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Twenty years later, Hillsborough tragedy haunts Liverpool

Twenty years later and the Liverpool FC family are still mourning their loss.

Twenty years later and the Liverpool FC family are still mourning their loss.

On April 15, 1989, a small city of Liverpool supporters, 24,000 to be specific, travelled to Sheffield, England, to watch their beloved Reds in a FA cup semi-final match against Nottingham Forest.

Ninety-six would never return, in what would become England’s worst sporting tragedy,
the Sheffield stadium, known as Hillsborough, was a reflection of that age in English football.

Like many other stadiums, Hillsborough had erected high steel fencing to keep opposing supporters apart in response to the hooliganism that had ravaged the sport — the standing room-only sections were called pens.

They could have been called prisons on this day.

As wave after wave of Liverpool supporters poured into the stadium — some with tickets, some without — police were unable or unwilling to direct the human traffic. As a result, thousands of late arriving Liverpool supporters tore into the first two accessible pens — already throbbing with overcrowded support — and created a crush of bodies.

Men, women and children — body wedged against body, nowhere to move and no one to help — began dying of compressed asphyxia almost immediately.

It wasn’t until six minutes into the game that officials acted and called a stop to the game, opening the pens and relieving the pressure.

By then it was too late. Ninety-four had died, many where they stood. Two more would die days later while another 766 recovered from their injuries.

Afterwards the official inquest into Hillsborough ruled their deaths an accident. For the survivors of Hillsborough, who give graphic accounts of a police force that willingly stood by as they pleaded for help during the crush, the decision remains an insult.

The 50 some odd messages I received this week from fellow Liverpool FC supporters — each sharing their anger and sadness from the Hillsborough disaster — stands testament to a family, which 20 years later, is still looking for justice.

 
 
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