Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kevin Sampson's Extra Time

All football fans have their own culture, their own stock of stories and their own memories. These drip through Kevin Sampson's Extra Time - A Season in the Life of a Football Fan, which has been lurking in my reading pile and I've just finished. His club is Liverpool.

First up, it's entertaining, honest, funny and really well written. You'd expect that from Kevin Sampson and I'm on record of liking the cut of his jib.

We've been reminded this week how much Hillsborough is etched on the psyche of Liverpool's loyal core of fans.
But reading a book that details the experiences of a group of fans through 1997 and 1998, I was struck by how little Hillsborough seems to feature in their thoughts and pub discussions. It was written 9 years after the tragedy and merits only a few scant paragraphs during the trip to watch the Reds at Sheffield Wednesday, where home supporters are wearing novelty hats produced by The Sun newspaper. On that observation the anger bursts through. The sense of injustice grows, then Jack Straw says there are no further grounds for an enquiry. But then no more. It simmers, one imagines, rather than boils over. I guess grief does that.

That we're only gripping the importance of justice now, 16 years later, is staggering.

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