Hillsborough And I: Where We Were On 15th April 1989

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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3 Responses

  1. Paul Caulfield says:

    Like Stuart Fuller, I was at the QPR – West Ham cuptie in 1988 and experienced the overcrowding. It was the patience and calmness of supporters that prevented deaths or injuries that day. I also remember (and have photos of), mounted police on the pitch – a total over-reaction that said much about police attitudes to fans at the time. Sadly, nothing was learned from the Loftus Road incident, which was replicated at Hillsbrough. The fact that information about Hillsbrough has had to be dragged out of the authorities says everything about the attitudes of some politicians towards football fans.

  2. K chapman says:

    Like the earlier comments I to was at loft us road that day . I together with my son were pushed down to th front of the paddock my son managed to jump on to the wall that was there but I was pushed further down until just the wall was in front of me whereby my son and an other pulled me over the wall. The police insisted that we sat on the ground an were not really interested.

  3. Ian Hadingham says:

    I am a Norwich fan, and have been since November 1972, and in those years I have seen a lot of thick and thin. Mostly thin.

    Which is why is it very hard to imagine that 25 years ago, we were going for a league and cup double. Really.

    In fact, both would fail at Villa Park, the league crumbled with a 5-0 Easter Monday televised game. And the cup, well, that didn’t really matter in the end.

    What I remember most is the sunshine, and being so full of hope and expectation. Dad and I travelled down from Norfolk on a coach, and i had borrowed one of those Sinclair portable tVs for the day so I could watch Saint and Greavsie from the M6. No such luck, never got a picture with it. So I stuck to my little transistor radio.

    We arrived at Villa Park at about half two, and made our way to The Holte End. Once inside I saw in one of the dark passages a guy selling programs from both semi finals, I bought one each. And tucked my t shirt into my jeans and dropped the programs down my shirt and we made our way to the terrace.

    Us and Everton shared the Holte End, half each, but what Dad and I found was something like a war zone, with the West Midlands police having a go at some norwich fans, who may have had a drink or two. We just wanted to see the game so we walked right to the back of the stand.

    The match kicked off in bright sunshine, and we were so excited, but I noticed a message soon enough on the scoreboard at the other end of the pitch that play had been suspended in the Semi.

    I turned on my radio and held it to my ear; Radio 2 would relay to me the tragedy unfolding. It became clear that there had been deaths, and the game in front of me faded into insignificance. I tried to tell those around me, but they did not believe me.

    By half time dozens were dead, so said the radio, and we were one nil down. That did not matter. I just wanted the game to end. It did, and we lost, and on the coach we listened as the deaths were described. Dad never went to another game away from Carrow Road.

    I had been at three games before then that I feared for my safety, but I don’t think I feared for my life. One, at Ipswich in 1985 was another semi-final, a League Cup, I preyed that we would not score as I feared being pushed into the barrier in front of me. Same at an FA cup 4th round game at the old Baseball Ground in about 1984. Another balmy spring day, a stand packed and I could lift my feet of the ground and not move. Finally, a last game of the season match at grisby prior to promotion in 1986. Too much drink and high spirits. Another prayer that we would not score.

    As many have said, Hillsborough could have happened to any of us, at any time. That made it all the more real. And still does.

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