Sunday 26 February 2017

I was nine at Hillsborough and I'm still haunted by the anguished cries

Peter Breen

Liverpool fans at Hillsborough try to escape severe overcrowding during the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final football match on April 15, 1989.
Liverpool fans at Hillsborough try to escape severe overcrowding during the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final football match on April 15, 1989.

Saturday, April 15, 1989 was a watershed in my life. I was nine years and 26 days into my being when I first experienced the true meaning of loss and heartache.

In nervous rapture we journeyed through dawn and then morning to witness Nottingham Forest v Liverpool at Hillsborough, Sheffield, in the semi-final of the FA Cup on the Saturday, followed by Celtic v Hibernian in the SFA Cup semi-final in Hampden Park, Glasgow, on the Sunday.

It was a blistering day. Before noon, the older men in the group, including my father John, his late friend Frank McKenna and Con Houlihan took full advantage of the early British licensing laws. They must have supped their flat ale in the sweltering heat and spoken at great length at how Liverpool would fare in that, the club's 17th FA Cup semi-final.

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