HomeClub HistoryThe Hillsborough Disaster

The Hillsborough Disaster

The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was to take place at Hillsborough, home of Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 15th April, 1989.

Thousands of Liverpool fans travelled across the Pennines for the big game. Police had been ordered to stop and search vehicles in an attempt to ensure no alcohol was being taken to the ground by fans and, because of this and road works en route, many coaches arrived at the ground late.

By 2.30pm there was a mass of fans gathered around the Leppings Lane end of the ground. As fans were searched for alcohol and weapons on their way through the turnstyles the queues outside dissolved into a mass of people trying to get into the ground. The bottleneck became unbearable and Chief Superintendent Duckenfield, on charge on the day, gave the order to open Gate C.

As fans surged into the ground, determined to get their place on the terrace for the start of the game the obvious route was through the tunnel directly in front of them. This led to pens 3 and 4, which soon became overcrowded.

As fans began to spill out onto the perimeter track to avoid the crush Duckenfield called for reinforcements, thinking it was a pitch invasion.

As officers arrived at the scene it was clear that many of the fans were in severe distress. Those able to climbed across into adjoining pens and push through the perimeter gates and tried desperately to free their fellow fans.

Officers began to help the victims out of the crush and the pitch was soon crowded with injured and dying people. Advertising hoardings were used to carry fans across the field in the hope of getting treatment.

Emergency services arrived late and there was chaos as bodies and injured fans were taken to the gymnasium.

Ninety-six people initially died as a result of the Hillsborough tragedy and a city mourned as families mourned loved ones. Anfield became a shrine as grieving fans laid flowers, scarves and flags on The Kop.

On 27th July 2021 Andrew Devine, who had suffered terminal injuries at Hillsborough, became the 97th victim of the disaster.