'You've taken on the wrong Mums!' — Bill Kenwright's speech at Hillsborough Memorial, 2013
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright died on Tuesday, aged 78, from liver cancer. His electrifying speech at the 24th anniversary of Hillsborough, is one of the greatest in British history.
Bill Kenwright was known as a producer of plays and musicals in the West End, most notably Blood Brothers and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. But the sporting world knew him as the Chairman of Everton, a founding club in the FA, their home ground of Goodison Park located just 400 metres from the even more famous digs of Anfield, home to cross-park rival, Liverpool. There’s an obvious rivalry between the two clubs, but it’s not at the same temperature that you see in cities like Manchester and Glasgow. There’s a friendliness to it, some might even say. At least by comparison.
When it came to the fight for justice for The 96, the Liverpool fans who died in the crush at Hillsborough, it wasn’t strange for the Everton chairman to be asked to speak. He did so without notes, and with a thespian’s grasp of the moment at hand.
An opening anecdote of connection
Remembering a moment — the speech if infinitely more powerful for Kenwright’s recounting of exactly how the news of Hillsborough broke
Decency and empathy — “We all thought it could have been us. If those balls that come out of the bag differently, it could have been us. And it happened tragically to you. And I hope since that day, you have known the support of Everton Football Club for you. [applause]”
Recognition of the struggle — Kenwright focuses on the mums, because mothers were some of the best known activists in the decades long struggle for justice for the 96.
His delivery is so clean, so beautiful, and he allows perfect pauses to summon the energy and appreciation of the crowd.
It’s one of the great speeches of all time, so emotional for football fans, and it was a good and decent man who delivered it.
RIP Bill Kenwright
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Here is the transcript to the speech (or below for paid subscribers):
For 'the 96': 'You've taken on the wrong mums too!', by Bill Kenwright, Hillsborough Memorial - 2013
15 April 2013, Anfield, Liverpool, United Kingdom
[Fans singing for the 96] I'm not going to stop you!
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