Q&A With Brian Reece: Hillsborough Debate in Parliament Helps Families ‘Clear the Names of the Victims’

Q&A With Brian Reece: Hillsborough Debate in Parliament Helps Families 'Clear the Names of the Victims'NESN.com is happy to debut a weekly soccer question and answer feature. We will interview writers, editors, newsmakers and fans about the latest news in the soccer world.

Our first-ever guest is Brian Reece. He is an award-winning writer at the independent Liverpool FC website, The Empire of the Kop. He has supported Liverpool for 40 years and attended some of the club's most memorable matches.

NESN.com: You were born into the LFC family and have been going to Anfield for the better part of 40 years. What makes Liverpool FC a unique club? What sets it apart from the others?

Reece: Liverpool Football Club is a footballing institution with a history that other clubs can only dream of having. What makes Liverpool unique is the passion and the loyalty of the supporters. It's what makes us different than other teams because Liverpool is not just supported by people from Liverpool. It's a global club. When you support Liverpool you belong one big family.

NESN.com: Boston Red Sox baseball is a way of life in our city. Can you tell us about what Liverpool FC means to the city of Liverpool and the surrounding region?

Reece: Well you only have to look at the 2005 homecoming parade after the famous Champions League final to see what football means to the city and Liverpool supporters. There were 750,000 lining the route and a further 300,000 in the town center. Liverpool Football Club is the heartbeat of the city and its people.

NESN.com: Describe Kenny Dalglish's management style. Are you seeing any similarities between how he handles the team now versus his first spell in charge? What differences are you seeing? What changes in the game over the last 20 years will present him with the biggest managerial challenges?

Reece: Dalglish's style in the 1980s was entertaining, pass and move, attacking football. He instilled a way of playing that many fans still speak about today. When Kenny first took charge in the '80s, he inherited a winning team. This time around, he took charge of a team that hasn't won the title in over 20 years and a squad in need of a major overhaul. He has tried to maintain the same principles in way we play, but it's more of a work in progress. 

It has similarities to when John Henry took charge of the Red Sox and hopefully the end product will be the same for Liverpool.

NESN.com: Which Liverpool players are the big personalities on the team? Who are the biggest characters or jokers who keep the atmosphere light?

Reece: Without a doubt Jamie Carragher has the biggest personality in the squad. He is a no-nonsense, straight talking scouser. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina is regarded as the joker of the dressing room.

NESN.com: There was a recent parliamentary debate about the Hillsborough tragedy. What were the effects of the debate? Can you explain the Hillsborough Justice Campaign? What was gained in the recent debates? 

Reece: The reason for the recent debate in Parliament was to make the official reports and papers relating to the disaster public so that the families can clear the names of the victims. In April 1989 mismanagement of the crowd by police caused the death of 96 Liverpool supporters.

After the disaster, the Sun (newspaper) claimed that Liverpool fans were to blame for the disaster by being drunk and rushing into the ground without tickets.

This was proven to be a lie, but the families have never had the opportunity to clear the names of the 96. Since the disaster the families have campaigned tirelessly for justice. They have the backing of Liverpool FC, members of Parliament and the fantastic Liverpool supporters. 

As a result of the parliamentary debate, the houses of Parliament have agreed to release all reports and papers relating to the disaster. It was about disclosure and that was achieved.

I wrote an article on the comments made by The Sun and its editor which can be found on the website. The article is called "Kelvin MacKenzie The Truth."

Thanks again to Brian Reece for answering our questions. You can read more from Brian by clicking here. You can also follow Brian on twitter: @oldfattoad.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Rooon

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