Football

The long and twisted road to Truth Street

imageThis is a truly brilliant piece of street art. It’s a response to the Hillsborough inquest jury’s definitive judgement that the 96 were unlawfully killed. The street sign is located In Liverpool, just off Brownlow Hill (L3 5RB) by the entrance to the John Lennon art school. At first, I assumed that’s why the site had been chosen. It was only when I knelt down to take the photograph and was able to look more closely that I saw the original name was Duckinfield Street. Duckenfield, of course, was the name of the Sheffield police  commander in charge of the game on the day, David Duckenfield , the man who began to spin the web of lies that it has taken twenty-seven years to eradicate. And whilst Duckenfield did eventually come clean it wasn’t without a further desperate attempt to besmirch the innocent causing further grief to the families. We now wait to hear whether he will face charges for perjury.

Apart from the highly appropriate choice of site, what marks this out is the way the name Duckinfield has been whitewashed out, as if in metaphorical response to the cover-up of the truth, manufactured in a cynical collusion between the police, media and Westminster, a cover-up that went ‘all the way to the top’, as the Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham pointed out in his powerful and moving statement in the House of Commons on April 27. Street signs, of course, are typically black and white, which is the very emblem of the clear-cut truth, but in this case, the truth turned out to be red. Blood red.

A new blog as a new season begins…

Success has many fathers

I’m an applied linguist working at the Open University and I’m also a fan of Liverpool FC. This site is mainly dedicated to documenting the creativity of the club’s fans as expressed through their banners, but I also hope to put up other examples of how LFC fans use language in all its forms to express their particular creativity and identity. 

I’ve chosen this banner as my first example because I think it’s brilliant and I know the person who created it – Paul Gardner. I talked to Paul about the banner and my interpretation of it. He wasn’t convinced.

The use of the Russian proverb ‘Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan’ is a very salutary one for all football fans. It’s easy to stick by your team when they’re in their pomp, but less so when times are tough. I also like the way Paul used the first part to connect it to the image of Shankly and four  other great managers. It emphasised both community and continuity.

I read the image as a religious one, too, with Shankly as God and the others has his four gospellers, spreading theword, keeping the faith. Paul didn’t agree and said he’d chosen four because he felt that gave it a better balance. He was also making an oblique reference to the five Champions League Cups LFC have won, a recurring motif in fans’ banners..

You decide. And let me know what you think; I welcome contributions from anyone who shares my enthusiasm.