Just another WordPress.com site

april 15th 1989…(part m2) CONTIN UED from previous bliog..


this is a CONTINUATION….

crowd pressure was ever increasing and the lads on the crush

barrier behind me were really struggling. This was as bad as I’d

ever experienced and was getting worse. It didn’t feel like a surge,

more like steadily increasing overcrowding. I’d been to loads of

matches when the crowd pressure had been uncomfortable and where at

times you had no control over your own movement. There had been many

occasions when people had fainted or were just so overwhelmed that

they were pushed upwards over the heads of the crowd, then ferried

down by outstretched hands to the front of the Kop for the St John’s

ambulance gang to look after them – though I’d never been in that

state myself.


man immediately behind one of my shoulders who looked about 30ish

asking us to help push him back under the strain. He was trying

get under the crush barrier. ‘Come on lads, help us here, push me

back.’ We tried to lean backwards towards him while he pushed at our

backs but our movements were restricted and he couldn’t make any

progress against the crowd behind him anyway. He asked us to kick

soles of his shoes – so he could maybe spring over the barrier –

it was no use, he wasn’t going anywhere.


man immediately behind my other shoulder, again 30 something and

maybe with a moustache, was in pain and couldn’t even try to help

himself anymore. He was wearing a windcheater style jacket (I seem

remember white, yellow and grey markings on it). He was just

pleading: ‘Please… Please… Please…’


Maybe six feet in front of me a fella said, ‘Come on lads, let’s get

this young girl out,’ and people tried to help. She looked maybe 12

years old or so with dark hair. I can’t say I know what happened to



singing had well stopped around me by now with everybody here

struggling. There were cries for help, cries of pain and cries to

police just a matter of yards in front of me to open the gates

the perimeter fence. The police were ignoring the requests and as

caught the eyes of one myself, I made a point of shouting at him

open the gates. He just looked at me, pointed behind me and

mouthed at me to get back, which of course was totally impossible.

appeared as though a gate down at the front had sprung open under

pressure but it looked to me as though the police were pushing

crowd back in.


could tell from the crowd noise around the ground that the teams

come out and I remember thinking, ‘Oh no, they’re gonna

kick-off.’ The problems behind the goal needed to be sorted out

first! I couldn’t actually see which way we were kicking as my head

been pushed forward and I was facing downwards for a time. I

missed the match kick-off and all of the action which by this time

wasn’t a priority for me, though I knew which way we would be

kicking as both teams would want to finish the match attacking the

goal which their own supporters were behind.


had no idea that Peter Beardsley had hit the crossbar until I read

in the Echo some days later. I have heard that he was worried

this action had caused a further surge in the crowd but all I can

is that from where I was, things were obviously beyond that by

then and to my knowledge it had neither hindered nor helped matters.


When I found out about Beardsley’s shot, it really struck me and

stopped me in my tracks; I’d never even thought about what had

happened during the 6 minutes of play. It hit me again years later

when I found out that Forest had had two corners down our end;

obviously I’d never known about that either. Just think about it,

travelled a long way in such anticipation to see this action –

that had happened right in front of me – and I’d missed it; I’d been

totally unaware and even if I could have seen it, I’d lost all

interest by then anyway.


my struggling I then noticed somebody go to Bruce Grobbelaar and

remonstrate with him but there still seemed to be no help coming to

I knew I was really in trouble, in great danger, and remember

thinking, ‘I hope my mum hasn’t heard about this’ because she’d only

have worried. I knew my dad would be listening to the match

commentary back home on the radio.


Despite the pleading with the police to open the gates, nothing was

being done and I knew that I was on my own here if I wanted out –

I knew that I had to get out.


on Earth could what was happening to us behind that goal have

been missed, or even worse, ignored?


wasn’t struggling to breathe and I remember thinking, ‘Oh God,

please get me out’ but I stayed very calm and focussed on getting

through this. I hadn’t noticed that the match had been stopped. Me

Bailey saw a couple of lads going past us over the heads down to

gate at the front. We agreed that this was the only way out but

were too restricted to make any progress. I had the use of my

hands above my shoulders but a lot a people didn’t. I always had my

arms up this way at the match to help me move about. My dad had

always told me to know where the exit to any place was, always know

way out of any trouble, and this is in my nature anyway.


don’t know how but Bailey got himself half way up over everybody’s

heads, so then I lent my hand and helped his foot and suddenly he’d

made it onto the top of the crowd. I shouted, ‘Get me out!’ but he

no chance of helping me. He crawled over the top of the crowd to

gate down at the front. I saw him escape which was a relief. I

shouted after him, ‘Just get out Bailey, get out!’


don’t know how much longer went by and believe that when you

really need it, you can sometimes find extra strength. Add that to a

of luck that tragically a lot of other people didn’t get and I

managed to wriggle upwards, half-way above the crowd. Some fella who

stuck there himself stretched out his hand, ‘Here y’are mate!’


helped my foot so I could drag myself upwards onto the top of the

crowd. I crawled towards the gate down at the front, which was maybe

approximately 20 feet or so in front of me, so it came up very fast.

            As I
got to the gate, I heard somebody shout to me, ‘There’s people

dying here!’


already knew.


grabbed the top of the frame at the opened gate and was about to

escape when a policeman aggressively grabbed hold of me with both

hands at my chest stopping me. He shouted at me, pushing me back as

stopped my progress. He wasn’t gonna let me out but there was no

I was going back in there. Despite knowing that you don’t go

against the police if you wanna stay clear of trouble for yourself,

knew this was very different and I tried to force my way past him

from my vulnerable position. It worked and as I tried to get

through, he dragged me and then threw me, out and down onto the

shingle track around the pitch.


stood up and was on the grass right behind the goal. It was the

first time I’d ever been onto the pitch at a match. I saw a young

lady crouched down at the goal netting crying and went over to

comfort her. ‘You wanted to get onto the pitch after the game

anyway, didn’t you?’ I said and she smiled. She wasn’t physically



There were people lying on the floor with others over them trying to

revive them with mouth-to-mouth being given by those who knew how to

it. Some people had been sick. I saw one man whose trousers had

been soiled.


knelt down on the pitch myself and started to cry but stopped

quickly and got myself together. I got grass stains on the knees of

jeans and so knew that the pitch must have been watered that

morning. I started to look around for Bailey but was surprised that

couldn’t find him. Despite knowing loads of people who had gone to

match that day, the only person I saw on the pitch who I knew

Phil from work. ‘Are you alright mate?’ I asked. He was OK.


Forest fans were singing, ‘There will be no Scouse in Europe’, a

reference to the fact that while the UEFA ban following Heysel was

soon to be over for English clubs, we were still to serve a longer

ban. Looking back they mustn’t have realised what was happening down



noticed that some fans were carrying the injured on advertising

boards to the other end of the pitch, clear from the chaos behind

goal and presumably to where they would receive medical

treatment. I asked one fella to do the same with somebody who was

of it but he said, ‘Let’s get him breathing first.’


walked over to the side of the pitch and ripped up an advertising

board myself, getting a small cut on the fingers of my right hand.

only other physical injury I got that day – which I didn’t yet

know – was a bruise on my back in the shape of a hand, you could

clearly see the finger and thumb marks. This wasn’t from being

struck but was evidence of the pressure in the Pen.


walked over to one man lying on the floor who was not conscious.

sure he was dead – in fact I know it in my heart – but you hear

people getting revived when all seems lost. A couple of young men

were standing with me, including one policeman without his helmet

For a second or so that lasted for ages we hesitated and so I

dragged this poor Reds fan onto the board myself thinking, ‘Come on

mate, you can make it’. He wasn’t tall and seemed maybe just a

little older than me, with dark hair. His mouth was open and his

eyes were closed over. As I dragged him his trousers came down to

just over his knees, showing his underpants but this didn’t matter.

young constable collected his helmet from the floor at this

point and went off, leaving us to it. I got the impression he was

relieved that somebody had taken over from him. He might have been

going to assist somewhere else, I don’t know; I just didn’t get that

impression. We carried the Reds fan as quickly as we could to the

other end of the pitch, into the left corner with the others and

left him for the attention of the St John’s volunteers. If I’d known

to do mouth-to-mouth, I’d have done it.


There were exceptions but in the main, the people who carried the

injured were those who had escaped the crush themselves. The police

obviously not been given instructions to deal with the disaster

that had unfolded and I didn’t see much evidence of them acting on

initiative. Like I say, I know there were exceptions and I do not

want to do a disservice to those police who did act to save lives.

just pointing out that on the whole, and taken collectively,

they had been blind to what was happening and when they did realise,

they froze. What help they did finally provide was largely too

little, too late.


After doing my bit with the advertising boards, the police formed a

line across the pitch to keep us apart from the Forest fans – they

were still this blind! I walked over to one policeman who was an

officer, not a constable. I asked him if there was anything he

wanted me to do to help. He replied no and that they were looking

after everything now thanks. I left the pitch using the players’

tunnel, walking past Gerald Sinstadt from the BBC. I went past the

away team dressing room to my left and saw Des Walker and Lee

Chapman who both looked at me and seemed uneasy doing so. I saw a

payphone and took the opportunity to call my parents to let them

know I was OK but didn’t have any change. Another Reds fan behind me

gave me a coin with no problem – thanks mate.


spoke to my mum and told her I was fine and asked her to call

Bailey’s parents. We had been split up but I deffo saw him escape.

had survived unhurt. A steward then said no more people could use

phone! Why? What harm were we doing? Because we were only fans,

weren’t good enough to be where we were – in the stadium using

phone – even during this hell!


Some Reds fan then shouted at this steward that he knew his brother

behind the goal in all that! Why shouldn’t he use the phone? I

don’t know what happened next as I left the stadium through some

door by where I was.


walked around the ground back towards Leppings Lane . Some fella

stopped me saying I shouldn’t pass this way as it would be too

upsetting to see what was there. I told him I’d be OK but he

insisted in the nicest possible way and so I left it and took a

detour. While I knew what he had meant, I had already seen

everything and it couldn’t be any worse. I appreciated the gesture


……………….MORE to follow….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s