Liverpool: The day of the Hillsborough disaster

Written by El-Khoury
It was April 15, 1989, when Liverpool faced Nottingham Forest in Hillsborough for the FA Cup semi-final, but no one could have imagined what would follow. The Friends of the “reds” would be hosted in the small stand of the “Leping Lane Stand” stadium in Sheffield Wednesday. The match started at 15:00, and outside the stands were about 2,000 friends of the team who wanted to enter the stadium by force.
Joy and excitement ended in drama

The enthusiasm of the fans to be on the field to watch their favorite team was huge. It all started six minutes after the official start of the match, when the head of the police force decided to allow the entry of 2,000 Liverpool fans, who had a ticket but did not have time to enter the stadium, due to the increased controls. However, their massive entry caused panic in the already overcrowded stands, resulting in many fans being crammed into the railings and dying of suffocation.

The situation was tragic, people were shouting for help, and one of the police officers entered the field to notify the referee of the immediate elimination of the match. However, the fatalities had already started to pile up, as 94 Liverpool friends had died tragically instantly, including several minors, and two more were hospitalized the following days, where they were treated for serious injuries. The total number injured was 766.

Police omissions and poor field infrastructure

Fans began to break the billboards to use them as stretchers and transport dead people. Nottingham’s friends rushed to Liverpool fans to help in the panic, but Liverpool’s hooligans almost increased the tragedy. Some Liverpool fans ran towards the Forrest’s fans to stab them, but fortunately the Nottingham supporters remained calm, not to complicate things further.

On the other hand, the police and the security guards were on the opposite side of the field and could not do anything to help. Gradually, the playing field began to fill with dead and wounded bodies, while the press blamed the police and the state of the infrastructure of all English stadiums. Kenny Dalglish, a Liverpool footballer and then a coach, remembering that day, could never get over what happened. Once upon a time, when Sheffield Wednesday offered to take over, he refused because of the stadium that reminded him of frightening memories of the black anniversary.

Dalglish had also stated that last year before the Hillsborough tragedy, Liverpool played in the same stadium for the FA Cup semi-finals again with Nottingham Forest and that day not the slightest thing happened. The fans went in an organized manner, accompanied by police officers to the stadium and were obliged to show their ticket 500 yards away from the entrance. This did not happen on April 15, 1989. If the same security measures were repeated, then these 96 supporters might be alive today.

The tragedy of the story and a case that has not been closed yet

The Hillsborough tragedy was a new blow to English football. In fact, just four days before the incident, UEFA had decided to eliminate the British teams to the European Cups, from which they were excluded after the bloody clashes at the Heisel Stadium in Brussels in May 1985. However, with the tragedy at Hillsborough they would wait another two years as a punishment.

The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has ordered an investigation, which was undertaken by Chief Justice Lord Peter Taylor, the reformer of the law against violence in England. A year later, the finding put all responsibility on the local police of South Yorkshire. Two senior officers were fired and brought to trial in 2002 but were acquitted. The first step was to remove the stands for supporters standing and include seats in the stadium, therefore drastically reducing their capacity and increasing the safety of the fans.

The Hillsborough tragedy file has not yet been closed. An independent committee ruled in September 2012 that 41 of the 96 dead could have survived if they had received proper medical care. Many relatives of the victims have already appealed to the European Court of Human Rights from time to time, with the case remaining open.

The list of 96 victims:

John Alfred Anderson (62)
Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)
James Gary Aspinall (18)
Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)
Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)
Simon Bell (17)
Barry Sidney Bennett (26)
David John Benson (22)
David William Birtle (22)
Tony Bland (22)
Paul David Brady (21)
Andrew Mark Brookes (26)
Carl Brown (18)
David Steven Brown (25)
Henry Thomas Burke (47)
Peter Andrew Burkett (24)
Paul William Carlile (19) )
Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)
Gary Christopher Church (19)
Joseph Clark (29)
Paul Clark (18)
Gary Collins (22)
Stephen Paul Copoc (20)
Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
James Philip Delaney (19)
Christopher Barry Devonside (18)
Christopher Edwards (29)
Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)
Thomas Steven Fox (21)
Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)
Barry Glover (27)
Ian Thomas Glover (20)
Derrick George Godwin (24)
Roy Harry Hamilton (34)
Philip Hammond (14)
Eric Hankin (33)
Gary Harrison (27)
Stephen Francis Harrison (31)
Peter Andrew Harrison (15)
David Hawley (39)
James Robert Hennessy (29)
Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)
Carl Darren Hewitt (17)
Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)
Sarah Louise Hicks (19)
Victoria Jane Hicks (15)
Gordon Rodney Horn (20)
Arthur Horrocks (41)
Thomas Howard (39)
Thomas Anthony Howard (14)
Eric George Hughes (42)
Alan Johnston (29)
Christine Anne Jones (27)
Gary Philip Jones (18) )
Richard Jones (25)
Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)
Anthony Peter Kelly (29)
Michael David Kelly (38)
Carl David Lewis (18)
David William Mather (19)
Brian Christopher Mathews (38)
Francis Joseph McAllister (27)
John McBrien (18)
Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)
Peter McDonnell (21)
Alan McGlone (28)
Keith McGrath (17)
Paul Brian Murray (14)
Lee Nicol (14)
Stephen Francis O’Neill (17)
Jonathon Owens (18)
William Roy Pemberton (23)
Carl William Rimmer (21)
David George Rimmer (38)
Graham John Roberts (24)
Steven Joseph Robinson (17)
Henry Charles Rogers (17)
Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)
Inger Shah (38)
Paula Ann Smith (26)
Adam Edward Spearritt (14)
Philip John Steele (15)
David Leonard Thomas (23)
Patrick John Thompson (35)
Peter Reuben Thompson (30)
Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)
Peter Francis Tootle (21)
Christopher James Traynor (26)
Martin Kevin Traynor (16)
Kevin Tyrrell (15)
Colin Wafer (19)
Ian David Whelan (19)
Martin Kenneth Wild (29)
Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
Graham John Wright (17)