Remembering Hillsborough: 15th April 1989

Remembering Hillsborough: 15th April 1989

There cannot be many if any football fans the world over that don’t know and understand the significance of todays date…

The fact that the events of 15th April 1989 seems so fresh and vivid in the memory of those of us old enough to have witnessed it, either by tragically being at the heart of it or like most, witnessing the unfolding events on TV, is testament to the horror of it all.

There has been so many great pieces written about it all, words that not only break your heart but make it miss several beats as you share the pain. Inevitably, alongside those well thought out empathetic words some truly awful things have been written by people who should know better and even more by those simply out to create a little bit of shock value on the new captive audience of the internet. Creating a new angry mob through a hashtag or facebook page is the modern way of appealing to the masses these days.

Maybe it’s a bit of a romantic notion but I still cling to the hope that there are enough decent people going to football, ordinary people like me and my young un, who don’t fit the public perception of what constitutes a football fan and who really do have a deep connection not only to those who lost their lives that day but their families and friends they left behind.

I had intended to write a piece myself, especially to try and sum my thoughts during the impeccably observed and deeply moving minutes silence at Saturdays game against Blackburn Rovers at Hillsborough and I asked the Young Un her thoughts of that moment and of what happened. She’s 26 so doesn’t remember the events as they happened but being a keen football fan she is most definitely aware of what happened and the long campaign from the families of the 96 that died that day.

I doubt I could write anything to match what she said…

96 seats 2

15th April 1989 – 2014

Have I held him closer than today?

We stood, silently remembering those who had been to a game, like us, hearts full of excitement, the magic of the FA Cup, the dream spinning round their heads all night, heads weary from sleeplessness, but bodies excited with an uncontrollable giddiness, eyes wide, taking everything in. Had they washed their lucky clothing, like we do every week before the game?

Their shirts?

Their socks?

Was everything right?

Did they make sure they got out of bed the right way?

Had I held him tighter when I thought about all the things we’d have done if it was us?

We’d wake up early, hours too soon, I’d check my phone, Dad: I can’t sleep. We’d set off way too early, too eager.

Beeping horns at other cars who displayed their badges.

Flags, banners and scarves, from horizon to horizon.

Families together, with the same expressions, half way between tiredness and joy.

Kids bounding across the pavement, “How long til kick off?”

Had I held on longer when I thought of my Mum?

When I thought how she’d say, like she does every time, “Be good”.

She’d tell us to have a good time and be careful, and she’d wait later on for a call on the way home. She’d have said “Did you win?” expecting us to say “no.”

Had I held Dad closer, tighter, longer today than before?

My heart lay heavy.

Unable to focus, unable to bring to my mind the tragedy across from us.

We stood, holding tight, as we stared across from the kop.

The white seats stare back, 96 versions of ourselves, looking back at us.

We take you wherever we go, always in our hearts, the spirit of football….we hold you close, tight and forever.

Steve:Beastie and The Young Un
Owls Alive
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Twitter: @Owlsalive


2 Comments

  1. Brilliant Steve and Hollie, really touching.

  2. Thank you.

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