The terrace at Hillsborough
By Paul Coslett
Twenty years ago 96 Liverpool supporters died at Hillsborough at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
On the Wednesday following the disaster The Sun newspaper printed a front page story with the headline ‘THE TRUTH’ claiming that fans picked pockets of victims, urinated on police and beat up a policeman giving a fan the kiss of life.
On Merseyside The Sun was boycotted and sales slumped. The Taylor inquiry later found the allegations were without foundation.
The paper’s circulation figures on Merseyside have never recovered to pre Hillsborough levels.
The death of 96 Liverpool fans in a crush before the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough led to an outpouring of grief on Merseyside and the subsequent introduction of all-seater stadiums following Lord Justice Taylor's inquiry in to the tragedy.
The 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was held on 15 April 1989.
Both teams had played in a semi-final at the same ground the previous year with no problems but a combination of factors led to disaster in 1989.
In the moments prior to kick off there were several thousand fans outside the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.
As a bottleneck developed outside the ground police, fearing a crush, opened a set of gates leading in to a narrow tunnel at the rear of the terrace.
Margaret Thatcher visits Hillsborough
Fans streamed down the tunnel into the already crowded central section of the terrace, at the front fans were pushed against steel fencing installed to prevent hooliganism.
Many fans tried to escape by climbing over the fence or being pulled up by other supporters in to the upper tier.
96 people died as a result of the crush at Hillsborough with 766 injured.
In the days following Hillsborough there was a public outpouring of grief on Merseyside.
People queued outside of Anfield to lay flowers on the Kop eventually covering half of the pitch.
Lord Justice Taylor was appointed to conduct an inquiry into the events surrounding the disaster.
The conclusions of his report led to the removal of fences from grounds and the abandonment of terracing in favour of a move to all-seater stadiums.
Tributes outside Anfield
Hillsborough and the consequences of the Taylor Report have been seen as paving the way for the Premier League.
In 1996 Liverpool writer Jimmy McGovern wrote a 90 minute TV drama-documentary about the disaster which starred Christopher Eccleston as Trevor Hicks who lost two teenage daughters at Hillsborough.
In his report into the disaster Lord Taylor decided that the arrival of large number of fans after 2.30pm was due to four factors, "...the warm weather, drinking, disinclination to enter the ground early and prolong the standing, and a tendency of Liverpool supporters to cut it fine."
He dismissed allegations that fans without tickets were a major factor in the disaster saying "...there was not a very signficant body of ticketless fans in the crowd which built up."
He recommended that all seater stadiums be introduced for the top leagues and early kick offs for high risk games.
last updated: 15/04/2009 at 20:09