There was recently an outpouring of grief in this country as the Hillsborough disaster was remembered. 96 innocent men, women and children lost their lives when out supporting Liverpool FC.
Four years earlier, Liverpool fans had been involved in another stadium disaster in which 39 fans died. Their fans charged at the Juventus fans who tried to get away. As they were escaping the rioting Liverpool fans, a wall collapsed leading to the deaths of 39 and the injuries of 600. They blamed the stadium. They blamed ‘Chelsea fans’. It wasn’t their fault. Well, actually, it was.
Heysel occurred 24 years ago today although I am not expecting to see the same outpouring of grief was this country. It will be brushed under the carpet, the way the scousers like it, and the grieving can be done by the Italians whose children and partners didn’t come that day all those years ago.
Liverpool fans wanted someone to blame for Hillsborough, they wanted justice, someone they could direct their anger at. However, totally hypocritically, they wouldn’t give justice to the Juve fans. It was only on the 20th anniversary of the disaster that the club accepted any responsibility for what happened. They apologised when the clubs met in the European Cup in 2005 which was met with jeers and whistles, the Juve fans turning their backs on Liverpool’s gesture and sticking their fingers up. Too little too late.
It wasn’t just Juventus fans who had to pay the price of the behaviour of Liverpool fans, all English clubs also were punished with a 5-year-ban from the competitions. 20 different teams were denied the opportunity to compete in European competitions thanks to Liverpool FC.
United missed out on the Cup Winners Cup once and the UEFA Cup twice thanks to them. But at least they didn’t kill our fans, something no amount of missed opportunities in Europe balances out.
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