The Hillsborough Disaster
of April 15th 1989

On a warm sunny april afternoon, nothing could have been further from the minds of ninety-five* football fans who were to meet with an untimely death at what should have been their football team's hard earned passport to the F.A (football association) Cup final that is played at the national stadium every year in May at Wembley near London.

The game was played at the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, as this was the most neutral of venues for both sets of supporters of the respective Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs.

The host football club, Sheffield Wednesday, was no stranger to the big occasion and had hosted many F.A Cup semi-finals over the years; but even they were totally unprepared for what was about to happen on that fateful day..........

The scenario began about half an hour before the designated 3 o'clock kick off time. The ground had been divided into two parts; with Nottingham Forest supporters at one end and Liverpool fans at the other. Back in 1989, violence was still a problem at most football clubs and fencing had been erected at the majority of clubs to keep rival fans from one another. How sad that this was to play a major part in the deaths of innocent Liverpool supporters.

Outside of the Leppings Lane end of the grounds that had been allocated to the Liverpool fans, time was getting short and some 2000 supporters who had arrived late from their travels over the pennines were desperate to get in on time. Others had merely waited till the last minute whilst enjoying the sunshine, but it all added up to a crowd of 2000 that would eventually play its part in the unfolding disaster.

By quarter to three, with only fifteen minutes before the scheduled kick-off, the crowd outside had doubled to almost 5000. Despite Police efforts, it was obvious the crowd was never going to get in on time. For some strange reason instead of delaying the kick off time as is often done, a decision was taken by the police force to open a large metal concertina exit gate that was to prove fatal for many that day. Instead of relieving the congestion, the bottleneck of the turnstiles remained, but at this newly opened gate, thousands of people now poured through into the ground inadvertantly crushing those already within the ground at the front of the fences.

At nearly five to three, both teams came forth onto the pitch totally unaware of what was happening. The noise of the supporters drowned out the cries of help from those pinned against the fences. Eventually, after what must have seemed like an eternity for those trapped, a small door within the gate was opened and out poured the fans. By now it was six minutes past three and the referee abandoned the game on police advice. Now the pitch, that was to be a haven for heroes that were to send their team forth to Wembley with perhaps the winning goal, became a sanctuary for hundreds who were sweating profusely and gasping for air. Bodies covered the pitch, police were unprepared for the scale of this disaster and soon the fans took the initiative.

Advertising hoardings were ripped apart and used as makeshift stretchers by friends who were well enough to help. Eventually more ambulances arrived to help out the already overstretched staff that were at the game anyway, but the damage was already done and ninety five* innocent lives paid the price.

I was there that day. The only time I have ever been to Sheffield Wednesday's football ground--Hillsborough. I'm a supporter of Sheffield United who play their football at the opposite side of the city--ordinarily I would never have been seen at our rivals home ground unless we were playing them! But over the years that I was following my team, they had both avoided each other with their constant ups and downs in the football league tables, and therefore I was destined not to visit Hillsborough until April 15th 1989. How ironic that was to be for me.

I had just started a job a few weeks earlier as a motorcycle courier, and was told that I would be taking the photos from the game to be quickly processed locally and sent on to the newspapers in London. The wonderful bonus was that I would get as close to a football pitch as is ever possible (other than playing on it!), and I'd be able to watch the first half of the game. 'Wow!' I can remember thinking, 'What a cool job this is! I'm getting paid to watch the game I love! ....mmm.....about time I got some of my money back from the amount of times that I had travelled the country watching my beloved United team.'

The thoughts went on and on.........but sadly they never became reality for me. Instead, I was caught up in one of the saddest days of my life.....helping folk with the stretchers.....calming them down......etc....etc....

But thankfully it wasn't all doom and despair for me. I prayed that day on numerous occasions and I thank the almighty living God for his power and his grace that helped me to help others in a time of desperate him belongs all the glory-always and forever..........

I dedicate this matrix unto all the innocent and precious victims of the Hillsborough Disaster, including the families and friends of each and every one, including the 96th victim, who was kept alive in a comatosed state for a very long time after the event.

The plug was unfortunately pulled from the machine when they realised that he was just being kept alive in a 'vegetable' type of existence. To all families of anyone that died that day; I pray you come to realise that God knows EVERYTHING, including the most insignificant details of life. May you KNOW experientially that He truly loves YOU (whether you realise that or not), and He alone is the only one able to truly heal the pain that Hillsborough brought to your life that day. Will

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