A play by Peter Etherington

Cast: Peter Etherington (Narrator and Evo)
John Maguire (Dicko – a Liverpudlian Sun reader)
John McCormick (Macca – a Liverpudlian Echo reader)
Vic Hart (Vic – an Evertonian Sport reader)
Angie Etherington (Joanne – canteen lady and Mirror reader)

The play is set in a works canteen – circa 2003
Vic, Dicko and Macca are sitting at a table eating breakfast and reading papers. Joanne is behind canteen counter serving breakfast. Narrator enters front of stage with “Eternal Flame” playing in the background. Music fades.

Narrator:
The Eternal Flame – what does it mean
In this works canteen where we set our scene?
Dicko, readin’ the Sun. That’s not good
Readin’ the rag that dragged our name through the mud.
The rag that caused us all so much hurt
Rubbin’ our reputation in the dirt.
Let’s go an’ see what we can do
With an educated word or two.

Narrator walks towards table to take on the part of Evo.

Evo: Do us an omelette please Jo.
Joanne: Okay Peter. What d’yer want on it?
Evo: Everythin’ Jo! The full monty! Anything that’s fell on the floor or yer’ve scraped up or anythin’ out of date and yer can’t use!
Joanne: Oh, the usual then?
Evo: Yeah, the usual!
Vic: You still floggin’ those books Evo lad?
Evo: Yeah, a few girls in the office want them and some of the ware’ouse lads. Why, d’yer wanna buy one Vic?
Vic: Yeah, I might do when I run outta bog roll Evo.
Evo: Ah, I’m fair splittin’ me sides ‘ere Vic. Never ‘eard that one before mate!
Macca: Seen this Evo? We’re supposed to be signing Zidane.
Evo: It’s not Zi-Dane we need Macca – it’s fuckin’ Desperate Dan!
Macca: Letter in ‘ere Evo from a bluenose. Reckons Rooney’s the best player they’ve ‘ad since the war.
Evo: Oh, so we just forget all about Ball, Kendall, Harvey, Vernon, Labone, Young, Gabriel, Southall, Sharpe, Sheedy, Steven, Bracewell and Reid then do we?
Vic: Well I agree Evo, e’s fuckin’ brilliant!
Evo: Well you fuckin’ would! You thought Brett Angel was good!
Vic: D’yer think we’ll qualify for Europe this season Evo?
Evo: Yeah, if Cliff Richard writes yer a fuckin’ song! Last time your fans went to Europe the bizzies chucked youse off the ferry ‘cos yer threw the cannonballs over the side!
Vic: Fuckin’ ‘ell Evo! Seen this in ‘ere? MAN WANKS OFF HORSE!
Evo: Oh, says in the Sport does it Vic? Must be right then mustn’t it?
Macca: Do you fuckin’ ever believe anythin’ that’s in the papers Evo?
Evo: Yeah, the fuckin’ date! Mind yer, I’d rather believe what’s in the Sport than that bag of shite Dicko’s readin’.
Dicko: What’s fuckin’ wrong wi’ me readin’ this?
Evo: I’ll tell yer what’s fuckin’ wrong with it Dicko. Now where d’yer want me to start? It’s a shite paper – always ‘as been a shite paper! For fuck sake Dicko, yer a Scouser an’ a fuckin’ Liverpudlian at that! What the fuck are yer doin’ readin’ that?
Don’t yer remember what they said abarr us after Hillsborough?
Dicko: For fuck sake Evo, I was only eight at the time!
Evo: It doesn’t fuckin’ matter ‘ow old yer were Dicko! They told some fuckin’ awful lies abarr us!
Dicko: Well they didn’t tell them abarr me, I wasn’t fuckin’ there! I told yer – I was only eight!
Evo: But yer missin’ the fuckin’ point Dicko; they were sayin’ it abarr you! They were sayin’ it abarr all Scousers, not just Liverpudlians either, ‘cos they fuckin’ ‘ated Scousers! This was fuckin’ Kelvin McKenzie we’re talkin’ abarr and Rupert fuckin’ Murdoch. It was the era of Maggie bastard Thatcher, in the middle of eighteen years of Tory misrule that we’re still payin’ for now, who fuckin’ ‘ated us on Merseyside. They were sayin’ it abarr me, you, the woman next door, yer Ma, yer Da, yer Granny and yeah, even yer fuckin’ little kid brother who wasn’t even born then!
Dicko: Maggie who?
Evo: Fuck off!
Joanne: Peter, yer omelette’s ready.
Evo: Okay, ta Jo. I’ll come over now.

Evo leaves table to collect breakfast from counter. Conversation goes on without and about him while he’s away.

Dicko: Fuckin’ ‘ell, ‘e doesn’t ‘alf bang on doesn’t ‘e?
Macca: Yeah, but ‘e’s right though Dicko; yer shouldn’t be readin’ that, especially not in front of ‘im.
Vic: Ah, fuck ‘im! Let ‘im read what ‘e likes.
Dicko: Is right Vic! ‘E’s always rantin’ on abarr somethin’ or fuckin’ other! If it’s not Hillsborough it’s fuckin’ workers rights or somethin’!
Macca: Yeah, well you’re a worker ‘ere right? Or supposed to be!
Dicko: Yeah!
Macca: An’ Evo’s yer shop steward, right?
Dicko: Yeah!
Macca: Well ‘e’s fightin’ for your rights yer soft twat!

Evo returns to table.

Vic: Fuckin’ ‘ell Evo, the size of that!
Evo: That’s what all the boys say!

Puzzled look on Vic’s face.

Evo: I don’t know whether to eat it, fight it or fuckin’ climb it!
Macca: I think yer might ‘ave a good go at eatin’ it Evo!
Evo: Yeah, I think I just might.
Joanne: Mind if I join yer lads while I ‘ave me break?
Macca: Nah, carry on Jo.
Joanne: Urgh, what’s ‘e doin’ readin’ that?
Dicko: Don’t you bloody start Jo! I’ve ‘ad enough with ‘im!
Joanne: Yeah, but Liverpool supporters don’t read the Sun do they?
Evo: See, even she knows an’ she’s just a St. Helens egg-chaser!
Joanne: Oh Peter, an’ I thought yer loved me!
Evo: Only messin’ Jo!
Dicko: Fuck me; look at the tits on this one!
Macca: Ee arr Dicko, there’s a girl’s bike ‘ere!
Evo: Dicko, I don’t mean to ‘ave a go at yer lad but it winds me up to fuck yer readin’ that! I’ve got a copy of the Sun with that headline “The Truth” when they told all those lies abarr us. The HJC lent me it. It’s in me locker. I’ll get it later and show yer.
Dicko: The HJ what?
Evo: Fuckin’ ‘ell Dicko! The Hillsborough Justice Campaign!
Dicko: Never ‘eard of it mate.
Evo: Oh, yer do fuckin’ surprise me!
Dicko: What’s it all abarr then?
Evo: Well, they ‘elp victims and families of victims of Hillsborough. They’ve ‘elped me.
Dicko: Well you’re not a victim Evo; you survived it.
Evo: Oh, so I’m not a victim, no? It’s ok then to suffer trauma and not be able to sleep properly for years after? Okay, the real victims are the people who died and their families an’ of course we all feel for them but it’s not nice to go through this:

Six minutes past three on that tragic day.
The pain and the trauma won’t go away.
Crushed as I was in that terrible pen.
Dead bodies around me; one as young as ten.

I was big and strong, so I scrapped and I fought
To save my own life; well that’s what I thought.
Because inside I’m dead and it cuts like a knife
That ninety-six died and I have a life.

I did what I had to; I had three kids you see.
I couldn’t die; it couldn’t be me.
If I had died that day I never would have seen
My Ma’s last seven years: My dear old queen.

Ninety-six souls haunt my dreams.
The nightmares won’t stop; that’s what it seems
I wake up sweating, shivering and shouting out loud
” There’s ninety-six dead in that bloody crowd!”

I feel anger, I feel hatred, I feel guilt, I feel shame.
Ninety-six souls tell me I’m not to blame.
So why do I wake up screamin’ and cryin’
Seein’ the faces of young people dyin’?

Ninety-six souls come to meet me each night
Takin’ me back to that terrible sight.
” They’re to blame: Duckenfield and Murray
We’ll get justice one day. We’re in no hurry.”

I should have died that day: I know that’s a fact.
With the ninety-six souls I’ve made a pact.
” When my days are up and my judgement awaits
I’ll meet you all in heaven at the Bill Shankly Gates.”

I’ll go an’ get that paper.

Evo walks off stage to take on the role of narrator.

Narrator: So, yer see, what is to be
A voice all alone in a huge factory
Dicko’s got his opinion – got his own mind
But it makes it worse that he’s one of our kind.

Narrator/Evo (sometimes reading from the Sun.)

We all turned up late, without tickets and bladdered,
even a ten-year-old boy, well that’s what I gathered.

We forced open a gate an’ started to push
towards the front of the pen, caused the terrible crush.

Two girls at the front, screamin’ and cryin’.
” Open the fence! There’s people ‘ere dyin’!”

“Get back in there, you bloody Scouse yobs!”
South Yorkshire Police just doing their jobs.

Then they all realised somethin’ was wrong.
Scousers stopped singin’ their favourite song.

That poor Scouser Tommy who took the King’s shillin’.
That poor Scouser Tommy who was ready and willin’.

That poor Scouser Tommy who fought in the war.
Gave ‘is life for ‘is country. I wonder what for?

Brave bobbies put up with so much that day.
Even got peed on, that’s what they say.

It was us! It was our fault! We killed our mates!
A manslaughter charge surely awaits.

But eh, don’t worry! We won’t go to jail!
We’ll do a deal with the Judge; British justice won’t fail.

‘Ow do I know all this is true?
It said in the Sun. I believe it. Don’t you?

“THEY ROBBED THEIR OWN DEAD. WHAT A TERRIBLE SIGHT.”
” THE TRUTH,” said the Sun, so it must be right.
” DRUNKEN SCOUSE YOBS FORCED OPEN A GATE!”
screamed the bile from the scumrag we all hate.

“YOBS PEED ON BOBBIES TRYING TO SAVE THEIR MATES LIVES.”
’ Ow much more will they twist their knives?
No Scouser on earth should ever be seen
with that piece of dirt, that rag so obscene.

Ninety-six lives: Ninety-six gone.
Yet the people to blame still carry on.
Everton, Leeds, Spurs and United.
Every club’s fans want to see the wrongs righted.

“It could have been us,” everyone said,
” whose fans were left crushed, injured and dead.”
We only want justice, we don’t want revenge.
We only seek answers, not to avenge.

Admit you were wrong (it’s not too late)
in giving the order to open the gate.
Ninety-six dead, “No one to blame”
Said a judge up in Leeds: British justice in shame.

“THE TRUTH” was all lies and disgraced our good name.
Ninety-six dead. No one to blame
No policemen convicted, that’s all that mattered.
Ninety-six families left broken and shattered.

Ninety-six lives lost watching a game.
Ninety-six dead. No one to blame.

Evo returns to canteen.

Evo: Ee arr Dicko, take a look at that.
Dicko takes a cursory look at it.
Dicko: But Evo, The Sun’s dead sound; it’s got birds with big knockers.
Take them in work an’ decorate yer lockers.
The sport in it’s boss, especially the racin’.
And the ‘oroscopes tell us the day we’re all facin’.
Evo: Don’t yer remember, yer ignorant swine
All the lies they told in eighty-nine?
Let me remind you just what they said.
We pissed on the bizzies and robbed our own dead.
Dicko: But the telly page’s sound, they’ve got bingo and lotto.
An’ on one of the pages there’s a nice little motto.
Anyway Evo I just didn’t know.
It doesn’t matter now it was so long ago.
Evo: It does fuckin’ matter! It matters a lot.
People ‘ad children they’ve no longer got.
People ‘ad fathers they’ll no longer see.
They said that I killed them. They said it was me!
Dicko: Fuck off will yer Evo. Yer always bangin’ on.
Hillsborough and justice, all that carry on.
Anyway Evo get out of me face.
It’s only a newspaper in any case.
Evo: It’s not a newspaper. A newspaper ‘as news.
Not made up stories with which to abuse.
What they said was “The Truth” was scurrilous lies.
We got no apology. What a surprise!
Dicko: All right then Evo what should I buy?
Tell me one, give me the reason why.
Which one d’yer think stands out from the rest?
The Mirror, The Echo, which one’s the best?
Evo: Don’t buy the Sun. It’s fit only to burn.
Don’t buy the Sun. There’s nothin’ you’ll learn.
I’ll say it once more an’ then I’ll be done.
Buy what you want but DON’T BUY THE SUN!

“Eternal Flame” plays in background as players move to front of stage, take a few pages each of the Sun and rip it into little pieces.

THE END