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Posted on 19th November, 2011

They'll never walk alone:

the 96 Liverpool FC supporters who died at Hillsborough.


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Saturday 22nd was the first day of the latest London Midland Trains £10 'Great Escape' offer. I therefore took full advantage, by getting as far away from Milton Keynes (the town I live in unfortunately) that London Midland could take me. Liverpool that is, a city with a heritage, culture, spirit and soul that separates it from the bland and sterile town of Milton Keynes far more than physical distance ever could.


Wetherspoons' Picturedrome, Edge Hill, Liverpool. 22Oct 2011.


There were 2 other reasons why I chose Merseyside. Firstly, to get a set of 6 street portraits that I could consider submitting to The Guardian Camera Club monthly assignment. I'd already bagged 2 sets of pics so far in October, in the London districts of Clapham and Walthamstow / Leyton, and, I'm reasonably pleased with each. However, because I love this type of photography so much, I'm more than happy to grab any excuse to do more. Especially so, knowing the warm and welcoming Scouse nature.


So, the No 27 bus from Liverpool One Bus Station to Edge Hill it was, with the aim of snapping people as I walked towards the remaining target of my day out: Anfield Stadium. And that's what I did too, crossing paths with some real characters. These included a bloke with a strangely fatalistic outlook on life: he was on his way home from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital after dislocating his shoulder in a fit he'd had that morning, but treated it as if it was just one of those things. And then there were the slightly 'merry' females, proving again the benefits of booze, by conveniently falling out of a pub straight into my viewfinder.


I have to admit though, that I also 'fell' myself. But in the opposite direction thankfully, into Wetherspoons' Picturedrome pub that is, unable to resist the £0.99 / pint real ale on offer. But 'cheap' real ale wasn't the only plus point coming from this detour, as I also managed a decent shot of a couple of drinkers lit by wonderful light flooding in from the windows.


Anyway, I'd exceeded my quota of 6 (pics that is, not pints) by mid-afternoon. So mission No1 was accomplished well-before I reached Liverpool FC, and chuffed was I, as it meant I could fully concentrate on objective No 2. What I wanted in this case was an image I could submit to a competition called 'Faith Through a Lens', run by Congregational & General Insurance. Entries had to show faith in the community, and, I'd already shot one entry some weeks earlier that fitted a religious interpretation. So now I wanted a more-original take on the subject, and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign was just that. The campaign seeks justice for 96 Liverpool fans who died at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on 15th April 1989, and support transcends all borders and communities, even coming from Liverpool's biggest rival, Everton. It's pleasing to see that the dogged faith of the group over a 22 year period finally verges on success, with the Government recently agreeing to publish all cabinet papers. Although much work still remains, the truth hidden in those papers should at last help to bring closure to this community.


Well, I got my pic inside the campaign's office / shop opposite the Kop end of Anfield. Although it's not perfect, it does get the message across I feel, including a poster referencing the 96 deaths, and, a banner at the rear showing the names of all victims. The pic is called "They'll Never Walk Alone", and it will be viewable for a while at: Please let me know what you think, good or bad. But it's what the 4 judges think that really matters of course, so I'm pinning my hopes on that distinguished group. Co-incidentally, it includes one of my photographic heroes, Don McCullin, who will also present the awards. So, that is a prize I'd cherish, but do I have much faith in it happening?


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