Heysel & Hillsborough Disasters - Football History - 1980's

The Italian police showed the way to treat football hooliganism during the 1980 European Championships, when trouble broke out in the crowd behind the England goal, during their first round match with Belgium.  The deployment of tear gas by the police forced both teams off the pitch before half time.

One hour before the European Cup final in 1985, trouble broke out between Juventus and Liverpool fans at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.  A group of Italian supporters ran towards a terrace wall, which collapsed.  39 fans died, crushed to death, a huge disaster.  All English fans were promptly banned from all European football matches for 5 years - and Liverpool fans for 10 years.  The world had had enough of English 'fans'.


The 1982 World Cup expanded from 16 to 24 teams, allowing more African and Asian teams to compete.  England successfully qualified for the first time in 16 years - they had qualified automatically in 1966 because they were hosts and again as defending champions in 1970, but failed to qualify in both 1974 and 1978.  Due to the new 'round robin' rules, England were eliminated, without losing a game - they had drawn against both Spain and then Germany in the second round and Germany had gone on to win their next game.

The 1986 World Cup was held in Mexico and won by Argentina, led by the legendary Diego Maradona. Maradona scored both the infamous 'Hand of God' goal and also a goal voted as being the 'Goal of The Century' during the quarter final against England.  The total attendance during the games was 2.4m, an average of 46,000 per match.  The phenomenon known as 'The Mexican Wave' was featured for the first time during the tournament.  It was the last World Cup where teams from the same continent were not separated from each other in the draw for the first round.

Manchester United FC won the FA Cup three times in the 1980's and Liverpool FC & Totenham Hotspur FC twice each.  Division 1 was won 6 times by a dominant Liverpool FC, beating Manchester United FC in the final on two occasions.  Rivalry between these two clubs was fierce.



Diego Maradonna, Captain of Argentina in 1982, '86 & '90 World Cups

The 1980's were blighted again, with the Hillsborough disaster at Sheffield Wednesday FC, which happened during the semi-final FA Cup tie between Liverpool FC & Nottingham Forest FC on 15th April 1989.  The Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield saw the crush and death of 94 people that day, with 2 more dying in hospital afterwards.  Only 14 of the fatalities arrived at a hospital.  There were a further 766 people injured, all of them fans of Liverpool FC.


A build up of fans arriving late, due to road-works, forced their way through a small tunnel into an already overcrowded enclosure.  The people at the front being literally crushed to death, through compressive asphyxia.

The Hillsborough disaster is still today, the biggest stadium related football disaster on record.  an official enquiry afterwards, the Taylor Report, stated that "the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control" and resulted in eliminating all the Standing Terraces of major stadiums in England, Wales and Scotland.

Latest News on Hillsborough Stadium Disaster

As at September 2012, the enquiry into the Hillsborough Disaster has reopened.  Taylor's Report was, in fact two reports.  The Interim Report and The Final Report.  Everyone seems to consider that the Final Report encompasses the Interim Report, which it does not.  The Interim Report damned the policing of the event and the Sheffield Wednesday grounds as being unsuitable - involving the decision by the FA to hold the match there.

The Final Taylor Report lessens the impact of the criticism of the Police and reports on recommendations for stadia generally.  The Final Taylor Report on the Hillsborough Disaster was conducted on evidence which was not taken under oath, a fatal flaw of the Report.

The new inquests, requested by families of the 96 dead, are the result of 23 years of a search for The Truth.  The unprecedented access to nearly half a million documents and statements will hopefully uncover the cover-ups instigated by authorities 23 years ago.

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