Blackburn v Man City – The Day of the Hillsborough Disaster

On the day of the Hillsborough Disaster Man City travelled to Blackburn for a second division match which ended with Blackburn winning the match 4-0.

That day the football hardly mattered though, as in Sheffield a human crush took place before the F.A.Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest which ultimately claimed the lives of 96 men, women and children. One boy who died was as young as 10 years old.

As a part of my documentary about the Hillsborough disaster that happened while this game was taking place, I am asking fans of all clubs to contribute with their thoughts.

Maybe you were at this match or following it on the television or radio? Maybe you had been to Hillsborough previously, and have a story to tell about that?

Spurs & Leeds fans have told their stories about crushing in the ’81 and ’87 semi-finals at Hillsborough, and I have heard from a Man Utd fan who had a terrible experience at the ground in a league game. Some Coventry fans may have been at this game and the 1981 semi-final in which Spurs fans were crushed, thankfully, not fatally?

Whatever you have to say, I’d be grateful if you could leave a reply.

Thanks in advance for your input.

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3 thoughts on “Blackburn v Man City – The Day of the Hillsborough Disaster

  1. Hi Mike

    My recollections of that day are below.

    City were battling from promotion and one of our near rivals near the top of the old 2nd tier were Blackburn, in what was a key game in the latter reaches of the season. I was 18 years old and went to the match on a City Supporters club coach with my mate Adrian (age 17), both of us City daft and anticipating a big day out with a large away following that City took, having the old Darwen End terrace and the Main Stand Paddock as well which is where we would be situated. Standing of course in a crowded terrace paddock.

    I remember it being a warm day, and a cracking atmosphere and in the days before mobile phones only the odd guy on the terrace had a radio with them so as 18 and 17 year olds, we were unaware of what had occurred at Hillsborough. City were slaughtered that day 4-0, and lucky to get nil too, with manager Mel Machin deploying a left-footed, lead footed centre back Gerry Taggert at right back who had promptly been taken to the cleaners by Rovers Scott Sellars all afternoon.

    At half-time and early second half word started to filter around the terrace that the Cup semi had been abandoned due to a crowd incident, but as we’d only heard the whispers from blokes on the terrace who’d probably heard the information third or fourth hand, we had no idea of the magnitude or horror of events at Hillsborough. I remember leaving the Stadium in a foul mood and cursing Mel Machin and the City team, and yet as we boarded the coach the driver had what was radio 2 (now 5 Live) on full blast – quite unusual – and his face was ashen. “You need to listen to the news lads” he said as we went past him.

    One by one the fans came on to the Bus, initially with the typical moans and groans of fans who had just been hammered in a key game, but as the news from Radio 2’s Peter jones started to sink in, silence fell on the coach. When the first death toll number was repeated – 35 deceased as I recall – there was an audible murmur of shock. As the journey home continued, with the coach in total stunned silence, the radio kept feeding us the awful news with the death toll rising making it worse and worse.

    The coach journey seemed to take an age, especially in the stunned silent atmosphere and my Dad collected us from Maine Road and tried to explain what he’s seen on the TV. We’d started the day with City’s promotion push paramount in our minds, but ended it completely stunned that men, women and children, genuine football fans like us, would not be making it home safely from a game of football.

    My U-18 Cricket team manager at the time was a Liverpool fan, following them home and away, and I knew he’d have been at the game. I saw him later that week at cricket practice and he looked haunted. I didn’t dare ask him directly about events that day, though I know he stopped going to football games immediately and in the year that followed, before I sadly lost touch with him with the cricket season ended and I changed clubs. I was only glad he had been one of the lucky ones.

    Lee Bromfield

  2. I was at this match, my memories of the actual game are very vague, I remember going with great expectations we were on the verge of promotion, but, were absolutely hammered 4 nil.

    The stadium was appalling we crammed into a standing area that only really had one exit and there seemed to be more people in than should have been, which wasn’t unusual when I think back as we generally had more fans than any of the lower division stadiums could hold. When we arrived getting a decent viewing position was nigh on impossible, like many others we left, dejected, before the final whistle completely unaware of what was happening elsewhere.

    On the way back to the car there was talk of an incident, but even then we still had no idea of what had really happened, when we got back to the car and turned on the radio and listened to the reports coming out we were stunned, listening in silence all the way home.

    I think as a football supporter, I remember this day more than any, it could have been any of us, all stadiums were in poor condition, the police had no idea of safety and particular supporters from out of town were treated appallingly, I remember crushing incidents at Oxford and Middlesborough that were caused by police packing fans in to completely unsuitable areas. Maine Road itself was no Palace and can remember on many occasions being hurt in a crush and the stampede to leave the stadium was always a worry.

    I for one, after that day,never stood in a stadium again and I certainly have never allowed my children to go to a game without me until they were in adulthood.

    I still feel very emotional seeing the images of that day, I think we all knew that something wasn’t correct about how this had been reported and clearly the people that were there that day knew more, but, the scale of the cover up is quite shocking and makes me feel quite angry particularly as there have supposedly been enquiries before.

    I cannot imagine how the families and everyone involved has been feeling for the last 23 years, a terrible, terrible event from which lessons must be learnt and justice must be done. Football fans everywhere should all be behind the cause as there is no doubt it could have been any of us or our children that day.

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