The Hillsborough Independent Panel has uncovered evidence that the serious over-crowding in the central pens in 1988 prompted one fan to write to the FA to complain. Comments in the letter …

“The whole area was packed solid to the point where it was impossible to move and where I, and others around me, felt considerable concern for personal safety,”

“As a result of the crush an umbrella I was holding in my hand was snapped in half against the crush barrier in front of me… My concern over safety was such – at times it was impossible to breathe – that at half-time… I managed to extricate myself from the terrace, having taken the view that my personal safety was more important than watching the second half.”

I would therefore like to add this page as another chapter in the story. We have a page with many comments from Spurs & Leeds fans for both the 1981 and 1987 semi-finals, links to those are below.

Please reply to this page with your recollections of the 1988 semi-final, and leave your contact details if you are willing to appear in the documentary.

1987 semi-final with comments from Leeds & Coventry fans: http://thehillsboroughdisasterdocumentary.com/2011/11/18/hillsborough-leeds-v-coventry-1987-semi-final/

1981 semi-final with comments from Spurs & Wolves fans: http://thehillsboroughdisasterdocumentary.com/2011/11/16/hillsborough-1981-disaster-narrowly-avoided/

Part one of the documentary is can be watched here:




  1. I was ther in 88 but i dont remember anything untoward , i was probably right at the very front very behind the goal, the main difference for me was the amount of police on duty in 88 compared to 89

  2. The FA must surely be brought to book and surely now there is scope for another documentary on the role of the FA in regards to the choice of stadia for semi finals and it’s possible failure to act in the face of numerous warnings and requests for changes of venue. I reitterate, the possible failure, as nothing is proven but the Hillsborough report and the comments and letters now surfaceing surely warrant an investigation? The footballing public have a right to know.

  3. I’m from Sheffield. I was nearly 20 in 88 and while I was a Wednesday fan, I had a leaning towards Liverpool; they were after all the most successful side in English football and the ones seen most often on TV. I remember driving past Hillsborough at about 12 o’clock and seeing a couple of touts selling tickets. I paid £50 for 2 tickets on the Leppings Lane End and drove home to fetch my girlfriend. We caught the bus the few miles to the ground, walked up Leppings Lane with thousands of Liverpool fans. I don’t remember there being a particularly large amount of Police nor having much difficulty in getting into the ground. We walked through the tunnel and parked ourselves in the middle of the terracing immediately behind the goal. It was around 30 minutes before kickoff. I had been to Hillsborough hundreds of times, but it was the first time I had been as an away fan. Over the next 30 minutes the pen became increasingly crowded and I started to become less and less able to control where we were standing. It was like being in a sea with a strong rip tide. We were being pulled and pushed by the mass of fans entering the area as kick off got closer. At one point I remember my girlfriend being pulled away from my grasp and I decided that we couldn’t stay because I couldn’t look after myself, let alone her. I don’t remember being scared, only concerned but I fought my way to the back of the pen with her behind me and then we slid along the wall until we were back through the tunnel. Once we were free of the crowds I decided to move into the area at the corner of the stand, which joined onto the North Stand, and we watched and enjoyed the game with no more thoughts to where we had been. It stayed that way for a year.
    April 15 1989, same place, probably the same touts. It was the first time I had thought about that 88 semi. I asked the tout if he had 2 tickets for the Kop, which was once again the Forest end. I didn’t want to have to go through all the hassle of the previous year again. We followed exactly the same routine as the previous year; we even walked up the Leppings lane simply because I wanted to be with the Liverpool fans. I remember passing a bunch of fans sitting drinking a few tins, ironically where the 1989 memorial now stands. I intended to walk down the side of the ground, underneath the South Stand, but it was blocked off by lines of Police with barriers. The area around the Leppings Lane entrance was busy but I don’t remember thinking it was any busier than I would expect for such a big game. We made our way through the side streets and eventually got onto the Kop. In the corner of the Kop is a small triangle, which was and still is separated from the rest of the stand. In the triangle were a bunch of stray Liverpool fans segregated from the Forest fans by a line of Police: we went to stand with them. A beautiful day. The game kicked off and was pretty none descript until nearly quarter past 3 O’clock when Peter Beardsley hit the bar just in front of the Liverpool fans on the Leppings Lane end. A short time later the first fans climbed over the fencing, we didn’t know why. I remember an idiot running the full length of the pitch and taunting the Forest fans, and then the hoardings carrying the injured started to go past us. That was the first time we realised how serious it was. My girlfriend left with her Dad, I stayed. I went down to the area by the Gym, probably half an hour later and asked a Policeman if there was anything I could do to help. “Just go home son”; so I did. YNWA.

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