April 15 is one of those dates in history that has many tragedies associated with it. In 2012 ceremonies are taking place to mark the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. More recently a football tragedy in the UK is being remembered..
For this blogger April 15 is memorable as it was the birthday of her late father and is the birthday of her brother. In 1989 as she went about her Saturday housework the TV was on and it was Saturday football airing as usual. It was a football match at Hillsborough but it was on the breaking news rather than as a match review.
Gripped to what was unfolding this blogger watched the terrible events of that day. Since it has been treat more sensitively and edited. In 1989 it was people dying as you watched with the emergency services struggling to help.
Wikipedia records the day saying "The Hillsborough disaster was a human crush which occurred during the semi-final FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs on 15 April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people, with a total of 766 other persons being injured. All of them were fans of Liverpool Football Club. The Hillsborough disaster remains the deadliest stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the worst ever international football accidents.The official inquiry into the disaster, the Taylor Report, concluded that "the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control." The findings of the report resulted in the elimination of standing terraces at all major football stadiums in both England and Scotland.
The tragedy was worsened for the loved ones of the dead by media speculation that it was drunken football fans who has caused the whole event. The Liverpool fans were verbally abused for what was claimed to have been bad behaviour. In time a report into events on the day firmly laid the main cause of the tragedy at the police control on that fateful day. As fans surged to enter to ground before the start of the match a policing decision was made to open a secondary gate. This led to the human crush.
There was a public outcry after the event which is so often the case. However for the dead it was all too little too late. All too often it takes a tragedy for us to address "accidents" that are waiting to happen.
Yesterday Liverpool again played in the semi final. They secured a 2-1 win over Everton. Both teams hail from Liverpool and it was a day marked with tragic memories. 96 people died at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989, they included young and old, male and female, children and adults. Families were shattered and the community suffered. Their suffering was increased by the media accusation levied against innocent football fans who simply wanted to watch the "beautiful game".
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog