BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
ALAN Stubbs headed home to Liverpool for a welcome break this week and admits he found a city that has helped to put football firmly into perspective.
The Hibernian head coach spent barely 24 hours in his hometown as he prepared for an intense spell that will decide whether this season has been a success or failure.
However, thoughts of this afternoon’s final league encounter with Queen of the South, the forthcoming promotion play-offs and the Scottish Cup final against Rangers were put squarely to one side when he returned to a city in the grip of the findings of the Hillsborough inquest.
Jurors ruled on Tuesday that the 96 Liverpool supporters who died in a horrific crush during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between their club and Nottingham Forest had been ‘unlawfully killed’ because of ‘gross negligence’ on the part of the police.
Stubbs returned to his native city on Wednesday when thousands came together for an emotional vigil to remember the victims and to pay tribute to their families’ successful fight for truth and justice.
The former Celtic defender may have supported and played for Everton but Hillsborough has been a tragedy that has transcended the blue or red persuasions of a proud city that has mourned their dead with dignity for 27 painful years.
Stubbs said: “I went down the road on Wednesday and had a day at home, and it was a very emotional time right across the whole of Liverpool this week.
“It is another reason to put football into perspective.
“For 27 years, they’ve had mud flung at them and for the wrong reasons it’s stuck. And it’s taken this long for them to clear their names.
“It’s fantastic news and it’s great that justice for the 96 has eventually been given.
“But, in this day and age, we should never be waiting 27 years for people who have told lies to be brought to justice.
“The good thing is that the families have been given what they wanted to hear for a long time.
“They’ve been given respite. It’s not going to bring their loved ones back but you could see the relief in their families after what they’ve been put through by a miscarriage of justice.
“It is disgusting what has happened. The people involved should hang their heads in shame.”