No. 1 – The Hillsborough disaster
The events at Hillsborough on April 15th is a day we’ll never ever forget but the aftermath – with supporters, players and LFC comforting one another – highlighted why we all support Liverpool Football Club.
Here TIA Columnist Simon Pearce reflects on April 15th, 1989, the scene of the most horrific football disaster the English game has ever seen…
“April 15th 1989. Should have been a happy day really. A beautiful spring day. Sun shining brightly. And thousands upon thousands of Liverpool fans from all over the country travelling to Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield to watch their team play Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup Semi Final match. 96 of them never came home.
I could wax lyrical about this over a dozen A4 sides of paper, but it’s only supposed to be a short article, so I’ll keep it brief. Liverpool fans were herded like cattle on that day, by police who had no idea of what they were doing. If they had set things up as they had the previous season, things might have been ok, but no. New men in charge that really had no idea. The pens were overcrowded. Empty areas of the Leppings Lane stand were being ignored. Police were ignoring shouts for help, ambulances were being kept off the pitch, the fire brigade were called, then turned away.
Fans were trying to get out, and beaten back. The call was wrongly made as crowd disturbance and fighting, but in reality it was anything but. Fans did manage to make it over the top of the wire fencing. Some fans were being pulled into the upper tier. Eventually, the pens came down.
After 6 minutes, the game was stopped, fans sprawled onto the pitch, and advertising hoardings were pulled down to be used as makeshift stretchers. Liverpool fans were doing more to help each other, than any of the police were doing. The gym became a morgue.
The police eventually stopped acting like headless chickens and began to help, once they realised the true horror of what was going on. Yet still, their senior officers were trying to pretend none of this was happening. Junior officers were being told not to record anything in their notebooks. The cover up had begun.
April 15th 1989. Should have been a happy day really. A beautiful spring day. Sun shining brightly. Without a care in the world, and no idea of what was about to transpire, thousands upon thousands of Liverpool fans happily travelling simply to watch a football match. Unfortunately 96 of them never came home..”
In memory of the 96 who died, April 15th 1989. May they rest in peace and never be forgotten.
Days we’ll Remember all our Lives 100 – 1.
Our 100 Days began last June, we have recalled most of the emotion-charged nights, the trophies that have been won and lost by a single goal, the dramatic days that propelled the club to unparallelled glory at home and abroad, the tears that have been shed by bitter disappointments as well as the bitter failures, the heart breaking disasters, the goals which have entered the game’s mythology to become shared treasures or moments or finals which will be revered by fans never to be forgotten.
The full final countdown of our 100 Days will be posted on thisisanfield.com tomorrow morning….