15th April 1989 - a Man Utd fan writes

Posted by Rushian on April 15, 2004, 12:37:46 AM

Ahead of the anniversary I thought I'd pass on a quick story which I generally tell every year.

Although in reality its quite a long time ago, 15 years only seems like yesterday. It had only been 4 years previous that I had luckily purchased a season ticket in the mainstand. I'd got bored of being huddled in the Stretford End not being able to see, being squashed and not enjoying it on occasions. It's ironic now that I want the choice to stand safely.

Anyway back to 15th April 1989. Cup Semi-Final weekend. Even though we weren't in it, it was a very special weekend. No live games back then. We had a meaningless game against Derby County. Our usual roll call was to meet at Picadilly and roll into town. There were a few scousers hanging around Manchester passing through on their trip to Sheffield. The usual pleasantries were exchanged ... we were as bad as each other.

Anyway, to our game - can't remember the result, I can tell you we lost and Dean Saunders scored. At half time Tom Tyrell announced that the Liverpool game had been abandoned due to crowd disorder. TYPICAL SCOUSERS was the cry. No doubt it was those nasty scouse types. It was only when we got home later on that we realised what was unfolding. Pictures on BBC showing bodies lying all over the place, carnage. Pure carnage. Only two months previous we took 15,000 to Hillsborough and were stuffed into the Leppings Lane End like sardines. It was a tragedy waiting to happen.

Life is full of if's and buts. What if Brian Hill had given McClair's goal against Forest in the previous round? Then maybe we would have played Liverpool and it would have been played at Goodison or Maine Rd as it tradtionally had in the past? Then maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

Well I think it would have, maybe just a few years later with two different teams. Maybe it could have been me who had my life taken away from me in the most shocking of circumstances. I couldn't imagine how those poor souls must have felt, being squashed to death due to the negligence of the police, and this ailing football stadium.

In my life I have seen miners' strikes and power cuts in the 70's, The Falklands, the Berlin Wall crumble, The Gulf conflict, many many life changing events but the one that really hit home was the Hillsborough disaster. Purely because it is my sport, the sport I go to watch week in week out. It hit home hard.

You look at the sentence '96 Liverpool Football fans were crushed to death' and take away the word 'Liverpool'. You then realise that football fans are all the same, they just wear a different badge on their shirts. When 96 souls don't return from a football match then you realise how insignificant football really is. It's just a game where 22 men lump a piece of leather round a big field.

My thoughts this week lie firmly with the famillies, friends and all Liverpool supporters who suffered on that fateful day.

God bless.

Red October 2004

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