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Hillsborough remembrance and related information

Postby GYBS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:51 am

How the Hillsborough disaster happened 
Although it remains the name of the ground of one of England's famous old football clubs, since 1989 the word "Hillsborough" has more strongly evoked Britain's worst sporting disaster.

On 15 April 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death and hundreds more injured on the steel-fenced terraces of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium, which was hosting that year's FA Cup semi-final.




The inquiry into the disaster led by Lord Chief Justice Taylor established that main cause was a failure of police crowd control.

Events began to unfold from around 1430 on what was a bright and sunny day. The game was to be a repeat of the 1988 semi-final, in which Liverpool had faced Nottingham Forest at the same venue.

Liverpool fans had begun arriving at the ground from midday, but had to enter their designated stand at Leppings Lane through a small number of decrepit turnstiles.

Once inside, many made their way on to the terraced lower stand which was ringed with blue-painted steel fences and laterally divided into five separate "pens".

Fencing had been put up by many football clubs during the 1970s and 80s to control crowds and prevent pitch invasions.


A crush of supporters built up outside the ground
By about 1450, pens 3 and 4 - those directly behind the goal - were full, but outside the ground thousands of fans were still waiting to get in.

The pens' official combined capacity was 2,200. It was later discovered that this should have been reduced to 1,600 as crush barriers installed three years earlier did not meet official safety standards.

At 1452, police ordered a large exit gate - Gate C - to be opened to alleviate the crush outside the ground. Around 2,000 fans then made their way into the ground and headed straight for a tunnel leading directly to pens 3 and 4.

This influx caused severe crushing in the pens. Fans began climbing over side fences into the relatively less packed pens 1 and 5 to escape.

It was later estimated that more than 3,000 supporters were admitted to the central pens - almost double the "safe" capacity.

At 1500, the game kicked off. Five minutes later a crush barrier in pen 3 gave way, causing people to fall on top of each other.


Ambulances were hindered in getting into the ground

Supporters continued to climb perimeter fences to escape, while others were dragged to safety by fans in the upper tiers.

At 1506, a policeman ran on to the pitch and ordered the referee to stop the game. In the chaotic aftermath, supporters tore up advertising hoardings to use as makeshift stretchers and tried to administer first aid to the injured.

The authorities' response to the disaster was slow and badly co-ordinated. Firefighters with cutting gear had difficulty getting into the ground, and although dozens of ambulances were dispatched, access to the pitch was delayed because police were reporting "crowd trouble".

Of the 96 people who died, only 14 were ever admitted to hospital.

Report findings

In his interim report on 4 August 1989, Lord Justice Taylor wrote that the key element of police control at fault was the failure to close off the tunnel leading to pens 3 and 4 once Gate C had been opened.

He went on to criticise police for their failure to handle the build-up of fans outside the ground properly, and their slow reaction to the unfolding disaster.

Some of his strongest words were reserved for the police commander, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, for "failing to take effective control", and South Yorkshire police, who attempted to blame supporters for the crush by arriving at the ground "late and drunk".

Despite the Taylor report, which was also critical of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Sheffield City Council, on 14 August 1990 the director of public prosecutions decided not to bring criminal charges against any individual, group or body on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Inquests into the deaths of the victims returned a majority verdict of accidental death, but many families did not accept this and began to campaign for a fresh inquiry.

In the wake of renewed public and media interest in the disaster which followed the broadcast of Jimmy McGovern's documentary-drama Hillsborough in 1996, Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered a "scrutiny of evidence".



Duckenfield (L) and Murray faced displinary proceedings and both left the force
Lord Justice Stuart-Smith was appointed to review "new" evidence which had not been submitted to the inquiry or inquests and also dozens of police and witness statements, apparently critical of police, which had been altered.

Lord Justice Stuart-Smith's conclusion was that the fresh evidence did not add anything significant to the understanding of the disaster, and that while statements should not have been edited, this was simply an "error of judgement".

Jack Straw accepted the findings and ruled out a new inquiry, but in August 1998 the Hillsborough Family Support group brought charges of manslaughter against David Duckenfield and his deputy, Superintendent Bernard Murray, in a private prosecution.

The case came to trial in 2000. After six weeks the jury found Mr Murray not guilty of manslaughter, and said it could not reach a verdict on Mr Duckenfield.

The judge, Mr Justice Hooper, ruled out a majority verdict and refused a retrial on the grounds that Mr Duckenfield had faced public humiliation and a fair trial would be impossible.

In 2006, Anne Williams, the mother of 15-year-old victim Kevin Williams, took a case to the European Court of Human Rights challenging the verdict of the original inquest.

Family support groups and campaigners believe that if the court decides that there is a case to be heard, it will place pressure on the British government to open a new inquiry
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Postby GYBS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:52 am

On 15 April 1989, the Hillsborough disaster sent shock waves across Britain. At Sheffield Wednesday's stadium, 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in a crush during the FA Cup semi-final.

 


How the Hillsborough disaster happened 

An official inquiry, conducted by Lord Justice Taylor, blamed poor policing and inadequate facilities. But no-one has ever been successfully prosecuted for the tragedy.

Many survivors and bereaved family members still hope that justice will one day be done. Here, some explain how the day transformed their lives.


THE SURVIVOR
Damian Kavanagh from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, was 20 when he was caught in the crush.

 
Before, I would have changed places with the 96

Damian Kavanagh
We couldn't move left, right or anything. There was no help coming to us and we knew we weren't going to get any. The police were just ignoring the screams for help.

Somehow, I managed to wriggle up a little bit. I crawled over the heads of all the people, escaping through a gate in the perimeter fence.

I remember kneeling down on the pitch and getting grass stains on my knees. I broke down, started to cry, but got myself together quickly and then helped carry the injured on the advertising boards.

Afterwards, the Sun newspaper said it was our fault, which clearly it wasn't.

The allegations were that the fans were pick-pocketing the dead, urinating on a policeman while he was giving the kiss of life - even repeating the allegations is hard work. They're not even believable, are they?

I just cannot describe the rage about that. It's still there and always will be.



Pat Joynes reflects on the death of her son Nick at Hillsborough
It took a couple of years for me to go in and do a proper day's work.

Inch by inch, it was a very slow process which must have been very difficult for my mum and dad to watch.

I'd be out on the ale, having a pint with my mates, and I'd just go home crying.

But because I've gone to counselling, because I'm a talker, that's helped me.

I went to see an RAF psychologist as part of the legal process and inquiry. He diagnosed me with moderately severe post traumatic stress disorder. He had debriefed Gulf War veterans and said I talked about life in the same way.

THE AFTERMATH
Taylor Report, published in 1990, recommended all-seater stadiums
Police criticised for poor handling of crowds
Allegations made that ticketless Liverpool fans helped cause the disaster
But Lord Taylor said: "The figures do suggest that there was not a very significant body of ticketless fans in the crowd which built up"
Police officer in charge and deputy subject of private prosecution for manslaughter in 2000
Jury could not reach verdict over former chief superintendent David Duckenfield
Application for retrial rejected
Former superintendent Bernard Murray acquitted

It's difficult to watch the telly sometimes. When the tsunami happened, I couldn't really watch it - it was the same with 9/11. It touches a raw nerve, taking us back to our own darkest of days.

My son James, who was born in 1998, has straightened me out. Before, I would have changed places with the 96. But I can't say I feel like that now because of James.

I'm not trying to big myself up. But there's a lot of people who were in my situation who can't even talk about it. I think it's important that the truth is told.

It's hard to go through it over again but it has to be done so people understand what really happened.

The lies did their job because the heads of those responsible didn't roll. You'll notice how much we want to talk about it, but now the silence is deafening from the people who said bad things about us.

The truth is on our side, so we'll never go away.


THE FATHER
John Glover lost his 20-year-old son Ian at Hillsborough. A decade later, another son, Joe, who had been badly traumatised by the tragedy, was killed in an industrial accident. John co-founded the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

I was watching the snooker on television when a newsflash came up saying there were problems at Hillsborough.


Ian Glover was among the 96 victims
I knew my sons were there - they used to go to see Liverpool all the time. But I thought they would be all right because they got there early.

My wife took the phone call. It was my eldest son John. He said Joe and Ian had both been in the crush, and Ian had died.

Even now, I just can't describe how I felt.

In 20 years my family has never been the same. I didn't just lose one son at Hillsborough. I lost two.

For a long time, Joe slept on the grave of his dead brother.

They said he was so traumatised he'd never work again. By 1999 he'd found a job.

Then he was crushed to death while unloading a wagon. He died pushing his friend out of the way of a five-tonne marble load and taking the weight himself.

Hillsborough just destroyed me. For a long time I was taking Prozac tablets and lithium. I just dread anything like this happening again.



Delores Steele: "It took six hours before we located Phillip"
Ricky Tomlinson played me in Jimmy McGovern's TV drama about Hillsborough. I thought his performance was very good. But to be honest with you, I've never been able to watch it all the way through.

I thought Lord Justice Taylor's summing up was more or less right - it was a failure of police control.

But the people responsible are still walking free.

I don't know whether justice will ever be done. But I have to keep fighting for my sons. I just want the truth.


THE COUPLE
Kenny Derbyshire, 42, and Wendy White, 43, were both at Hillsborough. They have been together for two-and-a-half years.

Wendy: I was in the front row of the stand above where it all happened. I had a bird's eye view.

We saw a lad about 12 or 13 down below and I shouted: "Get him out of there." My friend managed to pull him out. Others started pulling up people to try and help them.


Kenny Derbyshire and Wendy White were brought together by the disaster

I went into shock afterwards. I'd be shaking quite a lot. The worst bit was when someone at work tried to tell me what had happened.

They said: "It was just the fans trying to get in." I was stunned.

Looking back, I think I would have benefited from counselling. But it was difficult to acknowledge that someone else is going to know how to help you.

I'd been brought up to believe in authority, but they couldn't acknowledge what had happened. I became very cynical.

I went to an away game and I saw someone in a Hillsborough Justice Campaign T-shirt. Through getting involved I met Kenny.

I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because I could talk to somebody.

Kenny: I was pulled up into the stands where Wendy was, although I didn't know her at the time.

I sometimes wonder about the fella who pulled me up: whether he's still alive and what happened to him.

You just couldn't get away from it. It was with you 24/7.

My performance dropped at work. Two months afterwards I was given my redundancy. I was unemployed for two years.


Some fans managed to escape onto a tier above the main crush
What [Sun editor Kelvin] Mackenzie wrote stunned the whole of Liverpool. We're still stung today by the lies he wrote.

Those 96 people lost their lives, and it's hard to believe that they can't get the justice they deserve.

One day we'll get justice. Maybe when we do get justice, the pain will go away.

But I did meet Wendy. We used to meet for a cup of tea. We became best friends.

She knows what I'm going through and I know what she's going through. In the past, I'd mention it to girlfriends, but they wouldn't understand.

We've just got a house together and we're getting married next year. That's the only good thing to come out of Hillsborough.





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Below is a selection of your comments.

This was such a sad disaster. At the time I was a serving police officer in Birmingham, and participated in the policing of many cup and first division games at Villa Park. The problem prior to the Taylor report was that the clubs paid big wages to players, but left all the organisation down to the police. At the turn of a hat, for instance, the club would decide to have a match, and then inform the police at the last minute. Stewarding was none existent, the grounds were archaic and unsafe. At Birmingham city the mens' urinal was a brick wall painted with bitumen paint. Rusty old corrugated iron, and asbestos sheeting, cages like a zoo, squalor... And the fans being made to pay a fortune for this. The deaths of these people brought forward tremendous improvements.
Bryan, Rugeley

I was there with my brother, dad and two of my brothers friends, we all had season tickets, and always will follow Liverpool football club. It deeply affected all of us in different ways and still does. Tomorrow at about three o'clock I am going to stop working and go outside and just have a moment's silence to myself and breathe in the fresh air, and to remember them 96 fans who can never do that again.
Nikki Smith, Leeds, West Yorks

My Dad and brother couldn't find me after the match (as there were no mobiles then). The people of Sheffield were fantastic and opened up their front doors where we queued to use their phones (one call each, leaving money on the side). I phoned my Mum so as she could let our family know I was OK. The bloke who played Terry in Brookside was in front of me in the queue. We didn't speak, everyone was in shock. My younger brother left my Dad at the car and eventually found me. He hugged me. We both cried. We will never forget.
David Price, Newport, Monmouthshire

I was caught in a crush trying to get in the Leppings Lane end at a semi-final four years earlier in 1981 at the Spurs v Wolves game. We missed most of the first half and upon complaining to the police a number of us Spurs fans were escorted to the Wolves end. After the game I went to the old FA headquarters at Lancaster Gate to complain. I eventually received a letter of apology and an offer of two tickets for a future FA cup semi-final. Within the letter it explained that police instructions were that no matter which part of the ground Spurs fans had standing tickets for, they were to be re-directed to the Leppings Lane end. The letter admitted there were in excess of 2,500 people through the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end than the stand was intended to accommodate. When claiming my "free" ticket for the following year I had to send in the letter. My one regret is that I did not keep copy. Every time I see the footage I always think that could have been me and my friends in 1981.
Bob Barclay, Chelmsford, Essex

My best friend's uncle died at Hillsborough, he was 29. My most vivid memory is going to his mum's house the next day and seeing the devastation on everyone's faces. He was from a typically large Liverpudlian family. I think that's the worst thing, seeing the family try to carry on, see his fiancee sobbing, and not knowing what to do. So we went to the Kop and laid flowers.
Lesley, Warrington

I am a Man United fan and was caught in a crush trying to get in the Leppings Lane end at a semi-final four years earlier. It was a frightening experience but we were treated like scum by the police and stewards who were not able to cope. What happened in '89 was a terrible accident waiting to happen but no lessons were learned after '85. As a football fan with no particular love for LFC, my heart goes out to the families and friends of the bereaved and to the survivors. There is no place for club rivalry in the face of such horrific events affecting ordinary football-loving people.
Brian Leyland, Wrexham UK

I was at Hillsborough both in '88 and '89, same day, same team. '88 was perfect into the ground, '89 was chaos. I was crushed against the turnstiles going in and three men managed to push me through. Me and my mate where halfway down the tunnel when he decided he wanted something to eat so we walked back out. We stood and watched as gate C was opened and hundreds poured through, straight down the tunnel. We made our way around the side of the ground back towards the centre of the goal. What I saw there will never leave me. I try not to think about it or talk about it too much as the images in my head are still so vivid. I was lucky when so many never made it home that day.
Richard, Wirral, England

Regardless of what football team you support you can't help to feel deeply saddened at what happened. The silver lining of this cloud is that lessons were learnt and it hasn't happened since in the UK. We have much better quality stadiums that for most leagues are all seated, no fencing and the quality of policing and stewarding has dramatically improved. Going to football games is a much safer experience now.
Alex, Birmingham, UK

My son was at the front and suffered back injuries. However the greatest injury was to his mind he has spent the past 20 years in and out of hospital. He lost a promising career. My son went to Hillsborough but a different lad came home. We still live with its effects and the loss and pain.
Jacquline Tully, Wigan

I was working as an RGN in Doncaster on the fateful day, the first we heard was when we were told to expect transfers from Sheffield hospitals making room for the injured. We then all gathered round the TVs to watch the tragedy as it unfolded. Several of our staff had family members at the match.
Trish Randall, Palm Bay, Florida

I remain proud that my team, Arsenal, were not permitted to hold semi-finals because our Board refused to erect the fences at the front of the stands.
Mo, Bedford

It is shocking that 20 years on no-one has been held accountable for the decisions taken that day that led to the deaths of 96 innocent football fans. I was 18 at the time and 20 years after the Taylor Report was implemented, Northern Ireland's football venues have still to benefit from it.
Alex, Belfast

My best friend was at Hillsborough, he was one of the Forest fans who helped by using advertising hoardings as makeshift stretchers. He still can't talk about that day and has never been to Hillsborough since.
Steve, Nottingham

Even today football fans are treated badly. Home or away I've never paid so much money to be treated so badly. Herded like animals and threats to report you to police if you even dare to complain about something to a steward. I recently asked to be allowed out of a stadium as I had left my money in the car. I politely explained the situation only to find myself being threatened with expulsion for daring to question the re-entry policy was. There is no other place I can think off that treats you so badly as a sold-out football club. With many on the waiting list for season tickets, they can afford to be unhelpful.
Andy, Glasgow

I think that we have learnt a valuable lesson from this tragedy and football grounds are much safer these days. I am a regular to the England games at the new Wembley - the organisation that has to go in to get the thousands of fans in and out of the ground is second to none. My thoughts and prayers go to all the families in Liverpool at this sad time.
Paul Carre, Winchester

As the match was not being televised, the kick off should have been delayed. I've been at games when that has happened - if there are roadworks, a late supporters' train or whatever. Delaying the KO would have eased the push from outside since fans would have had more time to get in safely. The police chief and the referee should have made this decision.
Gordon, Glasgow

In Scotland in 1971 we had a disaster comparable to Hillsborough at Ibrox, it didn't result in any legislation but to Rangers FC's credit it resulted in them building a modern stadium.
Derek, Paisley

I was there with brothers and friends. We had travelled in the trusty "match-mobile" which had taken us to many stadiums around the country for several years previously. Everything normal... by 3.06pm that day everything had changed. We all survived because we were lucky enough to have tickets for another section, but to this day I think it could easily have been us. Instead of relief I have guilt. I could do nothing to help. I still see flash-backs of broken bodies and wonder how the victims' families whose lacerated souls must ache every day cope. God bless.
Paul Robinson, Anfield, Liverpool

I am an Everton fan and remember being excited about the prospect of an all Merseyside derby. I was in Dundee following Hearts and remember a tannoy announcement at half-time saying that the game had been abandoned due to crowd trouble. Once our game had finished, it soon turned out this was not the case. Watching the horrific events on TV that night will live with me forever. It was fitting that Liverpool won the trophy that year, and no one grudged them that.
Stuart, East Calder

Why would prosecuting the police help anyone? I understand that families of the 96 want justice, but at the end of the day it wouldn't help anyone by prosecuting individuals. Any policeman involved will have lived with what happened all these years and that is a terrible burden to bear.
Emma, Manchester

Emma, there are so many levels of injustice and pain directed toward the treatment of the fans, bereaved and bystanders that day it is beyond belief. It's so difficult to appreciate unless you look into the facts of the day and the aftermath, so I forgive anyone for shrugging their shoulders at it. Ignorance is bliss. But put yourself in the shoes of families and friends of those who were lost. You would feel different. And that is why it will not be forgotten.
David Evans, Liverpool

If the crush barriers were not up to standard why use Hillsborough for the match? Why not use a ground more suitable for an event such as this?
Dave Pritchard, Coventry

Mr Pritchard, all grounds at the time were of this general type. It could have happened anywhere. The problem wasn't so much the crush barriers as it was the great wire pens around the stands that prevented anybody getting out.
Ian Hampson, Manchester

I was only nine, sitting at home excited about seeing Liverpool in an FA Cup semi-final, then some of the worst images I have ever seen were broadcast. It brought a tear to my eye then and it still does. The tragedy will never be forgotten.
Kevin, Guildford

I was at Highbury watching Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-0 that day. The full enormity of the horror became clear after the game, I can remember the pub jam-packed full of supporters, watching the footage on TV. You could have heard a pin drop in there. Everyone was having the same thought, "there but for the grace of God..." Ninety-six innocent fans, and their friends and families, paid the ultimate price that day for the years of violence and neglect inflicted upon our national game. Supporters were treated like animals week in week out, hence the initial assumption they were troublemakers at the front of the Leppings Lane end intent on invading the pitch, not human beings fighting for their lives. The small percentage of "supporters" that caused trouble during the 70s and 80s ensured that the perception by the government, authorities and police that if you attended a football match, you were a troublemaker. That day changed football forever.
Matt P, W Sussex
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Postby GYBS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:53 am

Reunited: Hillsborough survivor and his rescuer 

David Gillooley and Fiona Nichol meet for the first time in 20 years

Ninety-six people died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989, and Liverpool fan David Gillooley believes he would have been among them if not for one woman - police officer Fiona Nichol.

She pulled fans to safety, creating space for Mr Gillooley to breathe and survive.

BBC Radio 5 Live brought them together for the first time in 20 years.

"I feel incredibly lucky to be alive." As he says this, David Gillooley's voice breaks. He is saying it to the woman he believes saved his life on Hillsborough's terraces all those years ago.

"I've been thinking about it for 20 years. I didn't think I'd be here to say thanks."

David - 26 at the time - had arrived at Sheffield Wednesday's ground late after his car broke down.

"I went through the turnstiles with my mate and we went left, into the left-hand pen. There was a load of people behind us. We got pushed down towards to pitch. I couldn't see my friend at all.

FROM BBC RADIO 5 LIVE


More from BBC Radio 5 live 

"I was a seasoned Liverpool fan then, I'd stood in the Kop for years and years, and I just knew that there was something wrong."

It was Fiona Nichol's day off, but her colleagues in the community team had urged her to join them and work at the match. She was positioned at the Liverpool end.

"I remember walking up and down and talking to the fans in the pens. I remember seeing some scouts and I talked to one of the scout masters for quite a while.

"Things were happening but I didn't know at the time. I didn't have a radio, didn't have any communication, but I went into the left-hand pen where the scouts were, and I started telling them to get out.

"I didn't know what was happening but something was amiss."

"That's the really interesting thing about this," said Mr Gillooley, "because I knew that there was something wrong.

"I knew that there was a crush that was getting worse and I knew that I was in trouble.

"I was shouting up at an officer in the upper tier and nothing was being done. And I was turning to the pitch and all I could see was not a lot being done. You could hear fans saying that someone had died and saying we've got to get out, we've got to get out.


David told Fiona he feels lucky to be alive

"A couple of girls came past me and one of them had passed out. And I was pinned up against the barrier. I felt really, really scared then."

To Fiona he said: "I didn't know what to do, I couldn't move. But you were at the back. You were the only one to me that took any initiative."

She says her aim was to get to the scouts.

David said: "I saw you pull people out. I saw you pull big fellas out. And you kept pulling and pulling and pulling, and it got to the point where I could feel less pressure. Now, without a shadow of a doubt, that's down to you.

"I've been thinking about it for 20 years and I didn't think I'd be here to sit next to you and all I can say is thanks."

Fiona said: "I can't say to this day what made me react. I remember seeing one of the cub scouts, he was 10 or 11 years old, and he had a look of absolute terror on his face. So I opened the gate of the left-hand pen - the one you were in - to get the cub scouts out.

"That look of sheer terror - I didn't know what it was about or why he was frightened. Nothing looked any different from any other football match I'd been to. It was just his face."

Fiona describes someone shouting "help him" and it was a small boy. She says she was pulling people out around David to get to the boy.

David asked her if she managed to get to him.

"He was one of the boys that died," said Fiona. "Him and his dad died that day."

David's daughter was six weeks old when he was at Hillsborough.

"Driving home that day [I was] thinking, 'She nearly lost her dad'. I feel incredibly lucky to be alive."
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Postby GYBS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:53 am

'We were grasping for survival' 

By Mark Edwardson
BBC North West Tonight presenter 



Mark was trapped in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium

Saturday 15 April 1989 was a gorgeous spring day packed with hope and optimism. My beloved Liverpool were due to face Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

No-one could have predicted that on such a beautiful day more than 90 of my fellow supporters would lie dead.

When I arrived at the ground just after 1.30pm, it was already clear there were too many people queuing at Leppings Lane, the enclosure I held a ticket for.

Police were desperately trying and failing to control the thousands who arrived over the next hour or so.

I ended up being crushed against a wall just in front of the pitifully tiny turnstiles. It was obvious things were not going well.

Eventually my ticket was checked, the stub was removed and I made my way across the concourse towards a tunnel beneath the stand relieved the worst was over.

At the other end of the tunnel the central pens were already full.

When I got there at about 2.30pm they were packed and I was standing right at the back.

A quarter of an hour later I was half way towards the pitch - and importantly the fans who had been in front of me remained so.

  We'd been looking forward to a great game of football and now we were gasping for breath and grasping for survival

Mark Edwardson

We were jammed solid and things were getting worse. More spectators were pouring in behind us after the police, who had lost control, opened a large gate allowing a slew of people uncontrolled access to the stadium.

A sense of mild concern had grown to panic and then, as the crowd became a solid mass of humanity, to blind terror.

We'd been looking forward to a great game of football and now we were gasping for breath and grasping for survival. As we know, dozens of us were unsuccessful.

One of those people may have been a man who, I'm guessing, was in his 60s.

I spent half an hour pushed up against him with he in turn wedged against a crush bar. I never saw his face. I had my back to him throughout. But I'm haunted by his voice.

He was pleading with me to give him space to allow him to breathe. He was screaming in agony telling me he was suffering a heart attack.

I've no reason to doubt his plight was anything less than grave. I hope he survived - but I've no way of knowing.



Mark Edwardson return to Hillsborough for the first time in 20 years
Another man, to whom I probably owe my life, was stood in front of me. We were face to face, our chests forced together as if we were in some horrible embrace.

Like everyone else I was desperate for air and space and on the verge of passing out.

Foolishly, I decided that as I couldn't rise above the crowd to relieve the pressure and breathe I'd go down to where my legs were telling me there was more space and perhaps some refuge.

Realising what I was trying to do he screamed at me, eyes wide, urging me not to do it. He shouted in my face: "You'll never come back up!"

He wasted his own precious oxygen to make sure I stayed where I was. I would like to meet him to express my genuine and sincere gratitude.

It was 3.25pm when I was pulled through the tiny gate and on to the pitch. I was greeted by the most horrific scene I've ever encountered.

Justice for 96

The faces of the less fortunate were still pressed up against the fence, their features contorted with fear and desperation, some of them waiting not for rescue, but for death.

Others on the pitch, lifeless and blue, were being carried away not by the emergency services but by fellow fans in the vain hope they could be resuscitated.

Yet more dazed and confused fans were wandering around taking deep lungfuls of air - probably the first proper breaths they'd gulped for an hour.

And then the sound - not of the dying nor the injured screaming in pain and agony - but some Forest fans chanting "Hysel" as the bodies of some of my fellow fans were being laid out on the grass.

The disaster prompted some positive changes. No more fences and all-seater stadia amongst them. The Taylor report absolved the fans of any blame for the tragedy and quite rightly.

But in my personal opinion, those responsible for the tragedy, from the police pushing fans escaping from the crush back over the fence to the higher echelons of South Yorkshire Police, have never been made to answer for their actions.

Until that happens, there can never be justice for the 96.
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Postby GYBS » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:00 am

Liverpool striker John Aldridge was in the starting XI and watched the events unfold.



John Aldridge was in the Liverpool team
"We went to the players' lounge and we had BBC One on.

"John Motson was doing the commentating and he said there were 30-odd dead - we couldn't believe it," he told a special BBC Football Focus programme last Saturday.

"We then got on the bus and heard that the number was about 60 or so.

"I got home and didn't know what to do. Then me and my wife watched the news.

"That was it. We just broke down. That's when it hit home. You can't put into words."



Grobbelaar remembers the wails and screams
Bruce Grobbelaar , Liverpool's goalkeeper that day, witnessed the events unfurl just yards from where he was standing.

"I, for one, was closest to the paddock and I noticed when the game started...people were asking me to try and help them because their faces were right up against the fence," he said.

"I asked the person at the gate to open and release the pressure. When the ball went out again I ran to the referee.

"Everyone was in shock for many days and hours afterwards - we were in a complete daze.

"From that day until now nobody has been put up and said it's your fault. Someone is out there who was guilty."



Gerrard on how the tragedy affected him
A cousin of current Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard - Jon-Paul Gilhooley aged 10 - was one of the 96 who died on the Leppings Lane terraces.

"It was difficult knowing one of your cousins had lost his life," the 28-year-old England international said.

"Seeing his family's reaction drove me on to become the player I am today."


THE AFTERMATH
BBC commentator Steve Wilson was at the match as a supporter and went back to Hillsborough as part of the Football Focus tribute.

"I was 21 in April 1989 - older than many of those who died," he said last week in his blog.

STEVE WILSON BLOG
I hadn't stood on the Leppings Lane in the 20 years that have passed. I expected it to be difficult. It was.

"In the 20 years since, I have been blessed with a happy marriage, three children and a fulfilling career.

"What might the 96 have done in that time? What love affairs have never been, what friendships never forged, what children never conceived?

"The game has changed, and some say not completely for the better.

"But if you are lucky enough to be able to take your children to a match and sit in safety; to be treated with respect by those who police our grounds and to get home again without being crushed or scared, give those 96 a thought."


Hansen's 'bad emotions'
Many of the survivors and bereaved families are still waiting for those responsible for the events 20 years ago to be brought to justice.

An official inquiry, conducted by Lord Justice Taylor, blamed poor policing and inadequate facilities. But no-one has ever been successfully prosecuted for the tragedy.

"There's a lot of people who were in my situation who can't even talk about it," survivor Damian Kavanagh told BBC News. "I think it's important that the truth is told."

"It's hard to go through it over again but it has to be done so people understand what really happened."

Text accounts: Shock waves of a tragedy


REACTION
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the coverage of the day's tragic events in some newspapers at the time had left some deep wounds for the club and city.

"People will never forget that day - it's etched on our memories," he told Liverpool TV.

"That's probably what matters most - that people understood that the behaviour of Liverpool fans in helping each other was magnificent.

"That it was wrong for people to blame, as some did, Liverpool fans on that day. People have learned first of all not to rush to instant judgments. Some of the people who did rush to instant judgments have been proven wrong.

"Let's never forget the fans who cruelly lost their lives on a day when we know the people of Liverpool were trying to help each other."

David Moyes, manager of Liverpool's bitter local rivals Everton, said the tragedy united a city normally divided by football passions.

"It could have been any football club, it just turned out to be Liverpool. That situation then could have happened to anyone at that time," said Moyes.

"It is something that hopefully we will never see again.

"And for all the rivalry we have got between each other, blue and red in this city, it is only a game we play and you go to matches wearing your colours.

"I remember doing that with my dad as a young boy, a lot of parents take their children to games. But that time they did not come home, and that is something that should never have been allowed to happen.

"Let's just hope that it never does again. And in some way I hope for the people who have lost loved ones and had their time grieving, that the memorial service at Anfield will make it a little bit easier for them."
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