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And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain By Adrian Tempany

Release date: 02nd June, 2016
Publisher: Faber & Faber

List Price: £12.99
Our Price: £10.49
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There have been a surprisingly large number of books written about Hillsborough and the preventable disaster that resulted in 96 Liverpool supporters losing their lives in April 1989, but few are as gut-wrenchingly well-written as And the Sun Shines Now.

Author Adrian Tempany was amongst the crowd in pen three of Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane end as tragedy struck on that fateful day. His is a strong, penetrating account of how he watched the lives of others around him ebb away, colour draining from their faces, vomit oozing from lifeless mouths. Tempany himself almost gave up until the unbearable pressure of thousands of bodies pressing against each other was finally relieved.

This compelling eye-witness account of the author’s brush with death demands the reader’s attention; it’s a dramatic opening to what could be described as a modern social history, with football at its core.

Hillsborough proved a pivotal moment in football history; three seasons later, the Premier League was formed and in a move worthy of Stalin, all pre-1992, pre-Sky, statistics and records were effectively expunged from the record books. If it happened before 1992, it doesn’t count, doesn’t warrant a mention.

Money, no friend of tradition, especially in instances where much of it had been accumulated by questionable means, flooded into the game’s higher echelons and supporters became marginalised. Suddenly, people you wouldn’t trust as far as you could throw them were allowed to acquire our most iconic football clubs. The authorities turned a blind eye to this scandalous situation, as they continue to do, in stark contrast to the situation in Germany, where, as Tempany shows, fan ownership is more prevalent and matches significantly less expensive to attend.

Leading clubs currently in receipt of billions of pounds wouldn’t be where they are today without supporters attending matches for more than a century and millions of fans paying to watch games on TV for decades. Yet as it has strived to become a business, the national sport has become less an integral part of working class life and more ‘entertainment’, replete with everything that description entails.

And the Sun Shines Now is a bitter-sweet read. Some good can often emerge from disaster and many fans will hope that Tempany’s book strengthens the movement for football fans to reclaim their game from the leeches and gangsters who now populate football’s corridors of power. Regrettably, no-one is expecting that to happen anytime soon.

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