Hillsborough: Leeds v Coventry 1987 semi-final

I am looking for Leeds fans who would be willing to be interviewed about their experiences on this day – please email mike_nicholson@hotmail.co.uk

I have written about the 1981 F.A. Cup semi-final at Hillsborough here in which Spurs fans narrowly avoided a disaster in the Leppings Lane terraces. On that day, thankfully the South Yorkshire Police responded quickly to the danger of crushing and opened the gates in the fences between the terracing and the pitch. This allowed over 500 Spurs fans to use the pitch as a place of safety. You can see a video of the Spurs fans escaping the Leppings Lane crush, and sitting around the perimeter of the pitch here.

After the problems in 1981, the Hillsborough stadium was not used again as a semi-final venue until 1987. Lateral fences had been introduced to split the Leppings Lane terrace into three ‘pens’ between 1981 and 1987. By 1989, further modifications had taken place that split the terrace into six pens.

So, as a part of the forthcoming documentary I thought it would be interesting to ask Leeds Utd fans about their experiences of Hillsborough to see if things had improved from the ’81 semi-final.

Despite Leeds having the larger support of the two teams in ’87, once again the South Yorkshire Police insisted that they were housed in the smaller Leppings Lane end. This happened with Spurs in ’81 and with Liverpool in both ’88 and ’89.

As Professor Keith Still, a world expert in crowd dynamics said in his interview for this documentary (clip here) “Hillsborough had a high risk of failure, by design” This is because the bottle-neck on Leppings Lane itself and the enclosed concourse immediately outside the turnstiles, allowed more people to gather than the turnstiles could admit. Over-crowding was almost inevitable.

Ted Heaton, a Leeds fan said “Myself and my friends were sat on the front row of the seats in the Leppings Lane Upper. This stand was given to us Leeds fans as part of our allocation.”

In a chilling reminder of scenes during the 1989 disaster, Ted told me of how the people in the upper stands had to pull people up from the terrace below. “I’d say that about 15 minutes before kick-off, we could see that the centre section of the standing area below us was extremely full.  It’s easy with hindsight but we didn’t realise just how bad it could become.  Lads were turning and looking up to us, a lot were being squashed and unable to enter the rest of the stand below.  We started pulling fans up into the seats and out of the crush for a good while.  My memory isn’t exact but we were still helping people out of the standing area after kick-off.”

If you are a Leeds fan who was at the 1987 semi-final versus Coventry City, please add to this conversation using the ‘Add Comment’ function below.

79 thoughts on “Hillsborough: Leeds v Coventry 1987 semi-final

  1. Saw people being pulled out and although I was some way away you could the see the crush. I’ve always felt that if the kick off wasn’t delayed that day we could have had a similar scenario as in ’89. Circumstances seemed the same in 87, why not the same response?

    1. “Circumstances seemed the same in 87, why not the same response?”

      It’s question that thousands of people have asked themselves millions of times mate. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate it!

  2. Hi

    I was in the middle section of the Leppings Lane end with all the other Leeds fans at the semi-final in 1987. I remember that we were square behind the goal. Even with the three pens for the duration of the game I had to keep my arms up as there was no room for them at my side. When we equalised the surge moved me about 10 yards with my feet completely off the ground. In fact that was the case for a lot of the game. When the disaster happened in 89 I remember talking with fellow Leeds fans who had also been in there and we could all see how it could have happened. In hindsight we realised it had been waiting to happen.

    1. Remenber it been a warm sunny day and what made thing worse was the conditions.The central lepping lane terrace i was stood in behind the nets was verypacked in and i fully understand the liverpool fans issues.if there had been a sudden serge of people it would have been the same as liverpools situation

      1. My brother could not breath outside . He was gasping to get air into his lungs. Luckily I was in the seats ,but I could see that it was not safe. My brother lifted his feet off the ground and stayed in the same place. He couldn’t lift his hands to wipe sweat of his brow.madness. Not surprised about what happened 2 years later. The warning signs were there.

  3. I remember being there in 87′ with my dad. I remember being in the pen to the left of the goals about an hour before kick off and we had loads of space. And the pen behind the goal was packed. I saw friends of mine jumping over the fence to the pen I was in to escape the squash. The police eventually open the fence to allow fans to move to side pens. After what I saw in 89′ always makes me think about 87′.

  4. Myself + 3 friends stood in the left hand side of the leppings lane end. From memory there was no over crowding on this side and didn’t notice people being pulled out of the centre pen

  5. I was sat in the Leppings lane end seats for the semi final in 87. My main over riding memory of the day other than the result is how the day was policed. The south Yorkshire police were very concerned about trouble from our fan. As a result ticket checks on the approach to the ground were stringent with police blockades ever few hundred yards. This broke the flow of fans and made ground entry safer and easier. How ever it was not done with crowd safety the main priority. I have felt strongly ever since the tragic events that occurred a year later. That had the police operated a similar system the tragedy would have been avoided.

    1. Hi Richard, I think you are right. You and other Leeds fans have said that there were roadblocks in 1987. Many Liverpool fans who were at Hillsborough in the 1988 semi-final also spoke of these barriers, and in 1989 they were simply not there under the inexperienced management of David Duckenfield. Their principle reason was, as you say, to make sure those without tickets didn’t add to the numbers outside the turnstiles, but I’d like to think that there was at least an element of common-sense and safety in the thinking. I may be giving credit were it isn’t due, but the fact is that those barriers did slow the flow of supporters to the inadequate Leppings Lane turnstiles, and had they been there in 1989, I believe that the disaster probably wouldn’t have happened.

      Thanks for your comments, they are appreciated!

    2. Me and my mates have been asking this same question since 1989. Leeds fans weren’t allowed anywhere near the ground without a ticket. Coaches were stopped on the motoway and tickets checked. Hence, no fans without tickets got nowhere near the ground. Why wasn’t this done in 1989??

  6. 1987 was a significant year for following Leeds. The club had reappeared on the scene after a few years of second division obscurity with a number of high profile matches, namely the Hillsborough FA Cup Semi-final and the end of season play-offs.

    But with the rise of late 80s football hooliganism, the police had taken on a policy of containment, rather than crowd safety. The use of “caging” as a crowd control technique was becoming prevalent both inside and outside the grounds.

    I took my girlfriend to the 1987 Leeds v Coventry FA Cup Semi-Final at Hillsborough. She had only been to a couple of matches before, so I was more conscious of safety than usual. Leading up to the match, there had been the arguments over Leeds getting the smaller allocation of tickets (the Leppings Lane end) despite the larger following. The official reason was that it was easier for the police to control us at this end, and direct the trains accordingly.

    We arrived on a train from Leeds early. After being held at the station, we were allowed to walk a hundred yards down the road before meeting a line of police. These held us back and checked our tickets, before releasing us again. Further down the road, another police line appeared and the same procedure was followed. I assume the attention was to control the crowd flow, and it resulted in waves of fans arriving at the ground rather than a constant stream.

    We headed into the middle of the Leppings Lane standing area through the tunnel under the stand. To the front of us was a fence with spikes on, the sort of barrier we had become accustomed to experiencing at grounds. What was different about the Leppings Lane end however, was the existence of lateral fences running down the terraces. As the pen filled up, there was nowhere sideways to move to. Normally a crowd would disperse sideways as the area filled up. In the Leppings Lane end, this wasn’t possible as there was no sideways movement due to the fences. Half an hour before kick off, it became uncomfortable and I could see it becoming worse. We made the decision to move. However, the only exit was back down the tunnel through which all the incoming fans were streaming. We persevered and managed to get back out and then walked up into the seating in the upper tier. I don’t remember there being checks as to where one could sit or stand with tickets, we just walked up the steps and chose some seats at the side. We were then relatively comfortable but we could look down and see how the middle Leppings Lane pen was packed extremely tightly yet there was plenty of space in the pens to the side.

    As there was no disaster in 1987, nothing was learned. Containment and caging continued. The Met, West Midlands and South Yorkshire Police were especially keen on this tactic.

    In January 1989, Leeds drew Nottingham Forest away in the FA Cup. I arrived a couple of hours early at Nottingham Rail Station for the match. Nottingham is an interesting place, plenty of history, and it seemed an ideal opportunity to visit the Castle and Museum. However, I was wearing “colours”. As I headed out of the station on my own, I felt the literal long arm of the law on my collar, and was frogmarched off to a cage on the edge of the station. As each train arrived, more of us were placed in the pen until it was uncomfortably squashed. It was now 15 mins to kick off, and as tempers were rising at the prospect of missing the kick off, we were eventually released and escorted to the ground, to be greeted by yet another crush as we all tried to get in two minutes before kick off.

    It had become acceptable that the police could treat football fans differently from the rest of society.

    On the fateful day of Liverpool v Nottingham Forest in 1989, I was working at the BBC in Leeds. I was compiling tapes for the film library. We had the match on as a live feed in the background as events unfolded. We had sent a cameraman to the ground to provide local “colour” for the regional news programme Look North. But as the day developed, he filmed everything… the crushes outside the ground, the close ups of the squashed fans against the fences, and finally the lone scarves wrapped around the crushed barriers. We watched and logged all the rushes as they were fed into Leeds. I know those rushes well. It was clear that 1987 was repeating itself, this time with much graver consequences.

    So for my twopenn’th, the Hillsborough disaster was the result of poor stadium design and an institutional police mentality towards football supporters.

  7. I was in the middle section of lower leppings lane in ’87. We were very early arriving from blackpool, and i went through “that tunnel” and luckily turned right and went back so had a wall to my left and my back – this helped as i had no-one behind. 2 people were carried out from within 5 yards of where i was, before kick off. I don’t remember people being lifted into seats but this rings true as there was nowhere else to go. I do remember seeing on tv afterwards that the outer, lower sections were half empty as everyone wanted to be behind the goal. We didn’t think the day was particulaly different to any other, as there were similar events, especially at Barnsley from the coaches to the ground, and at WBA coming out of the ground. With hindsight it could all have been avoided, but as football fans were treated so badly, no one made a fuss…disaster

  8. I’m a Leeds fan and attended the game v Coventry at Hillsborough in 1987. I was a serving Royal Marine at the time 6’5″ and 16st. I remember being lifted about a foot off the deck due to a crush/overcrowding – I remained like this for a long period (I cannot remember how long) until the crowd seemed to ‘slack’ off a bit. I was not surprised at all when those Liverpool fans lost their lives. R.I.P. The 96 Y.N.W.A.

  9. i can remember the whole end going mental when keith edwards equalised and it being very full and surging throughout the match.the steps were very shallow and we watched the whole match through the net of the goal and couldnt see the other end…i got sunburned down one half of my face,,,since what happened to the liverpool fans i have often wondered what might have happened if things had gone wrong for us also ,18 months before…..i also remember a heavy police presence,,stopping buses and unloading crates of beer,,,,at 1030 on a sunday morning!,,,i also however, having attended several semis with leeds the awsome sight of 25,000/30,000 of your own fans in a neutral stadium,,, the wonderful spectacle and atmosphere which has been lost ,,and the honour of getting to wembley only if you got to the final.

  10. Both my 2 elder brothers went to the Leeds semi and had tickets for the Leppings Lane terrace. We arrived on one of the first trains and got to the ground early, We were then searched and A banner that I made was taken off me but I was told I could get this back later by post which I did. So the only obvious way onto the terrace was through the tunnel and after a short time behind the goal, my eldest brother said that “we were not standing there at it was F—ing dangerous so we walked to the banking on the left by the corner flag. After the disaster, we all agreed that we were able to get to the corner without leaving the terrace and this walk was unhindered and we were sure we did not have to climb any fences in order to get to the corner.
    I seem to remember that there was a drop with no protective fencing that separated the corner section from the Leppings lane terrace and and if you look on replays of the match, this can be clearly seen as to the density of the terrace.
    All these years on & I feel slightly haunted by our day out there but having said that, I was only 24 at the time and what fun it was despite the result.
    When you see the images of the poor Liverpool fans some of which were young kids pressed up against that fence dead, and knowing what we do now, I still feel that Justice for the fans is still to be seen and delivered.

  11. I attended this match – seated to the left of the Leppings Lane – I cannot recall exact timing of events but Leeds fans were definitely lifted out of the standing area into the seats above. As others have noted, these events came back to me in a very disturbing way after events two years later.

      1. The authorities should have listened and acted on the events that happened that April day in 1987. 96 people killed through ignorance. Chris Hancock.

  12. Was there came up with West Midlands Whites but most Leeds coming south so traffic problems and kick off delayed. We got dropped far from ground but had to leg it to ground, like loads others and when seeing that narrow entrance to Leppings Lane could see at a standstill and people shoving to get through pushing people in front…..chaos!! I decided to back out and go into side pen, loads Leeds being pulled over fences into side pen. from centre section…disaster waiting to happen!! Too many fans trying to get in there we was in wrong end should have had bigger one not Cov.

    pen save being crushed. When disaster happened two years later I thought could easily have happened in 87…too many fans ub wring end

  13. I was at the game (Coventry supporter) and even from the other end you could see Leeds fans being pulled up into the west stand. This didn’t surprise me as I saw the same thing happening just a few weeks ago when we had also played our quarter final there (vSheff W) The central sections of Leppings Lane were packed tightly and fans were being pulled up to escape the crush. We all know that the police control (or lack of it) was the major factor, but if those bloody perimeter fences hadn’t been put up, this disaster would not have happened. God bless the 96.

  14. Having received the news today, I have to say that my admiration goes out to all the Liverpool families for their dignified stance on what now is an official cover up.
    I reiterate my past comment on the 6th May of how we were affected 2 years prior in the Leppings Lane terrace. I have recently seen the footage of the Spurs Wolves Semi in the early 80’s and the problems encountered then and people injured in the area.

    They say the camera never lies and it is with this in mind this in mind that the footage of the Leeds supporters shows how densely packed we were and as you look to the left of the terrace and how tight the fans were during the game, I would like to ask to if someone had closed the gate over the tunnel before the game. ( You Tube Show This Clearly )

    The kick off was delayed due to the crowd problems outside the ground ( Leppings Lane, I think ? ) In view of the problems some bright spark decided to make a very dangerous terrace worse by introducing more side fencing creating more but smaller pens. I never remember anything impeding our walk to the the corner section of the ground so what went wrong in 2 years ?

    I still feel uneasy by what happened and I have read Phil Scratton’s book a number of times. In light of to days news I continue to support the families and fans to seek full Justice for your loss and the shocking treatment you were handed out in the aftermath.

    I will never forget our day in 87 but rest assured no one will ever forget 89.

    God Bless The 96! You will never be forgotten.

  15. Darren sutcliffe
    I was also at the game in 1987 and we were seated in the front of the stand above the center of the leppings lane end, we had travelled to the game with friends who had tickets for the standing area below, when we arrived at the ground the area outside was so overcrowded that the mounted police were forcing people away and causing a crush outside which was very scary but as people earlier stated we had become used to this over the years being a Leeds fan we were treated terrible time and time again, this was much worse than normal.
    Once inside the ground we started to notice the center pen or cage was so overcrowded that people were climbing over the fence in to the next pen and people were also being lifted up to the stand above and it was obvious there was no control because as stated as regular followers we were used to being uncomfortable at games this was much worse and we were asking the stewards and police to help sort out the problem below and were ignored as usual my friend ended up in the stand to our right with other Leeds fans which was for Coventry fans and was nowhere near full.
    We talked about this for years after how we were great full that the kick off was delayed as this helped a little and having watched what happened 2 years later everyone I knew who went that day said that could have been us.
    I have great friends who are Liverpool supporters and I am happy that the truth is coming out because the treatment of fans in them days was terrible and I know there was an element of troublemakers at some games but the majority of fans were there to support the team and they were all treated as hooligans and the stewards and police have to look at themselves and accept they did a terrible job on that day and the fact they blamed the drunken fans is unforgivable

  16. I was at the game in 1987 with a friend both of us aged 20. We got the ‘special’ train service from Leeds to Sheffield (as I remember we were queuing for ages at Leeds and the train took about 2 hours just to get to Sheffield! Once there we were frogmarched to the ground with a couple of ticket searches (these happened before getting on train at Leeds too). We ultimately ended up in the central Leppings Lane end where it was already very squashed. I can absolutely confirm that fans were being pulled up into the top tier. I had never seen that before at a ground and both me and my friend guessed it was because of the crush and not just to get a better view. Back in the eighties there were a lot of terrace crushes but the one in ’87 was by far the worst I ever experienced. Impossible to move your arms, difficult to breathe, and absolutely no way to move out of the way. Back in the Kop terracing when Leeds scored the crowd surged forwards and backwards – one of the best feelings as a football fan. When Leeds scored at Hillsborough us behind the goal were certainly jostled and moved a bit (feet off ground) but, and this is the important bit, it was so overcrowded that the lateral movement was very small for what was very important goals for Leeds. There was nowhere to surge. I was frightened that day. 2 years later I was having my hair cut in Chicago when the local American newscast said fans were dead at the English FA Cup game caused by hooliganism. I remember the broadcast really well because 2 years ago that was Leeds. I’ve never really liked Liverpool Football Club (arrogance/envy) but even then I did not believe it was hooliganism – I knew it was the fences and the Leppings Lane End. Football fans of the Eighties had been treated like animals for so long that we had started taking it for granted – especially at Leeds. Police presence at a football game wasn’t as a peace keeping force ready to help – they were there as your prison guards. The high fencing at Elland Road and Hillsborough simply reminded you of your place.
    No one should die for just attending a football match.

  17. I was there that day. There appeared to be little to no organisation once inside the ground, once you were in you had to work it out for yourself.

    We went down the tunnel and noticed the bad crush inside the main pens 3 and 4 behind the goal, just a sea of heads and people unable to move their arms.

    With people still coming in behind us, we didn’t fancy staying in this area and so managed to move over towards the left of the goal and ended up high up behind the corner flag where there was much more room.

    I was only 16 and had only been to a few games but I remember being shocked by how crushed it was and after the events 2 years later the memories haunt me as I realize how easily it could have happened in ’87.

    But despite all the warning signs of this day, nothing was done and they again allocated the team with most fans to the smaller end. It should not have happened.

  18. just got the message today on Hillsborough. I was there in 1987 and had an orange ski jacket which I was incredibly hot. The day in April was v warm and I remember being squashed as I was Leppings Lane top centre. I have thought it could of been us as crowding was unacceptable. Sad but glad some justice has been passed today for the Liverpool fans.

  19. Reading these experiences and those of the Spurs game some years earlier reminds me of a Newcastle game at Hillsborough in that same period. It was my second away game, I think in 1985 or 1986, and probably a league game. I was with my brother and a couple of his friends, we drove down and parked somewhere near the ground. Newcastle had the Leppings Lane end. I remember clearly the crush outside as there was only one or two turnstiles open for thousands of away fans. South Yorkshire police were feared in those days, just after Orgreave, and I remember the police horses being used to push the crowd around. We got into the ground 15 minutes late and missed the only goal. I think the game ended 1-0 to Newcastle, I will try and check the archives to get a better fix on the date then update this post. The crush inside was terrible, probably equalled only by another terrible experience at White Hart Lane in 1987 (6th round FA Cup, Spurs v NUFC, 12000 away fans penned into a space for 6000 please see http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=zQunX9KCb_E). A lot of Newcastle fans from that era will remember these two games.

    1. Great point made here! The south Yorkshire police in them days were known for there heavy handed treatment of away fans and as a Leeds fan traveling to games in south Yorkshire many times we were always aware of this! I travelled with my girlfriend and a small group of fans that have never once being involved in any trouble at any game ever but we were treated with zero respect and were always fearful of the south Yorkshire police, I for one hope the people involved that day are shamed and if needed to be are brought to justice,

  20. I have never been in any doubt, that if only a small amount of extra fans had been allowed to enter the stand on this day then there would have been a very serious incident. I was so tightly packed in that my feet at times were not touching the ground. Myself and two freinds struggled and eventually managed somehow to get to a fence in the middle of the stand which had another fence further away creating a walkway channel only accessable for the police and stewards.We pushed each other over it, the stewards objected a little, but they could clearly see the situation and allowed us to stay. Many more Leeds fans followed. Behind us, fans were been pulled up to the seating stand above. When the game started things seemed to settle down and that was the last i thought of it until the disaster two years later, when it became clear how lucky i had been.

  21. I was there in ’87 – three of us travelled from Doncaster with Coventry tickets (we were students in Wolverhampton and couldn’t get Leeds tickets) – We got in to the ground early (the Kop end) and stood around for a while – we saw some fans being led out of a gate at the bottom of the Kop, and they were walked around the ground and let into the Leppings Lane pen on the right side (when looking at the goal) – after we’d seen a few groups of 4 or 6 or so being led round, we thought we could get taken round and approached a group in front who said they were Leeds fans – once they had been taken round we went round with a steward – let out of the bottom of the Kop, round the pitch and into the Leppings Lane – I would guess more followed (we were just happy to have got in the Leeds end with Cov tickets!) – What I can remember about being in the Leppings Lane end is being lifted off my feet, being unable to lift my hands up and the rush and surge from time to time during the game, which wasn’t great as we were so tightly packed there wasn’t enough room to move – no doubt you could say we were “extras” to what was the capacity – how many more were additions to the actual number who knows.

  22. I was at the game that day and standing in the centre section of the leppings lane end. We had travelled from the south and had to drive past Sheffield on the M1 and come back down from the north as only Coventry fan allowed to exit from the southern junctions. This meant we were running late and congestion at the ground resulted. Remember going through turnstiles then it was make your own way to the terrace. I am over 6ft and 16 stone and cannot explain just how tightly packed we were in that middle pen. I had my hands in the air and was unable to get them down by my side. It was a hot day and we were so tightly packed sweating and struggling to breathe. When Keith Edwards scored to make it 2-2 I must have moved 5 – 6 feet forwards and my feet were off the ground and unable to control which way I was going. How the poor people at the front – or in front of the barriers- managed to survive I do not know. It just seemed that there were too many people in the end – I also remember people being lifted up to the seated area above the standing area. The conversation in the car on the way home about how uncomfortable it had been and feel very lucky to have got through that day – in particular after the shocking events that transpired.
    It could have been prevented – it should not have been covered up and justice must now be done for the deceased, their families, football fans and the country.

  23. Mike – I have often wondered why there has never, to my knowledge, been a mention in the media of the 1987 semi-final between Leeds and Coventry!! I was a 16 year old who attended the game with 2 friends. The problems started with the heavy traffic moving down the M1 from Yorkshire and when we eventually arrived at the ground there was clearly a mad rush to make kick off.

    As we eventually got to the Leppings Lane end, I distinctly remember a push to get through the turnstiles. This suddenly became uncontrolled as more people joined the push from the rear, we had no control as to where we were going and I remember being pulled to the side of the turnstile and subsequently up against a wall.
    I remember thinking that if this carries on we are all in trouble. As we eventually got through the turnstile, things did not improve and I seem to recall having to climb a number of steps, before going down a downward sloping tunnel onto the terraces. Thinking back, and after the Hillsborough disaster I always found it strange how this “unforgettable” tunnel has never been mentioned as a contributing factor. Once you entered the tunnel there was instantly people behind pushing in an attempt to get to the already overcrowded central section of the terraces.
    The tunnel was obviously wrong as at all other grounds if been to, you climb steps to the terraces and it therefore not a risk as it hard to “push upwards” if that makes sense.
    As we got towards the end of the tunnel the pressure from behind was so much our feet were no longer of the ground and we were being carried in a wave of people who were visibly becoming worried about the situation. And there were calls from the people in front to stop pushing… of course we weren’t pushing and by this time neither were the people behind us. The pressure was now coming from the top of the tunnel, trying to get in! You could even see the police at the end of the tunnel and above in the upper stand becoming extremely concerned

    THEN IT HAPPENED – word started to spread that the kick off had been delayed by 15 minutes!! It was like a pressure relief valve going off as the word spread very quickly, so did the rush to get into the ground. As we then arrived into the central section of the Leppings Lane end,, it was amazing still to see how packed it was and although the pressure had relieved were still not in control of where we were going…. We were directly behind the goal and towards the back of the lower middle section. I remember saying to my friends, we have to get out of here and with this we started to attempt to move to the left, where eventually we made it to the dividing fence and with help we climbed over into the left lower section.
    It was incredible as there was hardly anybody in this section, it was deserted. It’s eerie as when I ever see photos or footage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, if you look at the lower LHS section (RHS if you looking from the pitch), you see an “empty terrace” in comparison! This always makes me shudder!
    I firmly believe that putting our kick off back 15 minutes changed the course of many Leeds Fans on that sunny April day. I also struggle to understand why there were no lessons learnt or near miss investigation from the Leeds Coventry Game. They put the kick off back for a known reason as they could see disaster unfolding before their eyes… why did they NOT do the same 2 years on???
    I still also struggle to understand how a 16 year old could identify a major flaw with how the downward sloping tunnel was a major danger and risk, but the authorities could not??

    Thank you for the opportunity in posting this information… it’s always been on my mind.

  24. I was a young lad enjoying my first full season watching Leeds.
    I remember from the onset how incompetent the police seemed to be. For example, arriving at Sheffield train station & being shepherded by the police straight past a train of Coventry fans spilling onto the same platform.
    Then being packed like sardines onto buses to the ground.
    Once we arrived it was clear that no Leeds fan was allowed to take any flags or banners into the ground & I had my customised Union Jack duvet cover ‘flag’ confiscated.
    Thankfully we arrived really early & there was plenty of space to begin with, but we could see the pens (particularly the centre section) were becoming over-crowded, we made the wise decision to move right over to the side & managed to climb up onto the upper level to escape the crush & for a better view.
    After the game I went to retrieve my beloved flag & entered a huge shed like building, inside rows upon rows of confiscated flags were laid on the floor. I spent an age locating mine, it was only years later it dawned on me that this building was probably used as the temporary morgue. This still sends shivers down my spine.
    I thumbed a lift from a couple from Hull who had gone to the match & they kindly dropped me off at the station.
    I often think ‘but for the grace of God go I’
    I hope the 96 victims rest in true peace & their families & the survivors now finally find Justice. RIP96

  25. Agree completely, I renember we were all searched, and I think all flags were confiscated ?
    When we got there you couldnt even get up the steps onto the rerrace.

  26. I was in the Upper Tier of the Leppings Lane End that day. I witnessed the crush below me and Leeds fans being pulled up into the seating area. I clearly remember turning to a policewoman who was stood by me and commented that somebody was going to die down there!

  27. i was in the leppings lane end right behind the goal. Going in was fine but the crush once in was worrying. I had been to many big games and enjoyed the singing and crowd swaying but i felt at the time this was different. I remember wanting to get out of the pen but i had no chance of that and felt crushed all though the game, people were being pulled to the top of the stand in the seats above. The match/occasion despite the defeat. I enjoyed but the experience in the pen……. I was glad to get out. So when it happened in 89, I was devastated but not entirely surprised. The thing for me football supporters were always treated like cattle and this was just another example of it. That’s why no-one said anything, it was the norm

  28. My friend, Nick and I were at the ’87 semi final. We couldn’t get tickets through the club and, fortunately for us, got tickets through an agency and sat in the main stand upper by the press box and could clearly see, even at that distance, that there was potential for a tragedy. Long before kick off we both commented on how dangerous it looked in the Leeds end and saw many people being lifted up to the upper tier from well before the game started. When the disaster happened in 1989, whilst being totally aghast at what we saw, neither of us were surprised that something like that could have happened. It was just the high number of casualties which shocked us. I firmly believe that the delay of the ’87 kick off saved many Leeds fans lives. It’s just a shame it had to happen to anyone. When you go to see a game of football you fully expect to make it home in one piece even if you are treat like animals by the Police.
    After a game at West Brom following the Hillsborough disaster we were herded by the Police down a passage supposedly taking us away from the ground. Unfortunately the gate at the far end had not been opened but for luck something tragic could have happened then as the flow from behind was almost irrestible. All of my party that day, including an off duty policeman, were appalled that the local Police had obviously not learned anything from Hillsborough. In fact, I was so enraged I remonstrated with an Inspector I saw as we went back out of that passage to complain about his officers behaviour. I was dragged away by my policeman friend so I didn’t get arrested. There was also a near disaster at a Leeds game away at Ipswich the same season when fans had to spill on to the pitch behind the goal to escape a crush.

    Respect for the families and friends of the 96 who wouldn’t let it drop even after so long and I hope suitable action is taken against those who changed statements and tried to pass the blame onto the victims.

  29. Yes all the memories came flooding back of the 87 cup semi final me and two mates often talk about the day we were lucky only to lose each other until after the match my lasting memory is of the now infamous tunnel to the center paddock packed like sardines in a press the warnings were there we complained to stewards and police after the match but it obviously went over there heads !

  30. I was at the game in 87, what I can say is that the game was delayed 15 minutes to allow the masses of Leeds fans still outside the staduim into the ground, when my friend and I finally got into the leppings lane terrace the pitch was barely visible , a policeman shoved us and told us there plenty of room down the front, the terrace was clearly over populated , whether or not the 15 minute delay made any difference I’m not sure but what I can say is that it could have happened to us that day, thank god it didn’t !

  31. This poem has had 200,000 likes and comments on facebook and is all over twitter. it is being read tonight on the pete price show on radio city. It is being published in liverpool echo and is on the eternal flame. I have been contacted by families who lost loved ones and was actually invited to The glovers family home to meet Ian glovers mam and dad who have and love the poem. The best thing is that I am an everton fan and I would like to be oinvolved in your documentary which is fab. Read comments all over facebook and twitter. cheers. 07948838192. x1989, just another game, was it just a football match, and did I die for blame? April was the month, 15th was the date, time was on my side you know, cos I was never late. Butties for my journey, money off my dad, scarf around my little neck, I am my Mothers lad. Oh the mighty reds, semi final day, couldn’t wait to see my team, I wasn’t drunk okay? Singing on the coach, waving mum goodbye, blow a kiss and see her smile, I didn’t mean to die? Got my ticket here, in my tracksuit top, it was red and white of course, like my old famous Kop. What an atmosphere, walking to the ground, thousands of supporters sing, I’m feeling safe and sound. Turn-style over there, feel a little push, what’s the need to swear at me, this copper in a rush? Something isn’t right, feeling threatened now, hoarded like an animal, but I’ll get in somehow? I can see gate C, there is something wrong, men on horses lose control, I still hear that song. This anthem was my last, frightened on my own, I lost my dad along the way, my need to walk alone. The gate was opened wide, they let us in as one, released my fear and said a prayer, where has my daddy gone? Carried by a wave, women kids and men, there was no escape for me, inside this little pen. Nowhere left to go, crying for my dad, Mum I need a little help, cos this is really bad. Coming up for air, there was not enough, taking breath that wasn’t there, already out of puff. Falling to the floor, someone help me please, lift me up and carry me, just get me off my knees. What is going on? Why am I in here? I have come to watch my team, instead I shed a tear. Why is that man still? Horror on his face, get me out before I die, my only saving grace. The song I love has gone, replaced with cries and screams, this is not what I came for, so distant from my dreams? Lost within a wall, of dying souls like me, my eyes they close as I give up, I’m drowning in this sea. I gasp again for air, but it is way too late, my fight has gone with my last breath, resigned I am to fate. Oh my Mammies tears, the Mersey they will fill, the sorrow of this Saturday, will have to wait until. Justice being served, I’m angry that I’m dead, amongst the 96 that day, I was to blame they said? The sun they printed truth, of lie’s upon their lie’s, with politicians who were bent, the men I now despise. The police who got it wrong, the carers I don’t trust, the paramedics lied to me, to cover up a must? Say a prayer for me, for I have sorely gone, and long before my time I add, this justice for no one. I am a lonely soul, who longs to be a peace, my mum and dad need peace as well, their pain will never cease. But on this special day, the truth is plain to see, that I was not to blame that day, this truth is sent by me. My spirit lingers on, cos we shall not be moved, a son who went so far away, a sin that will be proved. I stand in silent awe, beside my loyal friends, the 96 including me, our resting now depends. On evidence so clear, the public my domain, I’ll rise above deceitful men, to be with you again. The light that shines for me, exonerates the blame, the truth is out and I will live, as your eternal flame. I Love you mum and dad, I love you Merseyside, I love you all across the park, together we have pride. The time has come to rest, so please don’t be too sad, I’ll get the truth to you somehow, so trust in me your lad. bobby.parry@live.co.uk

  32. I was at the game in 87 with my brother who was only 11 at the time, a friend & my dad. I was 13 & this was my first time watching Leeds away from Elland Road. This was the biggest game I had ever known so i was delighted when my uncle managed to get us tickets for the Leppings Lane end, i couldn’t wait to get there! After travelling from Scarborough & eventually reaching the ground after numerous road blocks & delays, i seem to recall that the match had already been delayed before we got through the turnstiles. Obviously, we were desperate to get in for the start of the game & once through the turnstiles the only obvious point of entry was through ‘that tunnel’, no stewards or police to direct you & seemingly nowhere else to go. I remember being in the tunnel & struggling even to get onto the terracing but once in i had never experienced anything like it before or since – as a young lad it was a truly awful & frightening experience & i was scared. We got separated from my friend until after the game & i ended up behind a crush barrier & struggling for breath, after somehow managing to get underneath & to the other side of the barrier, myself, my brother & dad ended up near the front of the terrace right behind the goal, everyone was packed in so tightly together & at times it was almost unbearable. Coupled with the heat & as the game went on i just wanted to get out & clearly remember thinking at one point in the 2nd half with the game at 1-1 that i didn’t want Leeds to score again (which given the context of the game & as a massive Leeds fan clealy shows how bad things in that end were). My heart goes out to the 96 who died that tragic day in 89 & i believe that real justice is still to be done. We were so lucky 2 years earlier & it still haunts me thinking how easily it could have been us, but how sad & unforgivable that lessons from this game & 81 were not learnt.

  33. You can see evidence of fans being pulled up in 1987 at approx 13:10 mins on here:

    Suprised it wasn’t mentioned as it looks like game was broadcast live on TV.


  34. I Have 3 memories of leppings lane traumas as a man united fan..first was in 76 v derby in the cup semi final..we were allocated the leppings lane though we outnumbered derby 5 to 1 in fans that day..and as a 10 yr old was passed down the terraces overthe heads of united fans due to the overcrowding..the 2nd time the semi 77 v leeds..it was expected that the fans would be split 50/50..we again had the leppings lane but also half the kop..many united fans were allowed to pay at theturnstiles.id gone both times iwth my grandad but the 2nd time..it seemed sickly just trying to get in.it was like nothing id seen before or since.
    the 3rd in 89 4 weeks before the disaster..united played sheff wed..again pay on the door..we took 15 000 and united fans were lifted upwards into seats..about 100 of us were escorted out the middle section of the leppings lane into a corner section due to over crowding..the staduim is a menace.ive taken my 2 teenage daughters to the hillsborough memorial.i may be a red ,but im a dad first ,i cannot imagine takin my daughters to games like a generation of us had to suffer

    1. This is weird as I was at the game [2-0 win McClair 2 ?] and don’t seem to remember it being that bad. I was stood right at the back against the wall that led up to the seats right next to the tunnel entrance on the left side. Maybe being this far back meant we missed any crushes, it was packed no doubt though
      What I do remember is being in the seats in Oct 87 [My first game as a regular weekly matchgoer and 3rd United game overall] and seeing really bad crushing made worse by spotting a group of friends not lucky enough to have got seat tickets, this looked really bad and like all tales of Hillsborough the left side pen by the floodlights was emptyish by comparison with human nature meaning fans liked to be behind the goal

      Looking back it’s strange as my 2nd ever game was the 87 Easter1-0 win against Liverpool where the end paddock in United road [which was further back than usual to accommodate the large away following] saw very bad crushing until the police had no option to open the next pen

  35. A mate and me attended this game as we are both leeds fans and i must say the crushing behind the goal was the worst we had encounterd and i,d been in that end in 84 with a weds fan v liverpool for a milk cup game att 49,357. there was 51,372 for the leeds game, the problem is all the fans go directly through the tunnel and not guided to the end pens.
    Also leeds fans were escorted straight to the ground from the train station at hillsborough by the police and not able to gather outside such was there reputation at that time.

  36. Andrew Vause
    I was 20 years old at the time and it seemed like the biggest game for Leeds in years. I remember going to the game on a national coach laid on from Pontefract. My mates had got tickets for different places so I was on the Bus not really knowing anyone. The match was going to be televised live, but with a delay on broadcast until the match had finished. Are coach seemed to take hours to get to Sheffield, the queues on the Penistone Road were massive. I remember the coach getting there and dropping us off near a school, near the small train stop. Walking down the street was so congested, we had our tickets checked twice.
    Then eventually we got to the entrance where if I remember rightly there were guiding barriers leading to the entrance. I stayed with a lad called Billy from the coach at this point. It was then that a 15 min delay on Kick off had been announced. This seemed to dissipate some of the chaos. Eventually Billy and I got in I took one look at the now infamous walkway and didn’t fancy so I walked to the right and went into the pen nearest to the Old stand. There was loads of space here. The match had been underway for about 2 mins when we had got in.
    As the first half past Leeds took the lead with a David Rennie header, in the pen where I was there wasn’t even a surge it was very comfortable, but felt devoid if atmosphere compared to the middle 2 pens. It was at this point Billy spotted one of his mates in the seated stand above he went up to him and was lifted in, not through crushing but just to be with his mate. Because I was alone I decided that at half timeI would try to get into the middle pens, to join in with the singing etc.
    it’s funny 25 years on I still remember silly little things. On The infamous middle fence in front of the tunnel remember a group of fans in really high spirits as we were winning, they were singing along to Curiosity Killed the Cat and Mental as anything, I clearly remember this coming over the tannoy at half time.

    I got into the pen directly behind where Keith Edward’s header would take place. The funny thing is I can’t remember how I got there, I think I must have come out of my pen and re-entered the middle sections through the tune. I’m 6 ft 4 in and burly so I manage to get some distance into the centre pen, but after a few minutes I wish hadn’t.
    For most of the second half I was off of my feet with the surging. The daft thing was because
    It was early April I’d borrowed my dad’s sheepskin coat. I remember thinking that had it not been my dad’s I’d have taken it off and flung it.

    When Edwards equalised the surging was pandemonia,I also remember loads of liquid covering everone as people chucked their soft drinks into the air. I really was just trying to keep on my feet in the second half and I remember thinking if this ends up a daw after extra time that I didn’t fancy going to the replay ( no pens then)’ unfortunately Dave Bennett put paid to that. An enjoyable but weirdly scary experience. Remember it was a sunday morning a sunday morning and this may have helped us not face the same fate as the poor Liverpool fans.

  37. I was at the semi final against Coventry with a ticket for the Leppings Lane end (standing). I cant recall seeing people pulled out of the pens behind the goal as myself and my friend were on the upper corner of the stand on the left hand side as you looked onto the pitch. What I do remember though is the pens looking extremely full to the point of it appearing to be overfull and the corner terracing where I was stood having more room than you would have expected for a sell out game.

  38. Was at the ground that day Leeds lost to Coventry. I was in the seats behind the goal in the middle of the stand. My friends were in the stands and said that this was the worst crushing that they had ever come across. We were home and away for nearly every game from 1976 onwards so that is some statement. We were searched several times going to the ground which was delaying everyone getting in which only led to the build up of anxiety to get in to the ground. There were lots of dorged tickets going around at the time, not sure what it was like for LIverpool game. People were being lifted into the seats from below and I remember thinking I had just paid thirty quid for my ticket and they were getting seats for stand prices, but when you saw how bad it was below you soon realised it was just to relieve the pressure. The disaster could quite easily have been us. Someone has to stand up and be counted as someone is definitely to blame. These things dont just happen do they?? The people of Liverpool deserve justice. If this happened to Leeds you could guarantee that we the fans would be blamed just as the Liverpool fans unjustly were.
    Fight on you are getting there!!!!!

  39. Our experience was much the same as the liverpool fans. We were tight up outside trying to get through the turnstiles. We finally got through and into the area at the back of the stand. We waited a while for the rest of yhe lads to come through, then walked towards the tunnel to the bottom of the stand. As we got to the tunnel entrance a bloke was coming out of the tunnel with two teenage lads. He looked at us and said “fuck that lads, it’s a fuckin death trap down. We ended up waiting for ages in the tunnel, which then opened up into a packed pen area. One of my mates was only 5 foot 4 and used to climb every fence because he couln’t see where ever he went. The match started and we couldn’t see a thing. It started to get a bit hairy so i climbed up the same internal seperating fence as andy. As we looked up, people were jesturing to us both to be pulled up into the seats above which we did. We were all pulling people up for ages and spent the rest of the mstch sat on the stairs

  40. i was on the leppings lane end for the quarter final in 87 supporting coventry,the center section was rammed solid yet the side sections were all but empty,it was actually a disaster waiting to happen

    rest in peace the 96,let justice be done

  41. I was behind the goal. i was 20 and obsessed with Leeds. i hated the game because twas so scary. i had my watch ripped off and i was full of sweat. i hard pressed to see the game because you were so tight. so glad to get out and no interest in the result.
    Absolutely horrible.

  42. I was there in 1987 stood on leppings lane terraces getting crushed…. I scaled the fence to the pitch and was slapped round the head by a copper and told to ‘get back in there and shut up!’…. Horrifies me to this day.

  43. I was at Hillsborough v coventry and I was lucky ebnough to get out and spent the duration of the game sat in the south stand after climbing out of leppings lane standing area.police tried pushing us back into the pens but eventually let us out into south stand.i also saw people climbing up into the seated area above the standing part of leppings lane.after seeing wolves v spurs and witnessing leeds v coventry I av to say it was a disaster that should av been avoided.

  44. Villa fan living in Coventry. One thing to remember is that Coventry played at Hillsborough in the quarter final that year and also filled the Leppings Lane End. I know a number of Coventry fans who were there and reported very similar experiences to those of the Leeds fans above.

    Also to note is that the 1988 semi (also Liverpool v Forest as in 1989) saw massive crowding in the same terrace. It’s easily viewable on Youtube. The lateral fences in that terrace combined with the tunnel sloping into the central two pens turned the place into an absolute deathtrap.

    Also, a few months previously to Hillsborough in January 1989, Villa fans were involved in a horrible crush at West Ham in a league cup quarter final. I was 18 at the time and at one stage was in genuine fear of my life. Luckily there were no fences at Upton Park at that time so the pressure was relieved by people getting onto the pitch in large numbers. Had there been perimeter fences up, I am certain that there would have been a large number of deaths at that game. Incidentally when I managed to escape the crush and was frantically looking for my Dad, I was struck and racially abused by a (black) Metropolitan police officer.

  45. I was there that day in seating area above standing and saw same also felt police tactics were over top. I was stopped constantly on way to ground and was only 15 and no trouble maker. Wasn’t suprised with what happened to Liverpool fans

  46. Remember that game well. We arrived via train at a small station near the ground, i’m sure it was Hillsborough station. We were checked at numerous points walking to the ground, hundreds were kept on the streets outside, no ticket no way past the check point.

    Our tickets were for the pen directly behind the goal but fortunately we managed to find our way into the standing area between the Leppings lane end and the seating.

    It was still busy there but at that age it what we lived for. I was 15 at the time and watching the fans was as much a part of the game as the game itself.

    You didn’t fear the atmosphere or the swaying of fans, that was normal. I must admit though at that game we were glad to be stood away from the goal.

    I remember fans climbing into the seats, with Leeds fans pulling them into the seats. At first we thought it was just friends separated but then realised the standing area was packed solid.

    The movement of fans was like something i’d never seen before and the atmosphere was changing to one of fear. More fans were escaping from behind the goal to the outer reaches of the standing areas and into the seats.

    Like I stated as kids you didn’t feel threatened or realise the extent of crushing, that was football in them days.

    Only time I have been scared was at Middlesborough’s old ground. The police were slow to react their, eventually opening a standing area in the opposite corner to us and allowing fans pitchside. That’s a story for another day.

  47. I was 23 years old went to leeds coventry semi final st Hillsborough with the old man what strikes out in my mind has we walked down under wadsley bridge just after the bridge was a row of police asking us to show our tickets inside the ground I was stood behind the goal on leppings lane all though it was packed I never felt in sny danger perhaps if the police didn’t hav checked fans who had not got tickets and let everyone threw it could well have been different

  48. I was in the centre pen of the leppings lane end. I was there with my father. I had been to numerous grounds around the country, but for crowd congestion this had to be the worst. I was looking forward to my first FA cup semi final. I found a position in the stand and not so long after the kick off the crushing started. At one point i had to injure myself slightly to get underneath the crush barriers so I could breath. It has to be the worst ground for this I have visited

  49. I was 15 and in the leppings lane end for the game. I remember panicking about being crushed against the metal barrier which I was stood behind. I doubled up my match programme and put it between myself and the barrier to give me some space to breath.
    Very frightening from what I can remember and my heart goes out to all the families and friends of the poor souls who lost their lives on that terrible day at Hillsborough.

  50. I was there to the side of Leppings Lane in the corner – In my opinion if game kicked off at 3-00pm the same disaster would have happened – shocking the way everybody was crowded in. You only have to see the highlights of when Keith Edwards equalised it was desperate. The fact there was no drink allowed coupled with early kick off saved lives.

  51. I was in the lower stand of the Leppings lane end. I was right behind the goal. Before the game I couldn’t believe they were still letting people in and some people were climbing above to the upper stand. I was crushed and on a couple of occasions was going to bend down but knew this was the wrong thing to do. I stuck it out but was uncomfortable for most of the game. What with the hot weather, it was a accident waiting to happen. As i arrived at Hillsborough police were trying to get people inside but inside the crush was getting worse & worse. Unfortunately football fans were treated like cattle back then and luckily for us the worse didn’t happen. The stark warnings were never heeded and I was not surprised if still horrified by what happened 2 years later

  52. I too was in that middle pen for the semi final. My over riding memory of it (apart from the game) was being squashed in, being able to take my feet off the floor and not dropping down and the heat. I am superstitious and always wore my lucky (!!!)) blue jumper. About halfway through the second half it became un bearable and I had to take it off asking a friend to pull it over my head as I couldn’t do it myself. I didn’t think much of it at the time as such conditions and treatment were common place. It was only after the Liverpool tragedy that I realised that it was just luck lthat it had not happened before.

    The only safety consideration that I remember was that flags and banners were confiscated before the game to be collected from the leisure centre after.

  53. I was there with my parents, sister, 4 cousins and 2 aunties and uncles. As a 12 year old Leeds United fanatic I had attended dozens of away games and was well accustomed to overzealous stewarding from hosting police forces. In 86/87 I was also a mascot at Elland Road against Grimsby Town and have very mixed feelings form that season. I lived and breathed football. I will never forget my first visit to Hillsborough to watch what I was hoping to be a “Giant Killing” even though Leeds United has always been much bigger than Coventry City. As I stepped off our Griffin Hotel Branch supporter’s club coach I was greeted with a South Yorkshire policeman who told me that I could not take my beloved Leeds United flag with me, but could take it into the ground if I removed the very thin wooden stick. He snatched it off me and snapped it before my eyes. For a grown man to do that to a child gives you an insight into their mentality that day. Imagine my shock when I saw the Coventry end with HUGE flags that must have been held up by scaffolding poles!!!
    I remember attending games at Bramall Lane and receiving similar heavy handed tactics by SY police with the use of snarling dogs and less than subtle horses. It appeared that all Leeds United fans were branded hooligans and thugs irrespective of age. They were truly shameful.
    Anyway, back to the semi final. Walking down to the ground was intimidating due to the sheer number of police. I know we have always had a bad reputation, but I thought the police were supposed to be peace keepers and not trouble causers. We were sat in the upper Leppings Lane end as an extra special treat because we normally stood in the Kop for home matches. I can guarantee you that men, women and children were being passed up to the upper tier as we were sat very close to the front. I still have an old VHS copy of the match somewhere and it doesn’t take an experienced investigator to see the Leeds fans behind the goal in extreme discomfort with little or no help from the police or stewards.
    When I watched the Liverpool v Notts Forest game it gave me a chill down my spine because I knew how close we had come to something going seriously wrong that day 2 years earlier.
    I guess that because their tactics had worked previously and no major incident had occurred they employed the same outdated methods for the Liverpool fans and now we all know what happened then.
    RIP to the 96. The way our government and police force have covered this up for so long is shameful. At the end of the day we are a football community irrespective of who we support and what happened that day is truly unforgivable.

  54. Reading the comments here bring back just how awful following football was in the eighties? Why was nothing done about crushes in 81, 87, 88 to prevent 89? Because football fans were the lowest of the low in the eyes of the authorities and the police and didn’t warrant consideration. Unsafe exits, unsanitary toilets, unsafe exits and fire risks. True some fans had helped to create the attitude of the authorities with mass violence and drunkenness (I’m talking in general not about 89) but it is still staggering to recall how people were treated like cattle. Just get em off the streets was the attitude and you can read plenty of “hooligan books” of people being shoved into away ends having gone without tickets knowing the police didn’t want them hanging around outside so afraid were they of trouble and too lazy to nick them with that pesky paperwork. All those involved in contributing to the deaths at Hillsborough should rightly have the book thrown at them but it could have happened at other grounds. I’ve been involved in crushes at Roker Park, Filbert Street, Baseball Ground and White Hart Lane.
    Those people should never have lost their lives and it is terrible that it took those deaths to make the authorities change their mind.

  55. I was at the Leeds v Coventry semi final. i remember standing at the back of the terrace underneath the upper stand where the other Leeds fans were sat. We were packed in like sardines , the roof was low and conditions were claustrophobic dark and very very hot and movement was limited. Watching much of the match was difficult.

  56. I was in the Leppings Lane end I have always thought there but for the grace of god go I. Football was like that in those days a chaotic crowd surging crushing it was just how it was… Crazy and dangerous there were times when your feet wouldn’t touch the ground if you were lucky you would just be separated from your friends if you were unlucky you would find yourself pinned up against a barrier or a fence, with the full force of the crowd pushing against you.
    It wasn’t good but like I said it was just how it was…… Until it wasn’t!

  57. I tore my t-shirt and jumper off with my hands. because I was so crushed and hot.It was well over crowded in pen 3 one of the best games i’ve been to. But i did not enjoy it i was scared .

  58. “Operation Resolve is the independent criminal investigation into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough Stadium on 15/4/89. The investigation team is also providing assistance to the Coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, in relation to the inquests, which commenced on 31st March 2014.

    In November 2011 I requested responses from Leeds fans who would be willing to be interviewed about their experiences of the Leeds v Coventry 1987 semi-final at Hillsborough. Operation Resolve is keen to speak with a number of you who kindly responded in order to collate evidence of comparison between the two fixtures for both the criminal and coronial inquiries.

    Operation Resolve are requesting that Martin Keat, Martin Tustin-Smith, Marc Gibbons, Ed McKenna, Chris Hancock, Martin Hardwick, Mark Ezart, Andrew Woodhead, Ian Simpson, John McDonald, D Scott, Paul Brace, Stephen Foden, Ady Smith, Jon Roberts, Rob Jesse and Paul Noon, Andrew Vause, Eddie Welby, Ian Harris46, Neil Parker, Tony Hepworth, Darren Taylor, Liam, Dean Jarvis, Craig Myers, Leedsleedsleeds, Paul Brace, Ian Job, Martin and Paul Trigg contact them via the Operation Resolve website (operationresolve.co.uk) and mark responses for the attention of Detective Inspector Graham Coates.”

  59. Hi Mike, I was at the Leeds v Coventry game in 87 and was in the upper cantilever section above the Leppings lane end,Yes the pens below we’re very full due to the massive Leeds away support my feelings looking round the ground were the amount of space allocated and not filled by the Coventry allocation I believe the end allocated to(Coventry Supporters)being the normal S.Weds Kop so obviously larger.
    It seems Liverpool were also consigned to the smaller section of the ground even though they were a massively supported team.Reasons for this allocation seemed to be judged by the police looking at the arrival direction from the respective clubs.Most football people can hazard a guess who the best supported teams are other than the top four premier clubs who may have equal amounts ie leeds average gates at the time 30,000 for a then div 2 club Coventry in div 1 around 24,000 similarily Liverpool 40,000 notts forest around 30,000. Seems the police looking to contain any problems arising outside the ground instead of thinking sensibly and caring for the safety of supporters in a confined area once inside. Hope this helps RIP the 96

  60. Only just came across this I can confirm the comments above regarding Leeds fans being lifted into the seats above the terracing to get away from the crush people ended up sitting on the walkway between the seats etc I have always said what happened in 89 could easily have happened in 87 Policing back then was just awful every football fan was treated as a hooligan & pushed around like cattle in fact we used to say at least cattle have rights

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