Still defiant 30 years on

Orgreave barnsley fc

Barnsley football fans were ordered at the weekend to end their display of support for miners on the 30th anniversary of the great miners’ strike.

Officials at Barnsley Football Club instructed supporters to take down the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign banner after they raised it at a home game against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

The fans raised the banner to support the call for an inquiry into the infamous police attack on pickets at the Orgreave coke depot during the 1984-85 strike.

Soon after the banner was raised club officials approached the group and told them to take it down.

“We’d planned it for a long time to coincide with the anniversary,” Unite Community regional organiser Joe Rollin said.

“We’d have raised it whoever Barnsley were playing that day – we weren’t attacking the Nottingham Forest fans.

“There were many brave Notts miners who stayed out for the year of the strike.”

He said the officials first said flags were banned – though others were flying – then quoted health and safety reasons, and tried to confiscate the banner.

“We held on to it, but took it down. But when the final whistle went we raised it again as an act of defiance. All the fans were taking photos of it,” said Mr Rollin.

Ex-miner Paul Winter, who was also there, said: “I told the supervisor the reason he was working for just over the minimum wage was because people like me had failed 30 years ago to bring down the government that had that plan laid for him before he was born.”

Many of the fans who raised the banner had earlier attended an event at the National Union of Mineworkers Barnsley headquarters celebrating the role of women in the strike.

The banner bears the words: “Thirty years of lies – No Justice – No Peace – Never Forget – Never Forgive.”

It also carries an image of the “Coal Not Dole” badge worn by tens of thousands of miners and their supporters during the strike, but splashed with red to represent the blood shed through police assaults at Orgreave.


Even after 30 years it seems that South Yorkshire police are in the habit of ordering cover-ups


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