Poetry | 15.04.1989

This page is for people to post & read poetry written in memory of the 96 men, women & children who lost their lives after a fatal crush on the Leppings Lane terrace at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.

Please reply to this post if you wish to add your poems or comments. I’ll start the page off with a couple of my own, but please do add your own.

19 thoughts on “Poetry | 15.04.1989

  1. What colour is justice?

    The blue of the sky,
    The green of the grass,
    The grey of the concrete,
    That housed all of us.

    The silver crush barriers,
    All mangled and bent,
    The bright white of heaven,
    Where we were all sent.

    The black in my head,
    The tears in my eyes,
    The feeling of anger,
    And hatred, surprise.

    For as I stood there,
    Not able to breathe,
    I saw no one help us,
    From South Yorkshire Police.

    I heard screams of pure terror,
    Saw eyes buldge in pain,
    I saw children to fragile,
    To stand up again.

    I saw people fall down,
    In amongst all the fear,
    But my body couldn’t manage,
    One single more tear.

    The red of the jersey’s.
    The black of the ref,
    Why did so many go,
    Down that tunnel of death?

    The sweet smell of perfume,
    Entered my nose,
    Just who did it come from,
    Nobody knows.

    As I feel myself lifting,
    And floating away,
    I look down in silence,
    At the red Leppings Lane,

    See police in the middle,
    Not lifting a finger,
    And smell the aroma,
    Of the death that will linger.

    Higher and higher,
    I am now in the clouds,
    But the screams and the suffering,
    Is still everywhere around.

    I’m almost at heaven,
    Where Shanks’ sheds a tear,
    He was made for this club,
    That is shattered, and in fear.

    So I ask you Mr Duckenfield,
    How can you sleep?
    When the red of the scarves,
    Saw the web of deceit.

    The black of the ref,
    Was told your vicious lies,
    About the blue of the gate,
    As we lost 96 lives.

    You admitted you lied,
    And still got off free,
    Now that doesn’t sound much,
    Like justice to me.

    Do you count lucky stars,
    When you think of that case,
    Co’s there’s 96 bright ones,
    That call you a disgrace.

    We were taught my our parents,
    To respect the police,
    But today’s kids just laugh at,
    The South Yorkshire Police.

    By Mike Nicholson

    1. Just read this Mike, thanks so much for this it will linger forever in my head. I am at the moment learning all about the Hillsborough Disaster and will be presenting a presentation tomorrow at Bourneville college Birmingham all by myself. I will hold all dearly within my heart and be accurate in facts and make yet another difference to reach out to deliver the justice in these very close coming years.Thankyou Deb

    2. FILTH

      Dirty, wicked lies you are
      Foul and filthy bad
      Sedulous antagonist
      Duplicitous Dobber
      Tarnished Copper

      Mark time. 15:15
      Amble your beat
      Leave the undead to the red
      String up the meat

      Sate the wolf pack
      Feed it on some ragged scrap
      Pen the raging drinkers
      Hold back.
      Hold back.
      Hold back.

      So the crowd corralled
      And scarfed for battle; a noose to all
      Whoever told a tale so tall
      As one of self-butchering cattle?

      What truth?
      In a version of events hell bent
      What service?
      In an injustice meant
      And all the while upon your patch
      Hold back.
      Hold back.
      Hold back.

      By Pickles

  2. Wishing for their old Mum.

    Why didn’t they help us,
    Despite all our cries,
    It was obvious to all,
    We can’t breathe ere’
    We’re dyin’

    Some right at the front,
    Who escaped through the gate,
    Were forced right back in,
    To meet with their fate.

    They were crushed close together,
    In the warmth of the sun,
    With their eyes turned to heaven,
    Wishing for their old Mum.

    Saying bye bye sweet Anfield,
    King Kenny and Rush,
    Adios Peter Beardsley,
    You gave us so much.

    With a song in their soul,
    And a bird on their chest,
    96 bodies were laid down to rest.

    But who was to blame,
    On that warm sunny day,
    Please tell me now,
    The sights won’t go away.

    Why did they fail to,
    Deliver the care,
    And why did they lie to,
    All that was there.

    We didn’t cause Hillsborough,
    As well they all knew,
    But they covered their arses,
    As Coppers will do.

    They said we were rowdy,
    And broke in through that gate,
    When HE gave the order,
    To open it late.

    So why is he out there,
    Playing golf with his mates,
    When 96 reds,
    Were consigned to their fate

    When you close up your eyes,
    At the end of the day,
    Say a few words, yes that’s it,
    We’ll pray.

    For although it seems crazy,
    And beggars belief,
    The law in this country,
    Won’t give us justice.

    By Mike Nicholson

  3. The funny thing about Justice.

    Imagine the uproar,
    And the weight of the law,
    If 96 coppers,
    Lay dead on the floor.

    The law could not stand this,
    This terrible day,
    The people who caused it,
    Would be locked safe away.

    The blame would be total,
    And the sentence so raw,
    The guilty would feel the,
    Long arm of the law.

    The papers would say things,
    Bout’ those brave lads in blue,
    How did ‘they’ cause this?
    I haven’t a clue.

    They were 96 heroes,
    And shouldn’t have died,
    At least with our Justice,
    We’ll avenge their sweet lives.

    Justice is needed,
    And justice is right,
    And justice is the reason,
    We won’t give up the fight.

    We lost our brothers,
    Our Sisters and Dad’s
    And our Mother’s and Uncles,
    And Friends that we had.

    Yet as strange as it seems,
    For that terrible day,
    The justice we seeked,
    Just eroded away.

    We never saw Justice,
    Like those brave boys in blue,
    To me it seems wrong,
    Does it to you?

    By Mike Nicholson

  4. please let the pain go away…

    the silence is deafening as i try to go to sleep
    a cacophony of noises as my mind begins to weep
    the crooked images appear again before me
    my hands reach out to touch
    i can’t see where i’m going
    i miss you oh so very much…

    your face is there before me
    again and again and again
    your vacant eyes stare straight through me
    as if i wasn’t there
    oh why oh why can’t i touch you
    and hold you close to my heart
    its been too many years now
    that has kept us together, but apart…

    my eyes are red and sore with crying
    the terrible images just won’t go away
    of you clawing at those stupid fences
    on that horrid, horrible day…

    i tried so hard to reach you
    to pluck you up and fly
    up, up and away to safety
    up into the sheffield sky…

    i pleaded with those coppers
    just a few inches away from your face
    but they totally utterly ignored me
    an unbelievable human disgrace…

    ”there are people over here dying”
    ”we cannot breathe or move” tell your mates
    ”how can you just stand there and do nothing…”
    ”please open those friggin gates…”

    ”oy you copper, don’t you have children…”
    ”this morning did you wave them goodbye..”
    ”did you kiss them for the last time..”
    ”in case they don’t come home cos they’ve died…”

    ”just open these gates we can’t breathe ”
    ”too many people pushing at the back ”
    ”please let us out , we won’t cause any trouble ”
    my neck hurts and someone is kicking me in the back…”

    my pillow is there again before me
    someone tried to stuff it into my mouth yet again
    oh why oh why can’t i touch you
    i hate this unbearable pain…

    a message for those who tell us to move on
    walk a day in my shoes, to you i dare…
    because you have no idea what invisible pain is like
    when you lose those for whom you deeply care,
    those loved ones of all ages and sizes
    mum’s, dad’s, brothers and sisters too
    friends, mates just out for a day at the footy
    never expected to be on the 6 o’clock news…


  5. This is a sequence of three poems I wrote about a girl and her father. I had been in bad crowd crushes before 15th April 1989 – one at the Arsenal-Luton League cup Final at Wembley, 1988 when I was pregnant with my son. I had to be helped over a concrete barrier to the next half-empty pen. He was 6 months old when the disaster at Hillsborough happened. Twenty-two years on and I still cry for them – not just because it could’ve been me, or my dad, or my sister. It could’ve been any football fan and now we can all support our teams in (relative, if sanitised) safety

    From an Arsenal fan (@arsenalise365), JFT96.

    When You Walk Though the Storm


    The horses gallop up and down, we whirl
    as music clangs. I cling as striped canes
    swirl. I feel quite sick but daddy’s quick
    to catch me before I fall.
    On firm land I prance and twirl,
    tinkerbell wings go flying. Ice cream time,
    I lick and dream of winning the giant teddy.
    Daddy holds my hand.
    ‘Shoot carefully.’ Bullseye!
    ‘Can I call him King Kenny?’
    Back to nan’s caravan for tea. ‘I hate yucky
    cockles.’ I stamp up the steps. Temper
    gone, I twist in red curtain-streamers.
    They snake through my fingers. When I
    jump they slither round my neck.

    The Colour of the Crowd is Red

    A sea of scarves, all Liver Birds. A rush
    of feet, my dad’s swept forward. Waves of fans
    funnelled, jammed. I’m push-
    me-pull-you’d – trapped in the middle.

    Steel to the front to the back to the sides

    Caught in crashing breakers,
    I can’t resist the flow. Now squeezed
    like play-doh, squashed –
    starting to wheeze. Police ignore our cries.

    Collapse to the front to the back to the sides

    I’m nose to neck, arms pinned,
    tasting acid. A cesspool
    of smells; three thousand Scousers penned.
    ‘Treat us no better than cattle!’

    Crushed to the front to the back to the sides

    Crying, eyes blur –
    can’t find dad.
    Confined, can’t

    The colour of the crowd is blue
    To the front to the back to the sides

    As 96 Candles are Lit

    The Kop is full of silence. I stand alone.
    I hug King Ken, as mum holds my son.
    Again air turns to ash, I taste the fear, smell the death.
    Twenty years on I can’t hold back the tears. I catch my breath
    and continue the song:
    ‘Walk on…’

    1. Just read this Mike, thanks so much for this it will lgneir forever in my head. I am at the moment learning all about the Hillsborough Disaster and will be presenting a presentation tomorrow at Bourneville college Birmingham all by myself. I will hold all dearly within my heart and be accurate in facts and make yet another difference to reach out to deliver the justice in these very close coming years.Thankyou Deb

  6. SWEET F.A. (written April 1989)

    You gave us tickets for Leppings Lane,
    the lads said “oh god! not again”
    even John Smith had his say,
    but what did you do? SWEET F.A.

    You said we couldn’t have the Kop,
    to re-route the Scousers was over the top,
    no advice was sought from the A.A.
    thats why you did SWEET F.A.

    You want the power and the glory,
    rebuke the fans, the same old story,
    give tickets to touts on Wembley Way,
    thats why you do SWEET F.A.

    You’ve seen our injured and our dead,
    all the tears our people have shed,
    but play the semi again in May,
    thats what you feel, SWEET F.A.

    You wrote the epitaphs for our lads,
    and you’ve broke the hearts of mums and dads,
    no forgiveness can I find for you today,
    but what do you care? SWEET F.A.

    A TRIBUTE FROM THE YANKEE (written April 1989)

    So many people died that day,
    hopeing to see the cup final in May,
    how come it has took so long,
    for the FA to get things wrong.

    The ticket allocation was on top,
    they should have given us Hillsboroughs Kop,
    Forest had more tickets than us,
    we got crushed while they had a buzz.

    By 3.06 it was too late,
    the Police had already opened a gate,
    the Steward said “DON’T!” the Police said “WHY?”,
    then he said “THE FANS WILL DIE!”.

    At Celtic it was RED, WHITE and GREEN,
    in Liverpool there was no Queen,
    at the service to remember the dead,
    just the fans, the BLUE and the RED.

    Now the 95* are laid to rest,
    L.F.C. must do what they do best,
    win the double for all who died,
    because they’re the pride of Merseyside.

    (* apologies to the family of Tony Bland, I wrote this poem in the weeks after the tragedy)


    It’s now 20 years since that fateful April day,
    The families are still waiting for the guilty culprits to pay,
    for the death of their loved ones on Leppings Lane,
    South Yorkshire Police should hang their heads in shame.
    If it hadn’t been so terrible it’d make you laugh,
    Bizzies getting compo’ for their horrendous GAFF!
    Duckinfield took early retirement, even on FULL PAY!
    that man should be locked in prison till his dying day.

    I can still remember it as if it was only yesterday,
    travelling across to Sheffield in the old familiar way,
    the Urchins ‘Tranny Van’ packed with the usual lads,
    a right motley crew of boys who weren’t all that bad.
    Making our way over, along the Snake Pass,
    goin the match with yer mates, this was class,
    a bright sunny day, the semi final of the cup,
    nothin would go wrong, we wouldn’t slip up.

    We arrived in Sheffield and parked the van up,
    on a retail park near a Halfords and set off on foot,
    sitting outside a pub having a drink,
    not getting bevvied like the Bizzies think.
    They closed the pub and rounded everyone together,
    marched us to the ground in the glorious weather,
    not just us mind you, but every reds fan,
    from pubs all around, every woman, child and man.

    They escorted us to the ground, destination Leppings Lane,
    we were here last year, this doesn’t seem the same,
    it’s a bottleneck outside, too many fans all in one place,
    a couple of Bizzies on horses, can’t find no space.
    No sense of order or advice from the ‘boys in blue’,
    can’t see the turnstiles, definately no way through,
    there’s only 23 turnstiles for 25,000 Reds fans,
    who’s in charge of organising the semi final plans?

    Peter Robinson expressed his concerns over last years allocation,
    the FA are supposed to be in charge of football in our nation,
    but once again football fans are branded like animals,
    herded into pens like cattle, put behind bars like criminals.
    They obviously took no heed from last year or 1981,
    when 38 Spurs fans were injured just as the game had begun,
    the FA didn’t use Hillsborough again for a further 6 years,
    ‘lets brush it under the carpet, lets alleviate the fears’.

    Stood outside Hillsborough surveying everything around,
    I’m glad I had a North stand ticket and not one for the ground,
    Bob had my terrace ticket, so I said “you’re not going in there!”
    “You’re coming in with us mate, no arguing, I don’t care!”
    We kept to the left and found the North stand turnstiles,
    once through the crowds we could raise a little smile,
    plenty of space to catch our breath back and double click Bob in,
    no bizzies or stewards about to stop us, I know its wrong and a sin.

    We found our seats in the end section over looking Leppings Lane,
    if you looked closely enough you could see faces etched in pain,
    the middle pens were really full, while the end ones had loads of space,
    the game kicked off and loads more fans were allowed entry into the place.
    To avoid a crush outside the ground, the police gave an order to open a gate,
    if they had cordened the middle tunnel off, 96 reds wouldn’t have met their fate,
    all it needed was for the police to direct the fans into the end pens,
    or the FA to delay the kick off and the outcome would have a different end.

    Even from the whistle I could see something wasn’t right,
    then as the minutes went by it became an even worse sight,
    fans climbing the fences, the Bizzies pushing them back,
    back into the chaos, back into the mayhem and the black.
    The bizzies just stood there, they didn’t seem to care,
    fans being crushed against the fence, we had to help out there,
    one fan reached Grobbelaar and with him began to plea,
    Brucie ran to the ref, who stopped the game at six minutes past three.

    More and more fans now began to spill out and onto the grass,
    over the fence or through a gate, any way to leave that terrible mass,
    I made my way down to the front of the stand and jumped over the wall,
    saw one of the lads on the pitch who said “you’re not going to like this at all”.
    “You’re kid and Sammy we’re in the middle and no ones seen them for bit”,
    my heart sank in my stomach and my reaction was ‘FUCKIN SHIT’,
    we set about looking for them with the carnage going on all around,
    then one lad said he’d seen him taken to the far end of the ground.

    Thats where they were taking the dead, up to the Hillsborough gym,
    we made our way towards the other end in the hope of identifying him,
    at the half way line the bizzies stopped us from going any further,
    “Where d’ya think ya going lads?” one of them snarled in his Yorkshire murmer.
    “We think his brothers been injured and taken up this end” Vinny said,
    “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!” said the Bizzie, The three of us then saw red,
    I thought Vinny was going to knock the him out, till another stepped in,
    he calmed us down and removed the BASTARD and took us to the gym.

    He took a description of our Lee, what he looked like and was wearing,
    we were still fuming about what had happened and couldn’t stop swearing,
    the Bizzie came out and told us that there was no one of that description,
    but they still wouldn’t let us look for ourselves in the Gymnasium.
    We went back down the other end to continue looking around,
    trying to find Lee and Sammy in this hell hole of a ground.
    even more casulties were now being treated in the goal mouth,
    not by the Bizzies, but Reds fans from the North and the South.

    It was at this time I saw a lad I knew, he asked if I’d seen Dave?,
    “Sorry I havn’t, but I will keep an eye out for him” was the reply I gave,
    at this point there was even more people all over the place,
    all relieved to be out of there, but with pain and grief on their face.
    I kept seeing people I knew and asked if they were alright,
    you could see young kids who’d suffered a terrible fright,
    some of the Bizzies had finally started to give help to the injured fans,
    but the majority just stood around, “just bury your heads in the sand”.

    John came over and said he’d seen Lee and Sammy climbing into the top stand,
    releif engulfed me now, but I still had to help the others and lend a hand,
    people were gasping for breath! “They need a drink to quench their thirst”,
    “We need to get them something!”, Stewy came up with the idea first.
    The fans on the pitch had taken it upon themselves to administer first aid,
    to the injured and dying, stretchers out of advertising boards were quickly made,
    we climbed back into the North stand and found one of the cafe bars host,
    got a load of drinks and took them back to the people who needed them most.

    It was a simple gesture, the least we could do for the injured fans,
    Liverpool supporters stick together, we come from all over this land,
    doesn’t matter whether your a Scouser, a Cockney, Welsh or Irish,
    from Lancashire or down South, we’re all bound by the very same wish.
    To see Liverpool win trophies, but this surreal event just wasn’t right,
    what was happening in front of us was a horrendeous sight,
    something that put football into perspective and made you take note,
    it’s not much more important than life or death as in the great mans quote.

    We did what we could until it was time to leave the ground,
    met up at the meeting point, everyone of us was safe and sound,
    never saw Dave on the pitch, nor did Lee, but never thought anything bad,
    Halfords charged us all to phone home to relieve a worried Mam or Dad.
    The following morning our Paula phoned up and revealed Gloria’s dreaded call,
    she told me Dave had died, my thoughts turned to his Mam, Dad and Paul,
    they had all worked together for years and became family friends,
    we’d played for Cronton since the age of 12, I now wanted to make ammends.

    If only I had spent more time looking around for Dave when I saw his mate,
    I might have been able to help him when the bizzies opened that gate,
    it’s all an after thought now, but something I wish I’d done,
    they all might have been in Istanbul in 2005 and joined in all that fun.
    Very little help from the authorities, the fans had helped each other out,
    not like the headlines from that SCUM paper, that left us in no doubt,
    if it is printed in the press then people will think it must be true,
    we would have to fight for JUSTICE, the families, friends, me and you.

    Inquest after inquest, even private trials, the coroners verdict, ‘ACCIDENTAL DEATH!’
    Thats a LIE, the Police were at fault and caused 96 fans to take their last breath,
    because of that massive Police blunder, they would never see the Red’s play again,
    96 families and thousands of Red’s fans will always feel the same pain.
    Until JUSTICE has finally been achieved our fight will still carry on,
    it shows the strength of Liverpool people, we wont bow down to no-one,
    For 20 years, we still carry the fight for those family and friends who died,

  7. Forty years of utter rubbish
    and twenty two years of lies
    when will the rest of the country
    finally wake up and realise
    that anything written in that rag
    is just lies, lies, lies

    Never given a proper apology
    for what they wrote that day
    a half hearted attempt
    to brush the hurt away
    families will campaign for the truth
    even if it takes till their dying day

  8. I remember the events of the 15th April 1989
    I remember the fans trying to help the injured and the dead
    I remember the authorities trying to pass the buck
    I remember not believing what I was caught up in
    I remember the phone calls on Sunday morning
    I remember going to Anfield to pay my respects
    I remember a certain newspaper spreading vicious LIES!
    I don’t remember ever seeing a written apology!
    Kelvin Mackenzie you’re SCUM!

    I remember going back to the Sheffield Cathedral service a week later
    I remember the service at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool
    I remember the Evertonians standing side by side with us
    I remember all the support and tributes from fans of clubs all over the world
    I remember gong to Dave’s funeral and thinking WHY!
    I remember the players and officials of LFC going above and beyond their duties
    I remember Lord Justice Taylors findings blaming the Police and authorities for their failures
    I don’t remember the 96 families ever receiving JUSTICE!
    The fight will go on until justice has prevailed!

    I remember and I will never forget!

  9. I spent last night
    Laid on the floor
    As tears rolled down my face
    Watching channel 504

    BBC Parliament
    A Parliamentary debate
    About 96 lives, lost
    In the most unforgiving way

    MP after MP
    Took to the floor
    Echoing the sentiments
    Of those who went before

    Hillsborough was a tragedy
    Made unbearably worse
    By the cover-up of the police
    And all the lies and deceit

    The blame, laid square
    At the feet of the fans
    The inquests a farce
    Never given a chance

    So it’s only right
    That we pass this motion
    To release all documents
    Without hesitation

    To give the independent panel
    Every chance that we can
    To vanquish the lies
    And reveal the truth

    So thank you Steve Rotheram
    Andy Burnham too
    And all the rest that spoke up
    We couldn’t have done this without you


    By Stephen Benn

  10. Justice is coming
    It’s not far away
    for 96 deaths
    someone will pay

    with new information
    and that which was “lost”
    we will overturn
    that 3.15 cut off

    and when we do
    we’ll open a door
    for 96 families
    and so many more

    to carry the fight
    back to the courts
    and reciev a fair trial
    like we should have years before

    By Stephen Benn

  11. I can’t even begin
    To dream of the pain
    Suffered by those
    In that hot Leppings lane

    While the police watched on
    Despite a duty of care
    Thousands of reds
    All in despair

    some right at the front
    Who escaped through a gate
    Were forced right back in
    To meet with their fate

    And those brave boys in blue
    Soon started their lying
    ‘Cos no blame would the take
    For those who were dying

    Yes it was those Scousers
    They turned up late
    And when the couldn’t get in
    They broke down that gate

    But we know this is wrong
    And so do they
    Duckers even admitted
    He’d lied that day

    But McKenzie picked up quick
    And printed those lies
    In that shitty red scum
    That we now despise

    So just remember
    When you ask why
    There is a reason
    We won’t let this die

    ‘Cos Justice is needed
    And justice is right
    And justice is the reason
    We continue to fight

    For 96 friends
    Who shall never again
    Pay homage to Anfield
    And the mighty red men

    By Stephen Benn


  12. The Worlds Biggest Disgrace

    News intenational
    The worlds biggest disgrace
    For 22 years
    They’ve been this way

    For 22 years
    They’ve told their lies
    And the whole world believed
    What they read with their eyes

    Cos’ they couldn’t see
    What we all could
    They just kept believing
    Like sheep would

    They kept believing
    Every word they were told
    All the lies that were printed
    On the front page in bold

    Now through recent events
    They’re beginning to see
    What we’ve known for years
    About lies and deceit

    And hopefully a few
    Will come join our campaign
    And boycott that rag
    Which I shall not name

    By Stephen Benn

  13. Was actually looking for some info from the independent review to shut a mate up, but this came up in the search results – glad I decided to click. Some amazing poetry in here, sent shivers down my spine.

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