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1989: Crushed to death
On Saturday, 15 April 1989, thousands of football fans flocked to Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield to watch the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Liverpool supporters were hoping to see a repeat performance of the previous year's game, when their team had beaten the same opposition at the same ground.

But the day ended in tragedy when too many fans were allowed into an already full stand at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

Ninety-six people were killed, or received fatal injuries, in the resulting crush.

Your memories

I was at Hillsborough in 1989 and, 15 years later, it remains the worst day of my life.

I will never forget coming out of the stadium, shell-shocked and asking a local woman, who kindly allowed us to use her phone, what had happened.

She then told us that she had heard "2, 6, 20, and also up to 50". She meant dead.

We then realised the enormity of what we had just witnessed.

What the hell had happened?

I still feel bitter about all the lies told [about] all the drunken fans deliberately arriving late, urinating on and stealing from the dead bodies.

Well, no prizes for guessing what rag is not welcome in my house.

I will always feel bitter that someone, somewhere in South Yorkshire hasn't had the decency to hold their hands up and say "We got it wrong".

You can't bring back 96 dead people but it would have gone some way to easing the heartache of the victims' families and everyone who can identify with what happened that day, whether they were there or not.

RIP The Hillsborough 96.
Steve Smitton, UK

That day was probably the worst day of my life. I recognised the helmetless policeman in the photograph leaning over the fence and into the crowd, trying to pull fans out because it was me.

That day has had such an effect on my life to the extent that some five or so years later it led directly to my decision to place myself in a position of extreme danger in order to protect the lives of others. It resulted in me receiving severe injuries and eventually to my being retired injured from the force.

My heart goes out to the relatives of those who lost their lives that day, and to the extent that as a police officer I was charged with the duty of protecting others, I live with the grief and guilt of having failed in that duty.

But not all of the victims died that day, some of us are dying in installments because of that legacy. There is not a day goes by that I do not think of what happened and some 14/15 years on I can still recall almost every aspect of it with clarity. I hope that the relatives of those who died that day will forgive me and perhaps allow my own grief to be shared with theirs.
Anon, UK

I was in the Leppings Lane Stand 14 years ago but the emotions (bitterness, sadness and anger) of the day are still very strong. Whilst both my dad and myself were OK, we both were left with a very empty feeling for the people that lost their lives.

The feeling of a whitewash has remained
Tim Lee, England
On the day itself we were practically the first two people in the standing area (we wanted to get there early because we felt that we needed to establish a position below a barrier where nobody would be pushing down on us).

Of course after the event the police were interested in our story - but not when we raised some very pertinent questions on their involvement. The feeling of a whitewash has remained.
Tim Lee, England

I was on the Leppings Lane terrace that fateful day. I watched as the full horror unfolded. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those that died - today and always.
Mark Harrison, England

I was watching the match on the TV.

I had been to all the other games that season but for some reason I didn't go to this one.

I had friends from the Supporters Club I travelled with who went to the game. One of them was pulled up out of the Leppings Lane terraces by people in the seats above.

I was 15 then and remembered thinking how close I had come to being there myself.

A few days later I went to pay my respects at Anfield and the queue to get into the ground was a mile long.

People started to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" and were crying, it was just like being at a funeral.Then there would be complete silence - it seemed like even the cars weren't making any noise. That's the bit I will never forget.

RIP Hillsborough 96. You'll Never Walk Alone.
Louise, UK

Having nearly been crushed to death in the same pens the year previous and, unsuccessfully, remonstrating with the police about it, I knew the dangers.

I watched in disbelief as people had their life squeezed out of them
Terry, England
On the day of the disaster I pleaded with some friends and relatives not to go down the tunnel that said "Terraces". My brother and I had tickets for the stand above the pens and we had no way of knowing if they'd listened.

I had been to hundreds of matches and, looking into those pens at 3pm, I knew it was all wrong. I never saw one minute of the game. I watched in disbelief as people had their life squeezed out of them.

All around us people were trying to pull desperate fans out. The stand was hot, overcrowded, agitated, full of fear. Below was a hell that we could see but nobody else, except those in the control box, could.

Eventually they got some of the fences down and then the dead appeared on the pitch before us. We knew it was awful but couldn't comprehend what we had seen. We waited outside for our companions and watched thousands of "ghosts" walk past us as we searched. They were alive.

We walked, speechless, to the car and put on "Sports Report". No music, just the beginnings of the reality. 74 dead so far.

I drove a car with grown men weeping uncontrollably. I had to get them back to our loved ones who were frantic with worry. I can never get the faces of those people I watched die out of my mind.

They will Never Walk Alone!
Terry, England

The image of death and total chaos still haunts me now and again
Richard, Nottingham
I was at the other end of the ground watching events unveil before me. The image of death and total chaos still haunts me now and again. I went onto the pitch as I work in medicine, but what could you do?
Richard, Nottingham

I was at the other semi-final that day, Everton vs Norwich at Villa Park.

Never have I known the feeling of elation as we beat Norwich and walked out at the final whistle turn to complete despair and shock as we stood at the Witton train station with no singing and only the sound of a radio.

I can't quite believe it's 14 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and anyone who still suffers to this day.
Antonia, UK

On the Saturday afternoon of the disaster I was working on the sports programme at a local radio station. I remember the reports starting to come in, first of crowd trouble, then of some sort of pitch invasion. I was taking these reports through to the on-air sports presenter and in between I was watching the horrific TV pictures of the disaster unfolding.

I clearly remember going into the studio and saying to the presenter that something very, very bad had happened. From then on our programme focussed on the disaster, everything else seemed pretty irrelevant.
Andrew Oldham, UK

I am a Liverpool supporter. When the disaster happened, I was living in France. I'd already moved there when the Heysel disaster happened, and had received a lot of comments from French people then.

After Hillsborough, even though I knew what had happened, it was heart-breaking to see how the French media saw the victims as nothing but hooligans. A good French friend at the time also accused the Liverpool fans of being hooligans, and I have not spoken to him since.
Martin Lang, UK

What had begun as a day of huge anticipation ended in tragedy and sorrow
Tony O'Hagan, UK
I remember watching Saint & Greavsie in the morning who were profiling the game that afternoon. The two teams had met at the same stage the previous year so there was much anticipation of a great match.

That afternoon I was watching a video when a friend came in and said that the Liverpool v Forrest game had been halted due to fans invading the pitch (crowd trouble being the first assumption as to what was going on).

We turned to BBC1 and it was immediately apparent that the situation was serious. I remember seeing advertising boards being used as stretchers.

What had begun as a day of huge anticipation ended in tragedy and sorrow.
Tony O'Hagan, UK

I recall being at Leicester City v Chelsea that day, watching Chelsea lose 2-0 and the end of a very long unbeaten stretch that saw us win the old Division 1.

We were gutted to have just lost a 28-game unbeaten run, but quickly realised it wasn't very important anymore.
Lee, UK
We had heard via a radio that there was "violence" going on at the semi and just dismissed it as another bunch of idiotic hooligans, however we soon realised how wrong we were when we put the radio on in the car and listened to what really happened.

We were gutted to have just lost a 28-game unbeaten run, but quickly realised it wasn't very important anymore.
Lee, UK

I was 10-years-old. It had been my sister's fifteenth birthday two days before, and we went to Thorpe Park theme park on the Saturday. We arrived home to see the news on the TV. I remember, even then, thinking - all those people had died in such a terrible way, while we had been out enjoying ourselves. It left quite a mark on me, even at that young age.
DF, London, UK

I was a first year student at Liverpool University at the time of Hillsborough. Match day was my last day at home on holiday. I drove back up to Liverpool on the Sunday as term began on the Monday.

The local newspaper had rushed out an emergency edition that made for grim reading
Roger, UK
What I remember most about it was the atmosphere in the city. As I drove through the suburbs towards the halls of residence there were groups of people standing on the roadside, many very distressed and had clearly been there all night.

The local newspaper had rushed out an emergency edition that made for grim reading whilst the local radio station had switched to an emergency play list with only easy listening / soft music aired.

The city centre was deserted on nights for a while after the disaster - people understandably were not in the mood to party. The Saturday after all football was banned in Liverpool as a mark of respect.

That day I was luckier than many in Liverpool, I only lost one acquaintance. Some I knew through football lost several friends or acquaintances.
Roger, UK

I recall sitting down in my living room, after coming home from work, kicking off my shoes and beginning to watch the sport on Grandstand as I did most Saturdays.

I have been in severe crushes in several grounds, but this particular situation seemed to be getting uglier by the minute.
John Oliver, England
I had a habit of listening to football commentary on radio, whilst watching sport on the telly and they were saying there was a problem at Hillsborough and then the live pictures appeared on Grandstand.

I didn't know what to make of it at first. The terrace seemed to be packed, but no more packed than normal. I have been a football supporter all my life and I have been in severe crushes in several grounds, but this particular situation seemed to be getting uglier by the minute.

The images are haunting, I can still see them now in my mind's eye. I became absolutely transfixed with what was going on, then when the reports, albeit unconfirmed at the time, of possible deaths were broadcasted, you then look at it a different way. The horror of the faces, the realisation that this is a major tragedy unfolding in front of my eyes and the helpless, sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Being a football fan, you can get a feel for the situation and it makes your blood run cold to think, it could have been me, because we have been there, in surges, crushes, etc. But you don't think the ultimate can happen. But on 15 April 1989, it did.
John Oliver, England

They didn't know there had been a tragedy until they started laying out the bodies in front of their stand
Katrina, UK
I was supposed to go to the match with workmates but didn't. Seeing these men cry when they described how at first they didn't realise what was happening will stay with me forever.

They didn't know there had been a tragedy until they started laying out the bodies in front of their stand. Horrific.
Katrina, UK

I watched it on my Aunty Maureen's black and white TV. I was 11-years-old and had absolutely no idea what I'd seen. When I got to school we all cracked jokes about the disaster, all in bad taste. Then I forgot about it.

It wasn't until I saw an episode of Cracker that focused on the tragedy that I realised what I'd seen and how callous I had been.

I believe it has installed in all of us a better sense of what safety in football means, and hopefully that will prevent a similar disaster ever reoccurring.
Tucky, UK

I remember the TV being on with no sound. Lots of people were "invading the pitch". Suddenly I realised this was not an act of fans but a desperate measure to survive.

Time was in slow motion - I had friends there and I felt so sick. I had never been witness to such destruction and horror and I hope I am never again.

God bless everyone who was involved that day.
Laura, UK

The screams from that end of the ground will stay with me forever
SJ, UK
I was in the main stand with my grandfather and just remember the atmosphere changing from one of pure excitement to one of confusion and horror.

The advertisement hoardings being used as makeshift stretchers and the screams from that end of the ground will stay with me forever.
SJ, UK

It was a sunny afternoon in London and as usual my sisters were over visiting our family home. The TV was on in the background - football - not something any of us girls were interested in.

We were sitting around chatting and as I glanced at the TV screen people were climbing over the high fence onto the pitch. "Oh look", I said to everyone, "There's a pitch invasion".

We all started to watch the television - I think it must have been about five minutes before the horror of what we were watching dawned on us. I remember a police man desperately pulling at the fence trying to create a tiny bit of space.

We were calling out to the television, "Why don't they open the gates". I was angry with the opposing fans who were initially chanting, but when all the ambulances arrived a silence seemed to fill the screen.

We felt a sense of helplessness and despair at seeing so many people fighting for their lives. Our house had been filled with chatter and the sound of children playing when the match started. We now sat in silence trying to understand what we had witnessed.
Julie Traynor, England I was at hillsborough in 1989.

I'm a Forest fan. Our coach was held up in traffic jams on the way to Sheffield and we didn't arrive at Hillsborough till 2:45pm, but passed many pubs at 2:30/2:45pm with Liverpool and Forest fans drinking outside as it was a very hot day.

I can recall people on our bus saying there was going to be a mad rush from the fans to get into the ground before kick off.

I do not think the police should take the whole blame for this sad day, a lot of questions still need to be answered, my thoughts will always be with those who never went home.

I will never go to another football match, the memories, stood helpless watching the victims laid out in front of the kop will never leave me.
Patrick Woodward, England

I was at Villa Park for the other semi watching Norwich. As we came out of the ground feeling down at losing, we had no idea of what had gone on until we got back to the coach.

We all sat stunned for most of the five hour journey back home. Then looking at the papers the next day, it all made the feelings of losing the match seem like a distant memory.
Nik Smith, England

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Fans climbing out of the lower terraces
Too many Liverpool supporters were allowed into already overcrowded pens


Fans trying to clamber over the crowd control barriers
The crowd control barriers prevented fans from escaping the fatal crush
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