Hillsborough disaster

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The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush that happened during a soccer match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England on 15 April 1989. With 97 deaths (94 on the day), it is the largest sporting disaster in UK history.

Victims were aged 10 to 67.

The disaster and cause

The crush took place on Sunday 15 April 2019 at an FA Cup semi-final game between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest. More than 53,000 fans from the two sides headed to the sold-out match at Hillsborough for the 3pm kickoff. In the 1980s, it was commonplace at soccer stadiums for the spectator terraces to be split into “pens” by high fences which sorted groups of fans into blocks and separated them from the playing field. The crush happened in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand allocated to Liverpool supporters. Shortly before kickoff, to try to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, match commander Police Constable David Duckenfield gave the order for an exit gate to be opened, which resulted in a greater influx of supporters into the already overcrowded pens. The entrance at Leppings Lane had a limited number of turnstiles, seven of which were allotted to the over 10 thousand fans with tickets for the standing terraces. After passing through the turnstiles, supporters would have seen a wide tunnel leading to the terrace and signposted “standing”. As more fans entered the Leppings Lane pens, they were forced against those in front who were already pressed up against the perimeters of the stands. At this point, fans began to be crushed to death.[1]

Notable victims

  • Anthony Bland (1970-1993) - left in an unconscious, permanent vegetative state after the disaster and became the first patient in UK legal history to be allowed to die.

Another individual sometimes considered a victim of the disaster is Stephen Whittle (d. 2011), who sold his match ticket to a friend and is believed to have committed suicide as a result of survivors guilt.

Media portrayals

The police and tabloid handling of the disaster has been the subject of numerous songs. This includes two songs, "S.Y.M.M." (for "South Yorkshire Mass Murderer", 1998) and "Liverpool Revisited" (2018), by Welsh band Manic Street Preachers.

A 2022 drama by ITV, Anne, was based on the story of Anne Williams (1951-2013), whose teenage son Kevin was killed in the disaster.


  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/what-happened-hillsborough-disaster-explained-timeline_uk_5c9a548ce4b049d4aba68244