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Hillsborough Wednesday, 14 April, 1999, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
High price of complacency
Scarves of rememberance (Liverpool Echo)
The Hillsborough stadium disaster of 15 April 1989 claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool supporters, there to cheer their team in the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Ten years on, BBC News's Mike McKay talks to some of those directly affected.

Dave Barber attends the scene of his worst nightmare every day of his working life.

As head groundsman at Hillsborough, home of Sheffield Wednesday, he has to. But the ordeal it has put him through has been terrible.

He still wakes up in the middle of the night, suffering panic attacks. He sometimes dreams he is on the other side of that dreadful steel pen where he remembers five young men "turning as blue as my sweatshirt".

His marriage failed, he spent time in a psychiatric unit and he is still undergoing counselling. He has mixed feelings about counsellors.

"Some help they gave was good - other times, they didn't seem to understand what you needed," says Dave - a gentle man, by his own account, "a bit soft."

"Probably other people have coped better than me," he says with wistful candour. Maybe. But the scars he bears from that day in April, 1989, when he hurtled around the seething western terrace, organising his staff, helping with the casualties, will remain forever.

To this day, he cannot bring himself to enter the centre tunnel through which the ill-fated fans passed onto the western stand.

David Barber
Big match occasions provoke tense, nervy recollections, especially when teams play in red (Liverpool's colour).

So why stay? "It's the only job I know," he says. "And the club have been good to me - very understanding. Friends, colleagues help."

Dave is the first to admit his suffering does not begin to match that of the families who lost sons, daughters, brothers - like the Traynor family from Birkenhead.

A football-mad family, it once had four strapping sons and a daughter. Two of the brothers, Chris, 26, and Kevin, 16, died at Hillsborough.

John, the eldest son, now 41, remembers identifying his two brothers at three o'clock in the morning in the Sheffield Wednesday gym.

Disaster of the decade

"You just lived in a kind of trance," he says. As an Everton fan, he had been attending the other semi-final at Villa Park and followed the unfolding tragedy on his transistor radio.

Joan Traynor
Joan, their mother, became one of the founding members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

One tiny comfort for Joan is the knowledge that Chris, before he died in the crush, saved the life of another man by pulling him off the floor. The man attended Chris's funeral.

The 1980s were a terrible decade for major disasters - the King's Cross underground fire, Lockerbie, Piper Alpha and Hillsborough. I'd witnessed the aftermath of several of them and over a 20-year span, horrors and atrocities abroad.

But on the Tuesday after the Hillsborough tragedy, I was standing in Leppings Lane, watching the endless pilgrimage of football fans, arriving to place scarves, shirts, flowers and other tributes to the dead 96.

It was then I noticed a slim, grey-haired man standing on the bridge overlooking the river Don, next to the stadium.

The memorial at Liverpool's Anfield ground
His back was to me but he was sobbing helplessly, his head in his hands.

At that moment the Hillsborough disaster hit me like a blow to the stomach. The reporter's auto-pilot switched off. This correspondent had seen enough and left for the day.

But the families couldn't walk away - and soon, at last, they will have a memorial built at the Hillsborough ground to remind us all not just of the astonishing courage of many ordinary people - but of the hideous cost of football's complacency.

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