England

Hillsborough stories: Kevin Tyrrell

Kevin Tyrrell Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests

A schoolboy from Runcorn, Kevin Tyrrell was a talented footballer and hoping to sign apprentice forms with Tranmere Rovers. He travelled by coach to Sheffield with friends, who survived.

This is the full statement to the inquests from his father, Frank Tyrrell:

Kevin Tyrrell was our first born child. He was born at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital in Liverpool on 19 June, 1973.

He was a beautiful little boy who was very quiet and fun-loving. We moved to Runcorn when Kevin was five years old; just before we moved, we had another baby called Gary. Kevin was very close with him from the very beginning.

A few years later, his sister, Donna, came along, but Kevin wasn't too sure about having a girl in the house because, in his words, "girls can't play football".

However, he was wrong, as Donna turned into a tomboy who loved football, which Kevin was quite pleased about.

Kevin was a football-mad teenager. His life was football, both at school and at home.

At the time of the disaster, Kevin was having trials with Tranmere Rovers and he was really hoping they would take him onto their youth training scheme to train as a footballer.

'Fulfilling his dream'

We will always remember Kevin as the son who spent the best part of his life just playing football after school and at weekends.

We would always know where he was and we would always find him on the field at the back of our house playing football. It is what he was happiest doing.

Kevin played football for Brookvale Junior School and then went on to play for Brookvale Senior School. At the same time, he also played for the local team, Greenbridge, when he was 14 years old.

His commitment to football was so great that he spent three nights each week training for Greenbridge, as well as the training he had done at school.

Three months before Kevin died, he started playing for Tranmere under 15s team on a Saturday morning. He loved playing for them and always got up on a Saturday morning happy and singing because, to him, he was fulfilling his dream.

'Close as brothers'

Noel, his uncle, said he was a well-focused young man who knew at an early age exactly what he wanted to do, and that was to be a footballer. It didn't matter what the weather, he would turn up for his games.

It also didn't matter what happened on the pitch, as he would just raise an eyebrow and carry on, although I never remember him ever putting up the nets, everyone had to take a turn, but he always seemed to get out of it.

As Gary grew up, he looked up to Kevin and they would always be out on the field at the back of the house playing football with Kevin teaching Gary how to kick the ball with both feet.

Kevin must have been a good trainer, because Gary went on to play semi-professional football.

In the short period that they were together, they were very close as brothers. Gary took it very badly when Kevin died, because they were so close.

Kevin was a very polite young man who never got into any trouble, either in school or outside it, or maybe he just didn't get caught.

His closest friends were Brian and Steven, whom he went to school with. We bought Kevin a snooker table as a birthday present once, and he would spend hours playing on it with both of them.

You could hear the laughter when one of them was getting beat, and they would shout down the stairs for drinks and sandwiches, just like all teenagers.

'Excited by Hillsborough'

Kevin started going to Anfield when he was 13 years old, but we never felt at any time that it was unsafe for him to go there.

In 1988, we bought him a season ticket as a birthday present and, honestly, it was as if we had just given him the Crown Jewels, because he was the happiest boy in the world.

Hillsborough was Kevin's first away game, and he was very excited about going, especially as it was an FA Cup semi-final.

I had no fears about him going to the game, although Margie, Kevin's mum, was very nervous about it, but Kevin kept telling her he would be okay and that he wasn't a baby.

We never expected our son to go to a football match and never come home, but sadly that is what happened.

In the early hours of 16 April, after identifying Kevin, as I went to touch my son, I was told that I couldn't, as he now belonged to the coroner.

He didn't. He belonged to me and my wife and he was Gary and Donna's brother and to his aunties, uncles and cousins and his friends, he was 'Tizza.'

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