Remembering Hillsborough: You'll Never Walk Alone

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IApril 15, 2009

It was 20 years ago today, April 15, 1989.

Liverpool were to take on Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semifinal at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium—Hillsborough.

It was meant to be a happy day, a day in which Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool fought against Brian Clough's Forest for a place in the final of the greatest domestic club competition on Earth.

Certainly, for my family, it started off as a happy day.

My sister was celebrating her first birthday. My Dad, an Everton fan, was relishing the prospect of the FA Cup final being a Merseyside Derby.

He sat down in front of the television preparing for a great football match. His smile, however, soon turned into a look of utter shock and disbelief at the events unfolding before him.

This couldn't be happening, could it?

After all, Liverpool was still reeling from the Heysel disaster four years previously, in which Liverpool fans had indirectly caused the deaths of 39 rival fans. The disaster shook European football to its very foundations.

The deaths of those 38 Italians and one Belgian were no less significant than those who perished in Hillsborough, but there is no doubt which tragedy hit Liverpool hardest. It is always harder when you lose one of your own.

That fateful day, on April 15, Liverpool lost 96 of their own.

The first mistake was made in the ticket allocations. Liverpool fans, despite being the much larger turnout, were put in the Leppings Lane End, which had a capacity of 14,600.

Nottingham Forest was given the Spion Kop End, with a capacity of 21,000.

In addition to this error, the Liverpool fans were left queuing outside the stadium, with thousands trying to get through the two small turnstiles so that they didn't miss the start of the match.

Those who had been denied entry couldn't get out because of the crowd behind them and acted merely as an obstruction to those trying to get in, thereby worsening the congestion problems.

Seeing this overcrowding, the police opened up Gate C, a gate without turnstiles. Instead of serving the intended purpose of being an exit, however, thousands of Liverpool fans rushed to get through the gate and into the stadium, causing an even bigger crush.

By this time, the fans at the front were being forced against the fences designed to stop spectators from going onto the pitch. The reasons why no stewards or police were at the entrance to the tunnel directing people away from the central pens, are questions to which we are all still seeking answers.

Despite the evident problems in the Leppings Lane End, the game got underway. Only six minutes were played before everyone involved realized just how serious the problems were, and the match was called off.

The scenes of desperation and despair are still shocking to watch, as fans desperately tried to escape the fatal crush. Some were pulled up to the West Stand, directly above the Leppings Lane End, while others climbed the fence to escape.

Eventually the sheer weight of the mass of people caused the fence to collapse. Thousands of people spilled onto the pitch, and those capable of helping used advertising hoardings to carry away the injured or dead.

Despite the obvious tragic happenings, the police still forcibly prevented fans from carrying the injured to reach the ambulances.

Forty-four ambulances arrived, but all but one of them were turned back by the police. That one was so overwhelmed by the number of people needing help that it also had to turn back.

Twenty years later, the hurt is still there among Liverpool fans. Most still refuse to buy The Sun after its despicable headlines following the Hillsborough disaster.

The survivors are still haunted, and the city still mourns whenever Hillsborough is mentioned.

The 96 that died will never be forgotten. The Hillsborough memorial outside Anfield will make sure of that. The eternal flames at either side of the memorial and on Liverpool's crest will make sure that the Liverpool players remember that every time they pull on that red shirt, they are playing for those 96.

The Gerry and the Pacemakers' anthem that had been adopted by the Liverpool faithful became eerily apt following this tragedy. "You'll Never Walk Alone" seemed to sum up the message the fans wanted to give.

When you walk
Through a storm

Hold your head, up high
And don't be afraid, of the dark
'Coz at the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song
Of the lark

Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed
And blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope, in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone


Walk on, walk on
With hope in your hearts
You'll never walk, alone

Everyone involved with Hillsborough walked on through the rain.

They held their heads up high during the storm.

The Liverpool players and their manager, Kenny Dalglish, made sure they went to as many funerals as they could.

They did a great job helping the grieving families through the hardest time of their lives, and they must be given eternal respect for that.

Here are the 96 heroes, with their ages in brackets. Rest in peace. You will never be forgotten.

  1. John Alfred Anderson­ (62)
  2. Colin­ Mark Ashcroft (19)
  3. James­ Gary Aspinall (18)
  4. Kester­ Roger Marcus Ball­ (16)
  5. Gerard­ Bernard Patrick Baron­ (67)
  6. Simon Bell (17)
  7. Barry Sidney­ Bennett (26)
  8. David John Benson (22)
  9. David William Birtle (22)
  10. Tony Bland (22)
  11. Paul­ David Brady (21)
  12. Andrew­ Mark­ Brookes (26)
  13. Carl­ Brown­ (18)
  14. David­­ Steven­ Brown (25)
  15. Henry­­ Thomas Burke (47)
  16. Peter­ Andrew­­ Burkett (24)
  17. Paul­ William­­ Carlile (19)
  18. Raymond­­ Thomas Chapman (50)
  19. Gary­­ Christopher Church (19)
  20. Joseph­ Clark­ (29)
  21. Paul Clark­ (18)
  22. Gary Collins (22)
  23. Stephen­ Paul Copoc (20)
  24. Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
  25. James­ Philip Delaney (19)
  26. Christopher Barry Devonside (18)
  27. Christopher Edwards (29)
  28. Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)
  29. Thomas Steven Fox (21)
  30. Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)
  31. Barry Glover (27)
  32. Ian Thomas Glover­ (20)
  33. Derrick­ George Godwin (24)
  34. Roy Harry­ Hamilton (34)
  35. Philip­ Hammond (14)
  36. Eric­ Hankin (33)
  37. Gary Harrison­ (27)
  38. Stephen Francis­ Harrison (31)
  39. Peter Andrew Harrison (15)
  40. David Hawley (39)
  41. James Robert Hennesey (29)
  42. Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)
  43. Carl Darren Hewitt (17)
  44. Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)
  45. Sarah Louise Hicks (19)
  46. Victoria Jane Hicks (15)
  47. Gordon Rodney Horn (20)
  48. Arthur Horrocks (41)
  49. Thomas­ Howard (39)
  50. Thomas Anthony­ Howard (14)
  51. Eric George­ Hughes (42)
  52. Alan­ Johnston (29)
  53. Christine Anne Jones (27)
  54. Gary­ Philip­ Jones (18)
  55. Richard­ Jones­ (25)
  56. Nicholas Peter­ Joynes­ (27)
  57. Anthony Peter­ Kelly­ (29)
  58. Michael David­ Kelly (38)
  59. Carl David Lewis (18)
  60. David William Mather (19)
  61. Brian Christopher Mathews (38)
  62. Francis Joseph McAllister (27)
  63. John McBrien (18)
  64. Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
  65. Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)
  66. Peter McDonnell (21)
  67. Alan McGlone (28)
  68. Keith McGrath (17)
  69. Paul­ Brian­ Murray (14)
  70. Lee­ Nicol (14)
  71. Stephen Francis­ O'Neill­ (17)
  72. Jonathon­ Owens (18)
  73. William Roy­ Pemberton (23)
  74. Carl­ William Rimmer­­ (21)
  75. David­ George Rimmer­ (38)
  76. Graham John­ Roberts­ (24)
  77. Steven Joseph­ Robinson­ (17)
  78. Henry Charles­ Rogers (17)
  79. Colin­ Andrew Hugh­ William Sefton­ (23)
  80. Inger Shah­ (38)
  81. Paula Ann Smith (26)
  82. Adam­ Edward Spearritt (14)
  83. Philip­ John Steele (15)
  84. David Leonard­ Thomas (23)
  85. Patrik­ John Thompson­ (35)
  86. Peter Reuben Thompson (30)
  87. Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)
  88. Peter Francis Tootle (21)
  89. Christopher James Traynor (26)
  90. Martin Kevin Traynor (16)
  91. Kevin Tyrrell (15)
  92. Colin Wafer (19)
  93. Ian David Whelan (19)
  94. Martin Kenneth Wild (29)
  95. Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
  96. Graham John Wright (17)

Justice for the 96.

You will never, ever walk alone.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.