World of Sport

Quotes of the week: ‘He’s a low life.. A clever low life, but a low life’

World of Sport

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Tributes are seen on the gates at Anfield

Trevor Hicks, the chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, addressed Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of The Sun newspaper at the time, after his apology had been made.

"It is too little, too late. He's a low-life. A clever low-life... but a low-life."

Hicks, who lost two daughters at Hillsborough, said that the group would pursue legal action.

"If I come back to David Cameron's statement [to MPs], he said quite categorically that the state had let us down. So we will give the state the opportunity to put that right. But if it looks as though they're not going to do that, then we will do as we've done before and we'll take it out of their hands. There were two disasters at Hillsborough - one on the day and one afterwards: there was a contrived, manipulated, vengeful and spiteful attempt to divert the blame."

Profuse apologies and humble pie

Former editor of The Sun, MacKenzie, eventually came up with his apology.

"Today I offer my profuse apologies to the people of Liverpool for that headline. I too was totally misled. Twenty three ago I was handed a piece of copy from a reputable news agency in Sheffield in which a senior police officer and a senior local MP were making serious allegations against fans in the stadium. I had absolutely no reason to believe that these authority figures would lie and deceive over such a disaster.

"As the Prime Minister has made clear these allegations were wholly untrue and were part of a concerted plot by police officers to discredit the supporters thereby shifting the blame for the tragedy from themselves. It has taken more than two decades, 400,000 documents and a two-year inquiry to discover to my horror that it would have been far more accurate had I written the headline The Lies rather than The Truth. I published in good faith and I am sorry that it was so wrong."

Prime Minister David Cameron issued an apology for the "double injustice suffered by the families of the victims.

"What happened that day - and since - was wrong. It is right for me as Prime Minister to make a proper apology. There are no grey areas. Today's report is black and white. The Liverpool fans were not to blame for the disaster."

FA chairman David Bernstein has offered a "full and unreserved apology" following the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

"We are deeply sorry this tragedy occurred at a venue the FA selected. The fixture was played in the FA's own competition, and on behalf of the Football Association I offer a full and unreserved apology and express sincere condolences to all of the families of those who lost their lives and to everyone connected with the city of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club.

"This should never have happened. Nobody should lose their lives when setting out to attend a football match and it is a matter of extreme regret and sadness that it has taken so long for these findings to be published and the truth to be told."

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An apologetic Boris Johnson

London mayor Boris Johnson said he was "very, very sorry" for a 2004 Spectator article about the disaster.

"I'm very, very glad that this (Hillsborough) report does lay to rest the false allegation that was made at the time about the behaviour of those fans. I was very, very sorry in 2004 that the Spectator did carry an editorial that partially repeated those allegations, I apologised then and I apologise now. I do hope the families of the 96 victims will take some comfort from this report and that they can reach some sort of closure."

Sir Norman Bettison, now chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, was a chief inspector at West Yorkshire Police in 1989.

"In the absence of all the facts I was called upon to resign 14 years ago when I became chief constable of Merseyside. I really welcome disclosure of all the facts that can be known about the Hillsborough tragedy because I have absolutely nothing to hide … Whilst not wishing to become a conducting rod for the genuine and justified hurt and anguish, I would invite anyone to do the same as me and read the document and the papers online."

Complicit in this smear campaign was The Sun newspaper, who published that infamous article detailing fictional accounts of Liverpool fans robbing the dead and attacking police officers under the headline 'The Truth'.

Current editor Dominic Mohan wrote: "Twenty-three years ago The Sun newspaper made a terrible mistake. We published an inaccurate and offensive story about the events at Hillsborough. We said it was the truth — it wasn't. The Hillsborough Independent Panel has now established what really happened that day. It's an appalling story and at the heart of it are the police's attempts to smear Liverpool fans. It's a version of events that 23 years ago The Sun went along with and for that we're deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry. We've co-operated fully with the Hillsborough Independent Panel."

A statement from Sheffield Wednesday said: "Chairman Milan Mandaric and the current board of directors have adopted a policy of complete compliance with the requests of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and on behalf of the club would like to offer our sincere condolences and an apology to all the families who have suffered as a consequence of the tragic events of 15 April, 1989."

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Flowers laid at a memorial to the 96 fans killed


So, what next?

Former Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, wrote on Twitter: "Very positive outcome. 23 yrs waiting for the truth next step justice."

Michael Mansfield QC, the lawyer acting on behalf of the HFSG, said: "If David Cameron means what he says and justice has to follow truth, then they have a responsibility today to assess not just the question of unlawful killing but the cover-up and the perversion of the course of justice."

Former Liverpool midfielder, Jan Molby, was "disgusted" by the cover-up operation.

"The evidence and subsequent statements are damning, while the smear tactics to paint the Liverpool fans as drunk and in the wrong — even checking if they had criminal records — was disgusting beyond belief. The report has not made everything better.

"They must be relieved that everything they fought for has been vindicated; but they will also be shell-shocked at the cover-up, which is just a complete disgrace. The perfect situation now would be for the original verdict to be officially overturned, and some people will be held responsible for what happened because no one is above the law."


Around the world of sport

US Open champion, Andy Murray, reflected on his glorious victory at Flushing Meadows.

"I proved that I can win the grand slams, and I proved that I can last four and a half hours and come out on top against one of the strongest guys physically that tennis had probably seen, especially on this surface. (I learned) to not doubt myself physically and mentally from now on. I'm sure that would have a positive impact in the future.

"When I was serving for the match, it's something that I realised how important that moment was for British tennis or British sport. It's something that hasn't happened for a long time obviously in our country so I'm obviously proud that I managed to achieve it."

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Murray poses with his trophy in Central Perk

Former British number one, Tim Henman, was quick to predict many more Grand Slams for his friend.

"I definitely see him going on to win more (grand slam titles). How many he can win only time will tell. The confidence of the Olympics and this will give him so much confidence. I said the first one would be the hardest but I think it will be the first of many, I really do."

Murray's coach, Ivan Lendl, was typically matter-of-fact about his charge's achievement.

"Hopefully, we're not anywhere near where Andy can get. I didn't come here to have a good time - I came here to help Andy win. He did, so it's job done."

Former British Davis Cup coach, John Lloyd, said Murray had put to bed any doubts about his big-match temperament.

"He's joined the club. We've been talking about the big three and Murray being part of the fab four but he had a missing ingredient. However, he's put that right in spectacular style. He's made a staggering improvement to the mental side of his game."

The retiring Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former world number one and French Open champion, announced his retirement for the end of the month.

"The Valencia Open 500 will be my final tournament, in the best possible scenario. This season injuries have prevented me from playing with regularity and it was a tough year as I realised on the court that I did not have the same ambition after 14 years at the top level. I am starting a new phase in my life with tremendous excitement, I will continue to be involved with tennis through the Valencia Open, the academy, the foundation that carries my name and other projects.

"Among the memories I would pick out the Davis Cup win in 2000, because I understood afterwards how much it meant to the country. But certainly for a player winning a grand slam or getting to number one in the world is the most important. What I will miss most is the competition, it will difficult to fill the void."

England Twenty20 cricket captain, Stuart Broad, on the incredible hitting of batsman Jos Buttler in the final match against South Africa.

"We've picked guys who can change the momentum of Twenty20 games, we knew we had hitters to come in and Jos played a game-changing innings. Tonight was awesome to see and a great confidence boost for the squad going to Sri Lanka.

"We've seen this fella do it for Somerset time and time again so to see him do it in an England shirt was brilliant. It pretty much won us the game. Jos was put at five because of the situation with only four overs to go and it paid off."

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Scotland boss Craig Levein and his dark shades

Scotland manager Craig Levein made light of the reaction to his choice of wearing dark shades after his side's 0-0 draw with Serbia.

"More than anything else, what has really annoyed me in the last couple of days has been self-acclaimed experts - I mean what do they know about glasses?"

Wales most-capped player Neville Southall made his feelings known ahead of his country's World Cup qualifying opener against Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium. Wales went on to lose 2-0 with plenty of empty spaces in the ground.

"I'd be disgusted if the stadium isn't full. You don't realise the effect that people can have on the team and the lack of people can have on the team. I've played at [the old National Stadium] Cardiff Arms Park against San Marino and we could hear them ordering their cups of tea and hamburgers at half-time. There's nothing more depressing than that."

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