Ex-Hillsborough secretary: 'Terrace choice made no sense'

Terraces on the Leppings Lane end Despite changes, the capacity for the Leppings Lane end remained at 10,100

Sheffield Wednesday's ex-club secretary said he was "aghast" when he saw Liverpool were given the Leppings Lane end for the 1988 FA Cup semi-final.

Richard Chester told the Hillsborough inquests Liverpool had twice as many travelling fans as Nottingham Forest the year before the tragedy.

He also said the Spion Kop end was more easily accessible to supporters travelling from the north.

Mr Chester said "it didn't make any sense whatsoever to me".

He also said he was concerned about the capacity of the Leppings Lane terraces and had "kept back" 250 tickets from two all-ticket matches.

Mr Chester told the jury in Warrington he "wanted a little bit of protection and a little bit of back-up".

He said there was no way of counting spectators in different areas of the ground when he joined the club in 1983.

He said he did "all he could" to ensure safety at the Hillsborough stadium.

Ninety-six people died following overcrowding at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest, held at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground.

"On the occasions that we had all-ticket games, I took the liberty myself of extracting a number of tickets for sale on the Leppings Lane end," Mr Chester said.

Mr Chester, club secretary between 1983 and 1986, said he would remove 250 tickets before they were sent off to the away teams for sale.

He said he only did this twice during the 1984-85 football season.

'I'll take note'

He told the hearing: "If you have taken a bit of terrace out, that's not available for people to stand, you logically can't have the same number of people.

"I took those actions as a responsible officer."

Mr Chester said when he left the club he told the chairman Herbert McGee and club director Keith Addy, who had responsibility for safety, about his fears.

He said he told them figures had not been adjusted on the Leppings Lane end of the ground.

Asked what their reaction was, Mr Chester said: "I can't give you specific words, but pretty much from Mr McGee was, 'OK, I'll take a note'."

Jurors have previously been told the capacity for the Leppings Lane end had not been recalculated after the first fences were introduced, splitting it into three pens in 1981.

In 1985, it was further divided into five pens following a request from the police.

Throughout those changes the capacity for the Leppings Lane end remained at 10,100.

Christina Lambert QC, counsel to the inquests, asked Mr Chester if the changes should have prompted a review of the Safety Certificate.

Mr Chester agreed it should have done and that it was "the club's responsibility" to instigate it.

The hearing continues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

15 °C 12 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Coming up 09:06: Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    We're getting all the build up ahead of the start of the Liverpool International Music Festival at Sefton Park.

    Yaw  Owusu LIMF music curator

    We're speaking to Yaw Owusu the music curator as well as Ian Broudie from the Lighhtning Seeds who is playing the park with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Listen live on BBC Radio Merseyside

     
  2.  
    News on the hour 08:58: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Liverpool International Music Festival arrives in Sefton Park later where five stages have been constructed for the weekend.

    More than 150 live acts will play across the city over the next two weeks.

    Listen live to bulletins on BBC Radio Merseyside.

     
  3.  
    B5194 closed 08:39:

    The B5194 Stockbridge Lane in Huyton-With-Roby is closed in both directions between the M57 junction and the Park Way junction because of resurfacing work.

     
  4.  
    From Suarez to Balotelli 08:28: BBC Sport

    After selling one of the most controversial players in the history of English football for £75m, you could forgive the powers-that-be at Liverpool for playing it safe for a while.

    Mario Balotelli and Luis Suarez

    Instead, the Reds are seeking to replace Luis Suarez with Mario Balotelli - a man once dubbed "unmanageable" by Jose Mourinho who tried to do just that when they were at Inter Milan together.

     
  5.  
    LIVERPOOL GETS ROCKING 08:17:

    Liverpool's International Music Festival starts tonight with a star studded concert at St George's Hall.

    Boy George

    Steve Levine's Assembly Point Sessions will see Boy George, Bernard Butler and Tim Burgess taking to the stage alongside some new up and coming artists.

    There will also be 120 acts playing at Sefton Park for over the bank holiday weekend.

     
  6.  
    Sunny spells 08:06:

    BBC Weather says it is mostly dry and fine today, with frequent sunny spells, although isolated showers remain possible throughout. Feeling cool, especially when exposed to the fresh north westerly breeze.

    BBC Weather forecast

    Let's hope the sun holds out for the Liverpool International Music Festival which starts in Sefton Park later.

     
  7.  
    News on the hour 08:00: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Four men are being questioned about two robberies in under half an hour on Merseyside last night.

    The first happened at the co-op shop on Warrington Road in Rainhill at 19:05. Then there was a report of another 25 minutes later in Maghull's Bargain Booze on Liverpool Road.

    Listen live to the bulletin on BBC Radio Merseyside.

     
  8.  
    Good morning 08:00: Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    Hello! I'm here to bring you all the news, sport, weather and travel news across Merseyside and get you in the mood for the weekend.

    Please get involved by tweeting us, emailing us, or posting on our Facebook page.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.