Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Dalglish breaks disaster silence

Kenny Dalglish
Kenny Dalglish managed Liverpool from 1985 to 1991

Football legend Kenny Dalglish has broken his 20-year silence on the Hillsborough disaster, saying that the kick-off should have been delayed.

Ninety-six fans were crushed to death at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium as Liverpool took on Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final on 15 April 1989.

Dalglish, who was manager of Liverpool at the time, said it was something "nobody should forget".

He said police and the FA should have considered delaying the match.

The crush happened when Liverpool fans who had not got into the ground by the time the game kicked off were allowed into an already-crowded section of terracing at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

It's something that everybody wished had never happened but I think it's also something that nobody should forget
Kenny Dalglish

Supporters at the front of the terrace were pushed against metal fencing, which at the time was a common feature of English football stadiums to prevent pitch invasions.

Many fans tried to escape by climbing over the fence or being pulled up by other supporters in to the upper tier. In addition to the 96 who died, several hundred were injured.

The game was stopped after six minutes.

Dalglish, who also played for Liverpool for many years, as well as Celtic and Scotland, said: "The easiest thing to do is just to put the kick-off back a bit. That's no problem for anybody.

Fans spill on to the pitch during the Hillsborough disaster
Fans spilled on to the pitch to avoid the crush on the terraces

"If the police are talking to the FA and the FA have got to make that call, there wouldn't have been any resentment or disagreement with the people in the dressing room, neither Brian Clough [the Nottingham Forest manager at the time] or ourselves certainly.

"It's something that everybody wished had never happened but I think it's also something that nobody should forget."

He added: "We made sure somebody with Liverpool connections was at every funeral and I think the families really respected that.

"The boys weren't obtrusive in any way, they sat back and let the families get on with the grieving but they were there, their presence was there, but they didn't need to have anybody coming up and telling them how grateful they were to have been there, they were there because they wanted to be there."

Dalglish was interviewed for a programme to mark the 20th anniversary of the disaster, the first time he has spoken on camera about the events.



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