Article originally publised May 28th 2005.
Wednesday night was the best night for Liverpool supporters for some time. The treble of 2001 was eclipsed by the glory of becoming Champions of Europe for a fifth time. The streets of Liverpool were packed with an estimated 1 million people who wanted to celebrate the victory, to celebrate the cup that was on its way to its new permanent home – Anfield Stadium.
Mixed with the happiness of the million people that lined those streets and many more that were watching the scenes on television was a sense of sadness for many. It was twenty one years since that trophy had last been held by the Reds. I know that many Reds fans were thinking of someone special to them, someone that celebrated Liverpool’s last European Cup win, but was no longer with us.
People who lost friends to illness, to accidents and to old age. All felt upset to think of their friends who were no longer with us. Famous people were absent. "Crazy Horse" Emlyn Hughes, who died from cancer earlier this year, lifted that famous trophy on the first two occasions Liverpool won it. DJ John Peel, died on holiday and the whole world of music felt it had lost a friend – Liverpool also lost a big supporter. Jerzy Dudek dedicated his performance to the late Pope John Paul II, himself a former goalkeeper and compatriate of Jerzy, and who was a follower of Liverpool’s fortunes. Maybe some of these people no longer with us helped us from afar.
Another group of Liverpool fans were also absent on Wednesday as Liverpool made history. These fans were not famous the last time they arrived to watch a football game. They were known to their friends and family, but not to the world. The last match they arrived to watch should also have been an occasion to remember for footballing reasons. Liverpool’s team included Bruce Grobbelaar, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen. By the end of that day events would happen that would see their names engraved forever into history. For the wrong reasons.
The date of the game was April 15th 1989. Liverpool were about to play Nottingham Forest in the semi final of the FA Cup. The neutral venue for the game was Hillsborough – the home of Sheffield wednesday FC.
What happened next was something that should never have happened. People who’d gone to cheer on their team, to be part of the 12th man for a team of 11 superstars, didn’t go home again. They didn’t get the chance to climb a lampost waving a flag at an open-top bus full of those superstars. They never went to see a football game again. Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died because of the events of that day. That’s 96 people. Ninety-six individuals.
Every single one of them was somebody’s son or daughter. Many were someone’s father, brother, sister, friend, girlfriend, boyfriend.
Someone’s neighbour, workmate, window-cleaner.
89 males. 7 females. A boy of ten was the youngest.
Every single one of these people that died was someone special to someone. And they should not have died because of the actions of people paid to be in control of a situation that got disastrously out of hand.
The Hillsborough disaster.
Sixteen years on and there has still been no justice for those ninety-six loved ones.
To those that are new fans of Liverpool, or those who are unaware of the full events of that day, please visit http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough. Be warned though – it contains information that is extremely upsetting. Upsetting, but true. And when you’ve read it you’ll also want to see justice done for the ninety-six.
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain, is well aware of what happened that day. He was nine years old and a Liverpool fan. Stevie has been doing his bit for the campaign for justice. If you saw him lifting the European Cup you may have seen what he had on his wrist. A red band. This was no fashion accessory. It carried a simple, but important message. The band said "Ninety-Six". If anyone asks you what he was wearing, you can tell them now. Better still, you can show them.
The bands are designed to raise awareness of the causes of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, or HJC.
The demand for the bands was much greater than expected, so much so that they are now on their third batch of wrist bands!
If you would like to place an order please send a cheque or postal Order made payable to the “Hillsborough Justice Campaign” and send it to the address below:
The Hillsborough Justice Campaign
PO Box 1089
178 Walton Breck Road
* Don’t forget to include a note with your full name and address and how many bands you are ordering.
One band plus postage will cost £2.00 UK and £3.00 for overseas supporters.
Please note these bands are only available in adult size. Cheques / Postal Orders should be made payable to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.
You can use the following link to pay by Paypal
The HJC’s bank account is
* Don’t forget to include a note with your full name and address with details of how many bands you require.
(Please note: the HJC Paypal account has had many e-mails on it that have been rejected because the senders have been identified as having a virus on their PC. Paypal automatically scans e-mails for viruses and rejects them accordingly. Can you please ensure that your PC is virus free as your Paypal order / donation / enquiry may be rejected.)
Remember, if you want more information on the disaster and the campaign for justice, visit the Hillsborough Justice Campaign’s website:
Your continued support and generosity is greatly appreciated.