Hillsborough 28 Years On Still Needs Respect for Fans Action

Can you imagine entering a football stadium and being caught in the entrance tunnel pushed along by an unpredictable moving mass. And then face absolute fear as it squeezes the life from you, or someone next to you, when the unrelenting crowd surges forward.

That was the case in 1989 at Hillsborough in Sheffield UK as Liverpool scored 4 minutes into an FA cup finals match.

April 15 is the anniversary of the human tragedy at the 1989 FA Cup Semi-Final played at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, where 96 died and 766 injured.  It is also home of the local team “Sheffield Wednesday”. Being neutral, Hillsborough hosted that match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

That tragic scene unravelled in 2016 at the 2nd inquest. It was very clear then that in the few minutes before the game got under way, that opening the gates to more admissions caused people to be crushed to death and seriously injured.

Nick Wetzel, who many who visit and live in Bangkok know well, owns and runs the famous Pickled Liver Pub there. He is a loyal fan of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. Rain, shine or both, when they play it always on his big screens in his ever popular English Pub in downtown Bangkok.

This morning on his Facebook, Nick asked me along with his friends to sign a petition to change the Hillsborough restrictive  approach that still treats fans as the problem and instead treat fans with respect so going to Hillsborough, an always a good experience.

I am a paranoid claustrophobic, who has panic attacks at the thought of being a victim.  That day saw people made powerless by a culpable act. People turning blue gasping for a last breath of air, while being crushed to death was the horror scene. Surging crowds pushing into the already overcrowded entrance tunnels also saw people at standing room only steel fenced  pens crushed against them too, in the waves as the match went on. It  was a catastrophe that should never have happened.

It seems history shows the deaths started at the kick off and continued on as Liverpool side kicked that first goal and then for more than 20 minutes. The absolute panic had already made the football match irrelevant, but authorities, who failed to stop it and instead called for dogs to quell the “unruly” crowd, were not only incompetent, but also criminally negligent.

I can also imagine many more who have nightmares including those who has no choice to stop crushing the life from another human being, while they also scrambled to save their own.

For the angry families who lost their loved ones and those unfortunate survivors who carry  injuries that crushed away any option to live a normal life, the human community everywhere supports you. Applauded too is the cover-up history being corrected, 27 years on.

The shear stupidity to open a gate to pack even more into standing room only, in an already overcrowded steel fenced spectator pen is unforgivable.  

It seems minutes before the match start was the high risk time, when incompetence took over. With 5000 fans still queuing and in danger of being crushed,  a gate was opened to let 2,000 of them pile into the already overcrowded tunnels.

That moved the outside congestion problem to a much higher stakes one inside that had people dead in minutes. It also went directly against advice of stewards and police inside the ground who saw what was happening and wanted to delay the match.

They say it was due to the poor design and overcrowding of the stadium that segregated supported in steel fence pens. The standing room only areas have since been replaced by seats and fencing changed.

It is easy to find the history of Hillsborough Stadium which had several years before in 1981 seem a similar crushes, but no loss of life. The chairman of the Sheffield stadium, a regular FA cup host, at that time remarked: “Bollocks – no one would have been killed”. He was still in the chair in 1989 so I guess he believed his own rhetoric  and said “No problem to packed them in again”. Finding he was wrong he resign as Chairman soon after but curiously it seems he was exonerated by the OBE he got in 1991. 

Police on the day quickly blamed the hooligans, which turned out to be bollocks too.  As was the 1992 Coronial Inquiry verdict of it being just and accidental caused by the fans themselves. It seems little comfort that many more inquiries lead by the police said the same until the second coroner’s inquest in April 2016, 27 years on, delivered a verdict that supporters were unlawfully killed due to grossly negligence by the then authorities.

Many may ask why did they need to segregated fans into by fences in the first place. Hooliganism was rife then and often a cause for chaos and injury between rival team gangs.

But even though at a time it was proven that the Hillsborough disaster was not of their doing, The worry is football hoods still walk among us like terrorist groups.These low life diehard minorities of organised thuggery give genuine British Football followers a bad name. The fact is these gangs like any other aggressively intent gang are not about football. The get created from a sick mahen they cause with criminal intent.

The pity too is it still took a large force of shield  protected baton welding tactical response police in France last year, to keep English football hooligans out of the international football playoff matches.

So it seems there is always the possibility for them to return, But no-more in Sheffield after 1989 or since. If you even look like a hooligan there you immediately are off-limits.  

Football matches are a great family and friends spectator sport that builds communities. It is a social event where we like to win. In most arenas worldwide the Hillsborough lessons learned mean  fan controls are no longer built around a cloistered fear we will all turn into hooligan terrorists  Instead we see it replaced by facilities that encourage open partisan support where be-it winning or losing is always a healthy outcome. Congratulating your opponent is now a good thing to show how to be magnanimous when we lose and be humbly respectful to our opponents when we win. Many of us living in these communities elsewhere enjoy that so much. Hooligans now have no place in our sporting events and are not welcome. Causing chaos is not easy, when the real fans are treated with respect so no-one tolerates any nonsense.

But we must never forget what those wasted lives nor the lessons it gave the world to change. Sadly Sheffield Wednesday are still focussed on restricting Fans and need to change too.

Parking Inspector Goes Global

imageThis week in Melbourne, I had a great lunch with my son. He talked abut his city based vocation as a building construction manager It is not without hazard when it comes to parking he told me. Later he sent me a very funny letter written to the Melbourne City Council about a parking issue written by one of his aggrieved mates.

I send it to my very good friend, Lawrence Berezin for an opinion, being he is Lawyer in New York. He in turn sought  wider views in his regular web publication “New York Parking Ticket”. In this he very kindly added some great publicity about our National Song Waltzing Matilda. Plus he got some great comments from his readers including some nice ones about us Aussies. Here is his post that included my son’s message. He headed it The-Wacky-World-of-Parking-Tickets

In this fun site Larry takes what to most is an emotive subject and makes it not only advisory and educational but practical too. Although about New York City Parking,  it has huge appeal with everyone who parks their car in any city anywhere in the world.  Go and make yourself known to Larry (as he prefers to be called by his mates) and let him know what you think about the things he writes. He always replies so you wont regret it.

Do you want to die in a cell?

Best Wishes to everyone for a very happy, prosperous and safe new year for 2010.


Well done to this video maker.

We need people investing in this type of education.

And even more prepared to to invest in listening.

Please don’t end up dead on this cell.

We want to see you and enjoy providing updates to you again this year.


Warmest regards


The Performance Controller Team



Why I Was Fired

For the Christmas Party this week , management decided a liability issue meant staff could have alcohol, but only one drink per person…



















I was fired for ordering the cups.  B*stards!!!!

Copenhagen 2009: Climate heat is on.



With the die now cast for the outcomes of the United Nations agreement in Copenhagen on Dec 7th to 18th 2009,  Incoming COP15 president, Connie Hedegaard, says Failure in Copenhagen is not an option. And complexity is no excuse for complacency. There will be unlikely to be a chance again if we miss this one or postpone. To build up again the pressure to get world leaders to deliver will be impossible, so it must be done. Getting the text right and removing the square brackets to make the issues and political choices clear is the work to be done.

But  just weeks before the international conference, the United Nations signaled it was scaling back expectations of reaching agreement on a new treaty to slow global warming. Janos Pasztor, director of the secretary-general’s Climate Change Support Team, was reported last week as saying.

"it’s hard to say how far the conference will be able to go" because the U.S. Congress has not agreed on a climate bill, and industrialized nations have not agreed on targets to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions or funding to help developing countries limit their discharges.

Some years ago. I had the pleasure to meet Tony Mowbray Tony is one of those rare history making achievers along with Kay Cottee and Francis Chichester, who sailed solo around the world.

clip_image001Tony’s autographed print of his log book sits on my bookshelf to serve as a model for achievement. What makes athletes like Tony unique, is their ability to deal with complex and rapidly changing issues and make decisions for both their short and long term survival.


In 1998 Tony was one of the survivors of the ill fated Sydney to Hobart Yacht race that claimed many lives. The deteriorating climate that saw those sailors lost is high in the minds of world leaders.

Next month in Copenhagen these people will try to agree on a plan to mange the causes of climate change that threatens the very survival of the human race. This will update the expiring Kyoto protocol agreement of 1997.

Ralph Eastman’s Carbon Constrained World Reality report on March 13th on my discussion with Stian Reklev. Stian is Managing Editor of the specialist online newspaper Point Carbon. He is also an often sought after expert on the subject himself. At the time  Stian captured for me the essence what Copenhagen is all about: Namely getting agreement on 1. Emission caps 2, Who picks up the bill and 3. Adaption

Since Kyoto, there has developed more controversy on the climate issue as people learn more. Vested interests have also become stronger and more entrenched. The ability to agree and decide on a direction is vital for the next generation’s survival. But it is equally difficult to achieve. Deciding is quite unlike the lone sailor whose mission is clear. He or she can process information with speed to make very clear decisions, having prepared for all types of risks in advance. But the collective inputs to a climate management, sees interests not in all in agreement. Positions to maintain calm waters status quo, may even prevail, when it is clear to so many there is a storm  coming.

Convinced by the physical evidence, the change activists want carbon limits raised. Just re-running the 2005 documentary “An Inconvenient truth” still cannot be ignored despite opposing denouncement. And reading the daily papers tells you facts that continue to reinforce concern. This week in the New York Times it leads with a headline “Seas Grow Less Effective at Absorbing Emissions”

Governments over the last 10 years since Kyoto, have invested greatly in programs for carbon reduction schemes across the globe. This has created an industry with things like the carbon market initiatives. Hence a balance of interest groups now exist.

Not surprising, is disagreement by many scientists, whose counter arguments are often convincing. Well summarized facts and figures often lead them to say we need more proof before taking action. But what if they are wrong?

While advocates for constraint seek agreement and ways to keep the issue in the public face, the irony is much of the power still rests with those who oppose. They produce the life-giving energy we all rely on and can influence to offer us a stream alternative information. This means if Copenhagen fails they may just keep on sailing unchecked while they search of a solution at some time in the future; Which by then it may be too late.

As “Upton Sinclair” American writer and social change advocate in the early 20th century said “it is difficult to get  people to understand something when their salary depends on not understanding it” This can of course be true of all sides.

So the issues are complex and burdened with well placed facts. figures and modeled outcomes and delivered through highly credible people who argue there is no evidence to support the climate deterioration. Or if so, then there is no evidence it is caused by human activity.

Interesting too is the timing of a headline about a Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute. On Tuesday a British University was reported as being hacked

A NYT report I read cited several scientists pressing the case that global warming is true.

The report also says, “Some of the correspondence recently hacked in a UK University portrays scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics’ camp and worried that any stray comment or data glitch could be turned against them”.

Other quotes from this same report go on to say “evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument”.

The New York Times confirmed the authors or recipients of hacked email messages . The revelations are bound to inflame the public debate as hundreds of negotiators prepare to negotiate an international climate accord at meetings in Copenhagen month, and at least one scientist speculated that the timing was not coincidental.

So what do yachts and their sailors have to do with all this. Some time ago I wrote to my bother, a media professional, to seek his engagement in the debate. I also sought his opinion on climate change and how we should address it.  His edited response refers that 1998 yacht race was in context, I thought it worthy of sharing:

People can throw their hands in the air and jump on either side with that one. Global Warming and Ice Age indeed! Either way, the consequences aren’t all that palatable.

The meteorological details will always be difficult. And what modeling?

I am reminded of a three international atmospheric 3D models used to predict the weather for the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yachts. This extraordinary work deals with complex and dynamic detail but on this occasion none were right.

What was remarkable was the work a privateer who also modeled the interacting vortices, and sea temperatures etc., in the Tasman Sea and Bass Straight, being the race regions.

His radioed warning to the yachts of his prediction of a gale force wind of 90 knots, was life saving to those who got the message. They knew to sail out of the developing storm. Others, who turned back to land for safety, met steep-ling waves, which for many were fatal.

So if it’s so hard to model the climate in the space of a single day, how hard is it to model it over centuries? There is of course some convenient history to work with from the past, including that ironically stored in the Antarctic ice.

Maddening isn’t it?

Regardless of the arguments a Carbon Constrained World Reality just makes sense. But the September 2009 Bangkok UN conference of world leaders and advocates, staged to position for a smooth agreement at Copenhagen, was not encouraging.

Tony Mowbray Autographed Log book

If it needs to be said that failure in Copenhagen is not an option, clearly this it  seems it may be. So the text of arguments must be convincing and hit the mark well so delay is not in the conclusion.

As for Tony Mowbray, giving up was not an option when he faced adversity on his lonely voyage. So is the Copenhagen goal, It is too important.

Those leaders attending Copenhagen, who are determined to make the difference, and Connie Hedegaard, who heads it all up have a daunting task to meet the goals, I can only repeat what Tony Mowbray said to me when he autographed his log book for me:

Go get ’em!”


To be continued:

Giving Pen Empowerment to Youth

imagePerformance management generally focuses on organizations and improvement and needs serious experience and  focus. But here is something that places youth in the chair. The question is, with so called YGEN attitudes today, how can anyone seriously suggest development can be done by young people?

Well Clare Hanbury does and this is what she says:

With our help, young people, can help solve society’s health & social justice issues,

We are now living in an amazing transitional time with a generation with new ideas and an extraordinary ability to multi task. These can doers are trail blazers with a disregard for expertise and a heightened sense of personal power. They  believe theirs is the only way and they are ready to do the work

To get results we must join youth where they abd asked how close they are to the problems they are trying to solve.

On 3rd June at the Dialogue meeting for 40 Nordic NGO‘s and donors in Copenhagen, Denmark. she spoke about Role of Children and Young People in Development. 
imageIn this talk Clare  makes compelling points with real life examples that give young people the power of the pen and encourages them with respect and connected listening to keep them close and involved in getting solutions. Here is the link to her talk.
[audio:ClareHanbury.mp3] Continue reading

How was it done in 1957 & now?

imageDo things really change or is it the way we see it? 


To  those who knew how things were in 1957 it may have seemed that the  life was simple but it was not always easy. But considering it now maybe then it was a much better deal. 

I wonder if it is possible to get that back and still keep the best of both worlds. Should we  try to and if so how? 

“Work Hard Play Hard” was our school motto at East Ivanhoe Primary School in Melbourne Australia. It still looks the same to me now as it did in 1957 when I was in Grade 4 there. So what has really changed? 

Many of you may have seen this study or something similar. It is a lighthearted look at how the very same scenario is managed in two very different eras. 

Now read on and enjoy !!! 

Scenario 1: Jack goes rabbit shooting before school and pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack.

1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s rifle,  goes to his car and gets his rifle & chats with Jack about guns. 2007 – School goes into lock down, Star Force called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his Ute or gun again.. Counsellors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2 : Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins.  Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies. 2007 – Police called arrests Johnny and Mark.   Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it. Both children go to anger management programs for 3 months. School board hold meeting to implement bullying prevention programs.

Scenario 3: Robbie won’t be still in class disrupts other students.

1957 – Robbie sent to office and given 6 of the best by the Principal.  Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again. 2007 – Robbie given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. Robbie’s parents get fortnightly disability payments and School gets extra funding from state because Robbie has a disability.

Scenario 4: Billy breaks a neighbor’s car window and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman. 2007 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.

Scenario 5: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 – Mark gets glass of water from Principal to take aspirin with. 2007 – Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:  Pedro fails high school English.

1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college. 2007 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state.  Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching. English as a requirement for graduation is racist. Parents file class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a bull ant nest.

1957 – Ants die. 2007- Star Force, Federal Police & Anti-terrorism Squad called.    Johnny charged with  domestic terrorism, Feds investigate parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated.  Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary.  Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing. 2007 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison.  Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

I noted when I look at my old primary school web site that has a theme now of  “Fun, Caring, Learning, Cooperation, Fairness, Respect”. and a motto “Care Excellence and Justice”  

It is interesting  that it seemed those values were a given once and did not even have to be stated. 

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