LONDON: The ground safety inquiry was specific: all football ground enclosures should have turnstiles counting numbers enabling the prevention of entry to one section of a stand too many fans.

A clause out of any of the Hillsborough inquiries and inquests? No. This was one of the recommendations from Moelwyn Hughes, the barrister and MP who chaired an independent inquiry into the Burden Park disaster all the way back in March 1946.

That day saw 33 fans die in a crush at an FA Cup tie?? between home club Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City. The tragic failure of English football to heed this and so many other lessons is the central tenet of Hillsborough: Profit before People.

The author is Brian Cranwell, a retired Sheffield vicar who was one of the volunteers who organised help and care for those seeking news of the dead and injured at Hillsbrough 43 years later.

However Cranwell’s thesis is not so much to apportion blame but to study victim care systems and draw lessons for the organisation of the emergency services’ major event response.

His cogent point-by-point summary underlines the scandal that football was exempt for far too long from the standard safety rules and regulations long since applied to other industries, businesses and venues.

A sub-plot is his evident concern that so much critical focus has been directed at the failings of South Yorkshire Police that the weight of responsibility which should have been borne by football’s governing class – FA, League and clubs – has been underrated.

** Hillsborough: Profit before People (Brian Cranwell; New Generation, £6.99).


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