No. 2 – The Heysel Disaster
May 29th remains a day of remembrance in Memoria e Amicizia, in Memory and Friendship for both Juventus and Liverpool supporters.
On 29 May 1985, 39 football fans died when a wall collapsed at the Heysel stadium in Belgium.
What should have been one of the greatest nights in the club’s history turned into a nightmare. Instead of leaving Brussels having seen our team lift a fifth European Cup, Liverpool supporters travelled back to England having witnessed the deaths of 38 Italians and one Belgian.
Aside from the fact that the stadium appeared to be crumbling, Liverpool’s main concern was that there was to be a neutral section of the ground set aside for football fans from Belgium. An hour before the game was due to kick off eye witnesses recalled missiles being thrown from the Italian fans before several fans in the Liverpool section began to run towards them.
Unable to escape, the crowd in the ‘neutral’ section fled towards the far wall, which collapsed under the mounting pressure. Thirty-nine football supporters died where they fell, mostly Italians, and English clubs were susequently banned from European competition for five years, with Liverpool receiving an additional two-year ban.
Dalglish speaking to the official Liverpool website admitted that it wasn’t until the following morning that the Liverpool players finally realised exactly what had happened inside the stadium.
“We saw the Italian fans crying, and they were banging on the side of our bus when we left the hotel,” he recalls. “When we left Brussels, the Italians were angry, understandably so; 39 of their friends had died. I remember well one Italian man, who had his face right up against the window where I was sitting. He was crying and screaming. You feel for anybody who loses someone in those circumstances. You go along to watch a game. You don’t go along expecting that sort of ending, do you? Football’s not that important. No game of football is worth that. Everything else pales into insignificance.”