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

NOTE….

this is a CONTINUATION….

"he
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.


             

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


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


            to
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


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


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


             

            A
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


            to
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


           
her.


             

            The
singing had well stopped around me by now with everybody here


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


            the
crowd back in.


             

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


            had
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


            had
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.


             

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


            it
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


            say
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,


            I’d
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.


             

            In
my struggling I then noticed somebody go to Bruce Grobbelaar and


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


            us.
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 –


            and
I knew that I had to get out.


             

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


           
been missed, or even worse, ignored?


             

            I
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


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


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


            we
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


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


             

            I
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


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


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


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


             

            I
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


            bit
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


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


             

            He
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!’


             

            I
already knew.


             

            I
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


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


            way
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,


            I
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.


             

            I
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


           
injured.


             

           
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


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


           
been soiled.


             

            I
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


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


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


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


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


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


             

            The
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


            our
end.


             

            I
noticed that some fans were carrying the injured on advertising


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


            our
goal and presumably to where they would receive medical


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


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


             

            I
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.


            The
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.


             

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


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


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


           
were standing with me, including one policeman without his helmet


            on.
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.


            The
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


            how
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


            had
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.


            I’m
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.


             

            I
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.


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


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


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


            the
phone – even during this hell!


             

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


            was
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.


             

            I
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


           
though.

……………….MORE to follow….

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