for never giving up.
I was told on a forum this week that the pain felt by people at the loss of the 96 is 'cheap emotion'.
When I questioned this, I was informed that the 96 are 'martyrs' and this person couldn't understand how dead people could be 'turned into heroes'. That people should 'comfort the living, and move on'.
This kind of attitude fills me only with rage. Thank goodness the majority of us are able to reason and are not so blinkered and bigoted in our views.
I have been heartened and moved by the resolve of the British public this week. The ones who have REAL feelings, and truly understand what happened on that fateful day.
I'm proud of the empathy shown by the British public. And I'm proud to be a Merseysider. This week has finally brought out the truth which we all knew for years. The Liverpool fans were NOT to blame for what happened. The Police and Authorities (yes, right up to the top) were involved in a most despicable and deplorable cover up.
The media (most notably, the Sun newspaper) were party to this appalling and shameful act.
What we have witnessed this week is the result of resolve and resolute belief.
It's not about 'revenge' or 'finger pointing'. It may have taken 23 years, but the truth came out, and now, finally, the families of those 96 innocents may be able to turn a corner.
How dare anybody say they should have 'let it go'?
And today, we see our LFC anthem back at number one in the charts.
The British people have spoken. They have collectively united to download this most emotional peace of music and propel it to number one in the charts. Whether from Liverpool, Manchester, the Midlands or the South. This is the true spirit of football, and this means so much to us ALL.
I hope the British establishment is listening.........because this is just the beginning.....
Oh, and in case you don't know the TRUTH....
PS. To Dad. I miss you xxx