The first chapter is a terrifying first hand account of how the author almost lost his life as a teenager on the Leppings Lane terracing on 15 April 1989.
The last chapter tells the almost unheard and almost unbelievable story of how the Establishment almost managed to wreck the final Hillsborough inquest: it needed an anonymous informant from “inside the courtroom” to tip off some of the survivors about what was about to happen allowing them at the eleventh hour to mount a legal challenge to some of the proceedings…
The remainder of the book is a thoughtful discussion about how football in the UK, shown in vivid contrast to football in Germany, has been ripped from its core constituency, the supporters/the community and turned into “another product” albeit one a vastly inflated prices. The author argues that this is both a part of and a mirror to similar trends in British society, again in contrast to Germany, where the needs of the community in which a club is based is a part of the constitution of many clubs and where many clubs have fans as integral to their running and decision making. It is a different societal expectation and outlook, its not just about football. When he talks about going back onto standing terracing in Germany, pint in hand, with his brother and becoming so enveloped in the atmosphere and “for the first time since I was a teenager, that nothing else really existed outside of the stadium” I remembered what he means.
As a German, who spent some time living in the UK and now works at one of the football clubs (St Pauli – a “pirate club” that survives in the top division), said to Tempany about the aura of self-defeat in Britain, “no one really thinks you can achieve anything any more.” Cheers Maggie.