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Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Mon Apr 15, 2002 11:26 pm

As I start to write this, it is almost 13 years to the minute that the Hillsborough disaster "officially" happened in England.

Hillsborough is the home of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and on the 15th April 1989 was host to the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Liverpool fans had been delayed by a combination of roadworks and police "stop-searches" and as kick-off approached, a huge crowd swelled outside the Leppings Lane end of the ground. Fearful that people might be injured, the police officer in charge ordered an exit gate to be opened to allow fans into the ground. He did not, however, order any attempt to control the crowd as it entered the stadium.

The Leppings Lane terrace itself was old and crumbling. Thanks to the legacy of crowd trouble in the late seventies/early eighties, the terrace had seven foot metal fencing running across the front, plus it was divided laterally into "pens." When the exit gate was opened, the fans surging into the ground went straight ahead, down a tunnel and into the centre pens, already crowded as would be expected of the area directly behind the goal. The crush was horrendous. Somewhen, shortly after the match kicked off at 3pm, one of the crush barriers failed. People at the front of the terrace were pressed against the fencing, their faces turning blue, many starting to pass out.

Some people escaped over the fences, but initially the police tried to throw them back into the crowd. Even when the game was abandoned at 3:06pm, police officers stood round and offered no help.

95 people died on that day, another four hundred injured. Some years later, a fan in a coma had his life support switched off taking the death toll to 96. Many survivors suffered mentally after the disaster and several suicides in Liverpool were linked to that day.

The biggest disgrace has to be the behaviour of the police. Many refused to help, others told tales of drunken fans. A catalogue of lies that were proven as such by CCTV and photos were taken as gospel. Those few who tried telling the truth had their stories quietly brushed under the carpet. Worse was to come with compensation. Survivors and bereaved were awarded little more than £3,000 if anything. Police officers suffering "late-onset post traumatic stress disorder" (more like "need a bit of cash disorder") received up to 100 times MORE than the survivors.

Without question, Hillsborough was not only a dreadful disaster, but it is one of the biggest miscarriges of British Justice, proving that in this country what the police says counts.

More information at:


P.S. I am not a Liverpool fan, nor do I live there. I'm just outraged that this ever happened.
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RE: Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Tue Apr 16, 2002 10:28 am

Very sad event, I'd never heard of it until now
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RE: Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Tue Apr 16, 2002 10:47 am

Sure, you can blame it on the police, but someday you guys are gonna have to face up to the fact that you guys love the game of soccer just a bit too much!  Smile

In all serious, though, that is one of the black days in British history.

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RE: Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:22 pm

But it spelt the end of fans being caged in. The fences were removed from all grounds soon afterwards. And whilst we have had the occasional problem overseas with the England team, violence within domestic grounds has almost disappeared. There was an element of people being treated like animals then behaving like animals.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
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RE: Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:32 pm

The legacy of Hillsborough in that respect is kind of "bitter-sweet." Certainly the new or re-developed grounds create a comfortable environment for watching football. However, in my opinion, it boosted the commercial aspects, increasing the money in the game that has priced many fans out of watching their team.

It is strangely ironic that of the many new grounds built or others rebuilt, Hillborough itself is largely unchanged apart from the addition of seats on the Leppings Lane terrace and minor structural alterations to access points. I don't believe that the seated lower tier is used that often, it wasn't when I last visited.
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RE: Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:41 pm

I supect that may have more to do with the lack of money at Sheffield Wednesday than anything else. That is another legacy of the tragedy, all of the stadia were either rebuilt or knocked down and new ones constructed. When you think of the standard of the grounds fifteen years ago compared to those in other countries, and the grounds we have now there's no comparison.

Pre- Hillsborough (England only):

Wembley - a dump
Old Trafford - not bad, but not what it is today
Anfield - falling apart
Goodison Park - then one of the best, now one of the worst
Maine Road - as Goodison Park
Villa Park - Old
Highbury - as above


You can give a long list of wonderful new or redeveloped grounds.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
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RE: Hillsborough - 13 Years Ago Today.

Tue Apr 16, 2002 9:49 pm

Only problem is, many of the new grounds are so similar apart from the colour of seats, e.g.

new Leicester stadium.

There are some exceptions such as;

Preston North End (still to be finished, but unusual floodlights & past players faces in the seats rather than words)
Millennium Stadium

Saying all that though, I did like Hillsborough. Feels like a "big" ground (acres of empty blue seats may have helped) and has character. PNE winning 3-1 also helped!

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