Looking for fans who were at Everton v Norwich; FA Cup semi-final in 1989

I am making a documentary about the Hillsborough disaster , and would be really interested in hearing from both Everton and Norwich fans about their experiences of being in the ‘other’ semi-final at Villa Park that day.

I am interested to hear how the news filtered through, what the initial story was, reactions etc. Anything recollections that you have of that day would be gratefully received in this thread, and if you could also indicate if you would be willing to be interviewed on camera I would be grateful.

Please use the ‘leave a comment’ feature above to post your recollections, or email me at mike_nicholson@hotmail.co.uk

7 thoughts on “Looking for fans who were at Everton v Norwich; FA Cup semi-final in 1989

  1. I was a 15-year-old Norwich City fan, standing on the Holte End at Villa Park with my dad and brother. For most of the match I was terrified, because the end was so overloaded with supporters that I thought something disastrous was going to happen. At one point a big surge ended with me pressed against a crush barrier with a bruised rib. News of what was happening at Hillsborough began to filter through via people’s radios in the first half. The talk of the terrace was that the Liverpool fans had “kicked off”. Then the story began to clear, and it was obvious that some supporters had died. Nobody knew how many, or why. At this stage, if I’m being honest, I remained more concerned about Norwich City, who were putting on their usual FA Cup semi-final no-show. When the final whistle blew, we went back to our bus and the driver told us the grim reality of the Hillsborough disaster. Scores of people were dead. And suddenly the match that I had just watched meant nothing – absolutely nothing. After the initial “it could have been me” reaction (we were similarly squeezed in at the previous match, the FA Cup quarter final at West Ham), I was left with a sick feeling in my stomach, thinking about the awful demise of so many people. The journey home was quiet, as the fans reflected on something that was far more important than football.

  2. As I got back on the coach to leave villa park I asked people why they were so miserable, it was then I was told there was 50+ dead at hillsborough. I was 15 and sat in shock for the rest of the journey wondering and hoping that my family members and friends were safe. The journey home was a nightmare

  3. From an unnamed Everton fan:

    I travelled down in a mate’s car, met up with some others in a pub in Perry Barr and had the usual pre-match refreshment, which typically in those days was 6 or 7 pints and a soggy ham batch. Got in the Holte End about 10 to 3, as you do, stood right in the middle of the singing, as I always did at that age (18).

    First signs of any trouble was the scoreboard in the far corner stating that the kick off had been delayed at Hillsborough, I think they attributed it to hooliganism (not 100% sure), but it certainly stated trouble of some sort – I remember thinking at the time, ‘them cunts are at it again’.

    Anyways on to our game, I was getting involved in the singing and all that, the shouting the team on, etc, but the atmosphere was notably muted. I put it down to the relatively low key nature of the fixture and the fact we were expected to win comfortably.

    The scoreboard told us the other semi had been abandoned at half time, again, thought nothing of it, and at no stage of that game did I know there was a disaster unfolding. Pat Nevin scored early in the 2nd half, I celebrated it like all other ‘big’ goals but again the celebrations around weren’t as frenetic as they should have been. Ditto the singing afterwards.

    The first I heard about what had happened was on the steps at the back of the Holte End on the way out of the ground off a lad with a transistor radio stuck to his ear. Absolute focus on our own match and probably the pre-match juice meant I didn’t even think about what was happening elsewhere and why the atmosphere was so flat. Can’t remember exactly how many, think it was 15 he said had died on the terraces. At that point, I was absolutely gripped with panic, my mate and I hardly spoke on the way back to the car and we were hearing the death toll rise by eaves dropping fellow blues with radios.

    Most Blues there that day knew people at the game. In my case, it was my then girlfriend who I’d been with for 11 months, Kop season ticket holder, always stood right in the middle and she’d had problems there the season previously. Her ma & da didn’t have a house phone so I couldn’t get in touch and obviously no mobiles. The drive back up the motorway listening to news reports with casualties rising by the report, knowing she was bound to have been right in the middle of the ‘trouble’, was horrendous.

    The rest is a bit of a blur, I was knackered and getting hungover … me, her arl fella and brother-in-law got to Lime Street and waited for the remaining Sheffield trains to get in, ringing her mates house for any news of her mate’s ma. She wasn’t on any of the trains, but after the last one had got in we heard from her mate’s ma, she was critical in the Northern General Hospital. Her da and me jumped a cab straight up there, 2 things sticking out – the driver took the full fare (we later heard about altruistic drivers who were running people up there gratis; not in my experience) and her arl fella opening the window to wake me up every time I dropped off.

    Addendum: The girlfriend slowly made a full recovery after 10 days in a coma, has a family and is good mates with my sister.

  4. I’m a Norwich fan and was at the other semi final on the day of Hillsborough. I was 18 at the time.

    We were running late on the way to the game, had had a few beers and were rushing to get into the ground. We were in the Holte End, then a massive bank of terracing. It was packed but the Police made us go us through a specific entrance and then took us right down to the front where there was more space. If only S Yorks police had been that organised.

    We weren’t aware that anything untoward was happening at Hillsborough until half-time. Someone had a radio (pre-mobile phone days) and the Chinese whispers came through the crowd that 4 people had died at Hillsborough and the game had been called off, that was it. We assumed at the time that it was hooliganism, which at that time was a not unlikely happening and there was even some gallows humour about it.

    Those of us at Villa Park were probably the only people in the country not aware of what was really happening in Sheffield and as a result both sets of fans were able to concentrate of the game, which was scrappy and unmemorable.

    It wasn’t till we got back to our minibus and put the radio on that the full story of what had happened started to emerge and our disappointment at losing was soon forgotten as we sat listening to the developing story on the radio whilst we travelled home.

    I look back and don’t think that the Cup final would have taken place that year if it hadn’t have been between Liverpool and Everton, so it was probably for the best that we lost that day.

  5. I was at the Everton v Norwich game, as a Norwich fan – I was 17 at the time. It was very surreal, no one around us knew what had really happened at Hillsborough until the game was over. We knew kick off had been delayed but that was about it. I remember something coming up on the scoreboard at Villa Park, saying ‘Liverpool v Notts Forest, kick off delayed’ several times and we all thought it was probably down to hooligans, as was so common at many football matches back then.

    When we got back to the coaches outside Villa Park, people were crying and it was only then that the full picture started to become clear. We sat around for what seemed hours just listening to the radio, in total disbelief.

    I also remember suddenly feeling very scared on the way home once we finally got going; I’d just been standing amongst several thousand fans, getting swayed back and forth, up and down, and the realisation that it could have just as easily been us really hit me. I remember thinking just HOW easy it would be for that to happen. It still makes me shudder today. We hadn’t seen any TV pictures, just listened to sports commentators try to describe the scene, which made it somehow weirdly vivid, more so than perhaps it would have been if we were watching it.

  6. I was 15 and travelled to the game on one of Norwich City’s Club Canary coaches with 3 friends. It was a warm day and we were standing on the left hand side of the Holte end terrace. I remember seeing some lads I went to school with but for some reason we didn’t stand with them. We eventually took our place fairly near the front right next to the fence segregating the City and Everton fans.

    We stood with a couple of Villa fans and struck up a conversation about football. We spoke about City’s chances which had been dealt a blow with key players Mike Phelan and Robert Fleck not playing.

    During the first half, I remember one of them casually saying there was trouble at Hillsborough and there were fans on the pitch. Like a lot of people the immediate assumption was crowd trouble. We later heard the match had been abandoned. The Villa fans spent most of the first half exchanging “banter” with the Everton fans. They left at half time and we never saw them after that.

    I can’t honestly remember anything else about the game (other than Norwich were awful and lost) or the events at Hillsborough until we got back on the coach. The radio was on and we heard that 42 people had died. I shivered when I heard that.

    On the way home the coach was quiet. What really is there to say when people went to watch a game of football and didn’t come home.

    In those days there were no mobile phones but its still unbelievable that we didn’t hear about the events at Hillsborough until after the game.

    My mum who was back in Norwich saw the events on TV and for a few minutes was in a terrible panic as the TV coverage didn’t initially make it clear where the tragedy had taken place.

  7. I was at the match, during the game we heard there had been trouble , and the match was delayed.

    We then heard someone was dead, then more than one, five .
    By the time the match had finnished it was ten or twenty, my head was spinning, coudnt take in what i was hearing, i,d only been to hilsbourough
    once before , the league cup final replay versus aston villa, in 77.

    I was 16 years old, when we equalised to take the game into extra time, i thought i wouldnt make it home.
    the crowd surged forward and i was picked up off my feet, i came home without my shoes, my mam went mad at me , this was twenty years earlier.

    when she heard about the 96 who died , she thanked god it wasnt me 20 years earlier, and appologised for telling me off for loseing my shoes!

    Thinling back i believe it was a disaster waiting to happen, penned in like animals……

    As we walked back to our coach from villa park , women were running ahead of me , with a look of terror on there faces, i spotted Andy King ,
    he was just walking like every other fan , but his face was turned down, i couldnt believe it was him, walking next to us,

    Andy i shouted, whats happened at the liverpool game, he turned , tears were streaming down his face, i then became frightened for my friends who were there, its awful he said, there dead , loads of them dead.

    My heart skipped a beat , it wasnt about football anymore, people had died, friends had died.

    The journey home was terrible, we had just got to the cup final, you would of thought we had been relagated.

    Went to anfield early next day, i was overcome with emotion, all these people, had died, at a place were i thought for a moment i would die twenty years earlier,………………….

    Left the shirt i wore and scarf,

    Went home and cried, they just went to a football match, and didnt come home,

    shankley who i loved , even as an everton fan was wrong its not more important…….

    But i think he knew that..

    Rip 96,

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