On the 15th of April, in Eighty Nine,
A match was to be played, in the spring sunshine.
Sheffield Wednesday’s ground, was the F.A.Cup venue.
A Liverpool: Notts. Forest Semi-Final, was on the menu.
With all tickets sold, the 24,000 crowd
Waved their scarves, and sang out, deafeningly loud.
This was surely a players dream,
As the managers stood in front of their teams.
Kenny Dalgleish, and Brian Clough
Had selected the men that were talented enough;
They led the teams out, feeling proud,
To a tumultuous cheer from the waiting crowd.
The whistle started the game at three O’clock,
No one was aware of the coming shock.
All round the ground, they cheered on their side,
Not realising that soon, many people would have died.
Thousands still gathered outside the gate,
Liverpool fans, arriving too late;
The turnstiles were packed with the late arrivals,
Who joined those on the terraces, to watch their team’s survival.
Police ushered latecomers, families, and friends,
To add to the crush at the Lapping Lane end.
Six minutes later, the match was halted,
Players led from the pitch, as the game was aborted.
Barriers in place, separated fans from the stars;
Crammed on the terraces, behind wire mesh and steel bars.
Far too many bodies in such a small space,
Surging forward;…a disaster was taking place.
Agile souls climbed the fences, to get to the grass,
While others were trampled; it happened so fast.
Young and old alike; the poor and the rich,
Male and female, died on that pitch.
Pleading faces, many who drew their last breath,
Against the relentless barrier, were crushed to death.
Arms reaching aloft, lifted by those in the upper tier,
Hoardings used as stretchers, carrying bodies clear.
There were 700 or more, beside the deceased,
All needing treatment, for their injuries;
Too late for the victims, – but an after thought,
All seater stadiums, with no barriers, said the Taylor report.
At Anfield, relatives and fans annually commemorate
The loss of the innocent, at Bill Shankley Gate.
Flowers and shirts, in a mass of red,
A tribute to the 96 dead.
Survivors must find it particularly hard,
Recalling that day, that left them mentally scarred;
Tears well up in eyes, and the traffics stop,
As thousands pay their respect, at their beloved Kop.
Liverpool’s anthem is sung in that Scouser tone,
Gerry Marsden reminds survivors, they’ll never walk alone.
A salute to those injured, and 96 who died,
Leaving a gap in the families that have survived.
Still seeking answers from the Yorkshire police,
Mourning continues, for the innocent deceased;
Hillsborough has a reputation, unwillingly earned,
For those who went to a match…
…but never returned.
© Jim Bell