Twenty years ago, millions worldwide gazed on in horror as the worst sporting disaster in British history unfolded. Twenty years ago, 96 men, women and children – Liverpool fans all – died. In some cases, standing straight up.
Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. On April 15th, 1989 during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool Football Club and Nottingham Forest Football Club, grossly overcrowded stands in the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium resulted in 96 fans being crushed to death.
The game was stopped six minutes in, but all evidence indicates that many of that 94 that died that day were already dead. Inadequate facilities, poor design and, in many cases, outright callousness on officials’ behalf resulted in the unnecessary deaths of some who might have been saved had they received proper treatment.
I was 15 when it happened. I remember watching as some fans were pulled to safety in the upper levels. I remember watching as people spilled onto the pitch. But what I remember most was my dad saying “there are people going to die.” I didn’t believe him. It was absurd. No one dies watching a game of soccer. It wasn’t until the next day that the spotty reports were fully confirmed. 94 dead. Four days later, Lee Nicol died from his injuries and the total reached 96 almost 4 years later when Tony Bland died in a coma.
It still feels a bit surreal when I think about it. Even these 20 years on. But there is not a game goes by when I hear the Kop singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” that I don’t tear up. The people of Liverpool have never forgotten. And they never will.
In honour of those 96 who never made it home, the official Baltimore Liverpool FC Supporters group, LFC Box 21231 is hosting a limited seat, semi-formal dinner at Miss Irene’s tomorrow night from 7-10pm. If you are interested in attending contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are unable to attend, you can make a donation to the Hillsborough Family Support Group on the News/Events page on our website www.lfcbox21231.com. No amount is too small, and no support too little for what still burns brightly in many peoples’ minds and hearts.
For more information on the Hillsborough disaster, click on http://downloads.hfinfo.com4HFDContext-n-Consequences.pdf