Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. If you're a football fan from England, April 15th 1989 is definitely one of those dates you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.

During the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, a crush behind the goal killed 96 Liverpool fans. The gates were opened to allow the waiting crowd into the ground causing those already in the Leppings Lane end to be forced forward crushing those at the front against the barriers. The stands behind the goal were entirely standing so the crowd moved as one.

Some caught in the middle fell to the ground and were unable to get back up before being trampled on by the wave of people being pushed forward as more and more people entered the ground trying to get a good view of the game that was under way. The disaster led to the Taylor report and the introduction of all-seater stadia in England.

I was only 11 at the time. I was playing football in the street with friends and we had a small radio with the commentary on so we could hear what was going on. We were sat on our front door step as news started filtering through of people being killed. First 5, 10, 20, then 40, 70. As time went on the numbers continued to rise. We heard rumours that up to 100 were dead, not believing it was possible. In total, 96 people died.

You can read all about the events of that day here, or just by typing the words Hillsborough disaster into any internet search engine..

Disasters like this unite the footballing community and all of the teams playing this week have worn or will wear black armbands as a mark of respect. Whatever your team, or your views on who or what was to blame that day, nobody deserves, nor expects to go to a football match, and never make it home again.

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