Back in 1989 I was a fresh-faced Luton Town supporter (this should clear that up) and on 15th April went to watch the Hatters play Coventry City at Kenilworth Road. The game finished 2-2 and on the way back to the car we stopped in the shop where we always stopped, and I bought myself a mint aero with the money I had left over from buying a programme (it’s funny the things you remember).
The radio was on in the shop, and the news was reporting that the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough had been abandoned to due “crowd trouble”. I distinctly remember saying to my friend “typical Liverpool fans”, much to the disgust of the Liverpool-shirt wearing shopkeeper. His name was Raj (another detail that I remember very clearly).
If I’d known what had actually happened I would probably have said something a little more sympathetic or respectful but I was 9 and a Luton Town supporter – two things which on their own don’t particularly lend themselves to quotes of Churchill proportions; and when combined it’s a wonder I could tie my own shoelaces or talk at all – but I digress.
Listening to the radio on the way home the details were still pretty sketchy. All we really knew was what we had heard in the shop; that the game was abandoned due to crowd trouble and the indications were that a lot of people had been in hurt. We all continued – like a lot of people I suspect – to assume the “crowd trouble” related to hooligans and therefore some sort of fighting.
I didn’t know what was actually going until I saw the news at home where it soon became apparent what had occurred, and not to put too fine a point on it I felt sick.
As more details emerged the day became blacker and blacker, and I remember watching Match of the Day that night on the black and white TV in my room in tears.
This video shows how the disaster was reported on TV in the UK on the day:
The Hillsborough Disaster claimed the lives of 96 people:
John Alfred Anderson (62) , Thomas Howard (39), Colin Mark Ashcroft (19), Thomas Anthony Howard (14), James Gary Aspinall (18), Eric George Hughes (42) , Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16) , Alan Johnston (29), Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67), Christine Anne Jones (27), Simon Bell (17), Gary Philip Jones (18), Barry Sidney Bennett (26), Richard Jones (25), David John Benson (22), Nicholas Peter Joynes (27), David William Birtle (22), Anthony Peter Kelly (29), Tony Bland (22), Michael David Kelly (38), Paul David Brady (21), Carl David Lewis (18), Andrew Mark Brookes (26), David William Mather (19), Carl Brown (18), Brian Christopher Mathews (38), David Steven Brown (25), Francis Joseph McAllister (27), Henry Thomas Burke (47), John McBrien (18), Peter Andrew Burkett (24), Marion Hazel McCabe (21), Paul William Carlile (19), Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21), Raymond Thomas Chapman (50), Peter McDonnell (21), Gary Christopher Church (19), Alan McGlone (28), Joseph Clark (29), Keith McGrath (17), Paul Clark (18), Paul Brian Murray (14), Gary Collins (22), Lee Nicol (14), Stephen Paul Copoc (20), Stephen Francis O’Neill (17), Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23), Jonathon Owens (18), James Philip Delaney (19), William Roy Pemberton (23), Christopher Barry Devonside (18), Carl William Rimmer (21), Christopher Edwards (29), David George Rimmer (38), Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34), Graham John Roberts (24), Thomas Steven Fox (21), Steven Joseph Robinson (17), Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10), Henry Charles Rogers (17), Barry Glover (27), Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23), Ian Thomas Glover (20), Inger Shah (38), Derrick George Godwin (24), Paula Ann Smith (26), Roy Harry Hamilton (34), Adam Edward Spearritt (14), Philip Hammond (14), Philip John Steele (15), Eric Hankin (33), David Leonard Thomas (23), Gary Harrison (27), Patrik John Thompson (35), Stephen Francis Harrison (31), Peter Reuben Thompson (30), Peter Andrew Harrison (15), Stuart Paul William Thompson (17), David Hawley (39), Peter Francis Tootle (21), James Robert Hennessy (29), Christopher James Traynor (26), Paul Anthony Hewitson (26), Martin Kevin Traynor (16), Carl Darren Hewitt (17), Kevin Tyrrell (15), Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16), Colin Wafer (19), Sarah Louise Hicks (19), Ian David Whelan (19), Victoria Jane Hicks (15), Martin Kenneth Wild (29), Gordon Rodney Horn (20), Kevin Daniel Williams (15), Arthur Horrocks (41), Graham John Wright (17).
It’s a day I know I’ll never forget.