The History of One of the Saddest Tragedies in English Football
On Saturday, April 15, 1989, at the Hillsborough stadium (where Sheffield Wednesday FC plays), Liverpool and Nottingham Forest were going to play a match corresponding to the semifinals of the FA Cup. But unfortunately, the game had to be suspended after 6 minutes due to one of the saddest and most significant tragedies in English football.
"The game started well, but now chaos breaks out, with fans jumping onto the pitch. It scares me to say that the police are removing spectators from the field, the stands are overflowing. Something very serious is happening where Liverpool fans are", announced the BBC broadcast.
That day, the police and the organizers of the event made terrible mistakes. First, the control mechanisms failed, so much more people than allowed entered the stadium. This generated an excess in the capacity of the place, generating riots, avalanches, and many people crushed against the fences of the stadium. In addition, the security teams did not know how to act in the face of such a disaster. In total, 97 fans were killed and 766 injured, all Liverpool fans. The last victim died in July 2021, after being in a vegetative state for 32 years.
Among those who lost their lives was a 10-year-old cousin of Steven Gerrard (8 years old), who was already playing in the club's Lower League. An event that marked him forever. "Unfortunately for me and my family we got the news that Jon-Paul Gilhooley had died. Of course, it was hard to accept that one of your cousins was crushed to death, but thanks to my mother, father and family they helped me get through it and become the player that I am".
At first, the government and much of the media blamed the fans for being drunk, disorderly, and reckless. Subsequent investigations revealed that there was police negligence, who allowed more fans to enter than allowed. Later, Margaret Thatcher's government imposed a stadium security policy that would completely transform English football and lead to the creation of the Premier League.
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