After the highly emotional week that most Liverpool fans and families have gone through with the revelations of the Official cover-up by the Police and other officials over the deaths of 96 innocent fans, let us reach out again to the poor victims of the 1985 disaster in Belguim.
Let us not forget the Heysel Stadium disaster.
At approximately 7 p.m. local time, an hour before kick-off, the trouble started. The Liverpool and Juventus supporters in sections Y and Z stood merely yards apart.
The boundary between the two was marked by temporary chain link fencing and a central thinly policed no-man’s land. Missiles began to be thrown both ways across the divide. Fans were able to pick up stones from the terraces beneath them.
As kick-off approached, the throwing became more intense.
A group of Liverpool fans moved towards the side perimeter wall, near to the corner flag. Some tried to climb over the wall to escape. Many succeeded; however, the wall could not withstand the force of the fleeing Juventus supporters and collapsed.
It was at this point that the majority of the deaths occurred, 39 people died, and a further 600 were injured.
Bodies were carried away on sections of iron fencing and laid in piles outside, covered with giant football flags. As police and medical helicopters flew in, the down-draught blew away the modest coverings.
In retaliation for the events in section Z, Juventus fans then rioted at their end of the stadium. They advanced down the stadium running track towards the Liverpool supporters, but police intervention stopped the advance.
The Juventus fans fought the police with rocks, bottles and missiles for two hours. One Juventus fan was captured on television footage apparently firing a pistol.
When the game kicked off, riot police were still fighting a pitched battle with Juventus supporters, and they maintained a presence around the entire pitch for the duration of the game.
The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred on 29 May 1985 when escaping fans were pressed against a wall in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus of Italy and Liverpool of England.
Thirty-nine Juventus fans died and 600 were injured. Approximately one hour before the Juventus-Liverpool final was due to kick off, a large group of Liverpool fans were alleged to have breached a fence separating them from a “neutral area” which contained Juventus fans.
The Juventus fans ran back on the terraces and away from the threat into a concrete retaining wall. Fans already seated near the wall were crushed; eventually the wall collapsed. Many people climbed over to safety, but many others died or were badly injured.
The game was played despite the disaster in order to prevent further violence. Juventus won the game 1-0 for the record.
The tragedy resulted in all English football clubs being placed under an indefinite ban by UEFA from all European competitions (lifted in 1990–91), with Liverpool being excluded for an additional year and fourteen Liverpool fans found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
The disaster was later described as “the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions”. It was later found that Liverpool fans may have mis-behaved, but none of them intended to cause the death of any Italian fan.
In this week or so of understanding and sorrow over the Hillsborough disaster, maybe we should as a club and a City, reach out to the victims of The Heysel Stadium in 1985.
They too, in their own way must feel the pain, anguish and loss that every Liverpool supporter has gone through this past week.
So, let us reach out to them in the same way as most Premier League clubs have reached out to us.
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