Molby: Disgusted by Hillsborough cover-up

Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby pays tribute to the families of Hillsborough victims after the publication of Wednesday's report.

Molby: Disgusted by Hillsborough cover-up

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Flowers laid at a memorial to 96 fans killed at the Hillsborough disaster (Reuters)

I was injured on the day of our FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989, and was sitting behind the dugout in the stands. We quickly realised that something was not right behind the goal, with some parts of the ground empty and others extremely full.

From the commotion of the crowd, it was clear to all of us that something was wrong - long before anything happened on the pitch.

Peter Beardsley hit the bar - that was my only real memory of the play itself. There was a big surge forward in the stand, people began to really panic, climbing over the fences, and that was where everyone realised that something was seriously wrong.

At the time, nobody knew exactly what was happening, but then the officials took the players off the pitch and it all became very apparent.

Because I was behind the dugout, we stayed out for another couple of minutes before we joined the rest of the players and staff in the dressing room. While we were there, the situation turned into something very, very serious.

From time to time, we chat about the events of that day with our former team-mates, especially if we meet and there has been some news or we are with some of the families involved. Of course, it remains a huge talking point because we were so much a part of it all.

There was always a real sense that the families who lost loved ones were treated very badly, and as certain things have slowly emerged over the years, that feeling has been exacerbated.

As players, we felt that same injustice.

We had the opportunity, under extremely difficult circumstances, to meet many of the families and to hear their stories. To be with them so closely and to feel their frustrations made it all the more difficult to hear and read some of the things that came out of it.

We always felt, as players, that we had the greatest fans in the world and it was extremely difficult to accept what the authorities were saying about them after that day. We came across things that were not true, and we knew differently.

What has come out today is mindblowing.

We knew there was a different side of the story to the one that we had heard, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as bad as it has been today.

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.

Today’s report has not made everything better, and it will have been very difficult to come to terms with what has emerged from it all.

Obviously, this is what they wanted all along, but to have it in writing as confirmation of what they feared will have been very tough to stomach.

As players, we did everything that we possibly could, attending funerals and things like that, but it is impossible for us to truly understand what many of the families must have gone through.

My main emotion from today was just sympathy for the families, for how hard it must have been. Also, respect for the way they have fought over the years.

People have gone through an awful lot to finally get the truth, and it has not been at all easy for anyone involved.

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.

The exoneration of the Liverpool fans was hugely important today, and confirmation that they had no part to play in it was crucial – to clear the good name of the supporters.

To the people who chased this campaign for 23 years and never gave up, they have our respect and admiration.

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