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Thread: Remembering Heysel

  1. #1 Eternal Flame Remembering Heysel 
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    On May 29, 1985, 39 Juventus fans died at the European Cup in Brussels.

    Approximately an hour before the scheduled kick-off time a large number of supporters of Liverpool F.C. breached a fence separating them from rival supporters of Juventus F.C. and charged at and attacked the Italian supporters. Juventus fans were forced to retreat, putting pressure on a dilapidated retaining wall, which collapsed away from them. The crush of fans against the wall and its collapse led to the deaths and hundreds more injuries. The game was played despite the disaster in order to prevent further violence.

    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 F.C. being excluded for an additional year and a number of Liverpool fans prosecuted for manslaughter.

    ---------------
    Heysel is a dark cloud that looms over our great club, that can be quite easily forgotten amidst the Hillsborough disaster. As we found out in 2005, this disaster is fresh in the memory of some Juve fans.
    Lets not shy away from our sins especially when we too have faced disaster of similar magnitude.

    Sign here to show your respect for the 39 people who lost their lives that day:

    Rocco Acerra (29)
    Bruno Balli (50)
    Alfons Bos
    Giancarlo Bruschera (21)
    Andrea Casula (11)
    Giovanni Casula (44)
    Nino Cerrullo (24)
    Willy Chielens
    Giuseppina Conti (17)
    Dirk Daenecky
    Dionisio Fabbro (51)
    Jacques François
    Eugenio Gagliano (35)
    Francesco Galli (25)
    Giancarlo Gonnelli (20)
    Alberto Guarini (21)
    Giovacchino Landini (50)
    Roberto Lorentini (31)
    Barbara Lusci (58)
    Benjamin Lyon (14)
    Loris Messore (28)
    Gianni Mastrolaco (20)
    Sergio Bastino Mazzino (38)
    Luciano Rocco Papaluca (38)
    Luigi Pidone (31)
    Bento Pistolato (50)
    Patrick Radcliffe
    Domenico Ragazzi (44)
    Antonio Ragnanese (29)
    Claude Robert
    Mario Ronchi (43)
    Domenico Russo (28)
    Tarcisio Salvi (49)
    Gianfranco Sarto (47)
    Amedeo Giuseppe Spolaore (55)
    Mario Spanu (41)
    Tarcisio Venturin (23)
    Jean Michel Walla
    Claudio Zavaroni (28)


    YNWA 96 & 39
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  2. #2  
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    Thanks, that's a good post, have some rep

    We need to try and remember to pay as much of our respect to Heysel as we do to Hillsborough

    YNWA
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  3. #3  
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    Great post, and i agree with both of you fully

    YNWA

    (Both repped when i can, need to spread it for both of you)
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFCNUTTA View Post
    Great post, and i agree with both of you fully

    YNWA

    (Both repped when i can, need to spread it for both of you)
    Cheers have some back
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  5. #5  
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    Cheers to the pair of ye, both been repped (hace to spread around first for NUTTA)....

    Please use this thread as a place to discuss the Heysel disaster aswel as a place for marking respect.... i'm sure some posters out there have stories or feelings towards this date.....

    Once again,
    YNWA
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  6. #6  
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    We should have a better memorial to Heysel than the one we have in the museum.

    Hopefully if the new ground gets built we can have an etenal flame for Heysel.
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  7. #7  
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    Totally agree.

    Excellent post.

    The Heysel victims will never be forgotten.

    YNWA
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  8. #8  
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    Nice one Shanklys kid. Good gesture. Repped.

    YNWA 39
    YNWA 96

    RIP to you all

    PS can't rep at moment, all out. Will try to remember later!
    PPS now done!
    Last edited by SuperSi; 15-4-09 at 17:33. Reason: adding pps
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  9. #9  
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    Thanks to you all for such nice comments........
    I know this day is not particularly appropiate for Heysel when Hillsborough is very much to fore front of all Liverpudlians minds, but it is wonderful to see that we can show such great humility in our time of mourning.......
    Once again,
    YNWA 96 & 39.
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  10. #10  
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    Sorry for self-bumping my own thread, but I just feel a Heysel thread belongs on the front page at least.
    Once again, YNWA to all the 39.
    I read 43 Years With The Same Bird this summer, and Brian Reade's description of the events of Heysel is very poignant and honest.

    What happened in Belgium that day is the single greatest disgrace of Liverpool Football Club and one no one associated with the club is proud of.
    Our greatest sympathy and deepest regret to the families and to Juventus.

    Heysel was also an abomination and the fans responsible bear the guilt.

    Once again, YNWA 39 & 96.
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  11. #11  
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    Your right Shanksykid well done for bumping it. More rep for you.

    RIP 39 YNWA
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  12. #12  
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    your right the diaster of Hillsborough has over shadowed heysel in recent years if need to do more to remember the 39

    ynwa 96 & 39
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  13. #13  
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    Patrick Radcliffe

    RIP Patrick.

    Patrick was a 37 year old man from Ireland. He was married with no children. He worked for the EU in Brussels at the time. The only Liverpool support to die as he was in the neutral section which contained Belgians and Italians who bought thier tickets off local touts.
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  14. #14  
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    Once again, apologise for self-bumping, but I genuinely believe it is important, to keep a Heysel thread on the 1st page of this memorial section of the boards.
    Here's a piece about Heysel, for those who are not familliar with the in's and out's of the tragedy:
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/3...adow-of-heysel


    THE DARK SHADOW OF HEYSEL

    I was born in 1983, just under two years before the European Cup Final between Liverpool FC and Juventus, and so I’ve grown up in its' shadow as a Liverpool supporter.

    I myself have been labelled “murderer” by fans of certain teams, even though I was only just walking at the time.

    I’ve always stopped and thought about that day whenever I saw that it was May 29.

    Is it possible for Liverpool fans to reconcile themselves with the terrible things that are said about them?

    Truth is a word that Liverpool fans have held dear since 1989.

    It’s written all over our messageboards, our websites, our newspapers, and at certain times of year, our Kop.

    It’s used in relation to another dark time, separate to Heysel, but what’s the truth about May 29, 1985, and the build up to events that would change football, and Liverpool FC, forever?



    Background


    English football fans first became synonymous with violent acts and drunkenness during the 1960s and 70s, not aided by the conduct of certain players on the pitch.

    During the 1960s, skinhead gangs attached themselves to travelling football crowds in order to create trouble for police.

    But this problem was never seen as a Liverpool problem, or even a Merseyside one.

    In 1974, a Bolton Wanderers fan attacked and stabbed to death a Blackpool supporter at Bloomfield Road.

    This followed on from a spate of organised riots during Manchester United’s 1973 stint in the Second Division, orchestrated by the so-called “Red Army” hooligan firm.

    Ten years before Heysel, during the 1975 European Cup Final between Leeds United and Bayern Munich, a large group of Leeds supporters attacked their German counterparts, as well as match officials and even the players, after a Peter Lorimer goal was controversially disallowed.

    UEFA’s response was to ban Leeds from European competition for four years.

    Of course it hadn’t been all one way.

    At the 1984 European Cup Final, several Liverpool fans were attacked by Roma fans before and after the match, crimes that are well documented.

    In March 1985, just two months prior to Heysel, a large group of Milwall fans rioted at Luton Town during the FA Cup quarter final, an event of such magnitude that it prompted responses from Margaret Thatcher’s government.

    On 11 May 1985, a 14-year-old boy died at St. Andrews Stadium when police forced fans against a wall, which collapsed under the pressure following violence at the match between Birmingham City and Leeds United.




    May 1985

    By the time the European Cup Final came around, there were already major concerns about the Heysel Stadium itself.

    It had been labelled a “dump” by Arsenal fans following a European match a few years earlier, and Liverpool CEO Peter Robinson, so worried about crowd safety, asked UEFA to choose another venue.

    His request was denied.

    Brussels has a large expatriate Italian community, and so many inevitably secured tickets for the Z section, which was set aside for neutral Belgian fans.

    The idea of having the Z section in place was for it to serve as a buffer zone between the opposition fans in Liverpool’s sections, labelled X and Y, and those of Juventus in O, N, and M, thereby eliminating possible trouble by keeping the hardcore fans apart.

    Both Liverpool FC and Juventus, however, publicly opposed the idea, as they believed it would—and it turns out did—provide an opportunity for ticket touts to sell Z section tickets to both sets of supporters, leading to a mix of travelling fans together.

    Many of the Z section tickets were sold by travel agents as part of packages to travelling Italian fans, while a small percentage ended up in the hands of Liverpool supporters.

    By the time the stadium filled, it became apparent that Liverpool and Juventus supporters in sections Y and Z were standing yards apart and the idea of the buffer had gone spectacularly wrong.

    The only boundary between the two was a temporary chain-link fence, thinly policed.

    At approximately 7 PM, local time, fans on both sides of the divide began picking up broken stones from the crumbling terrace construction, and hurling them over the fence.

    As kick-off approached, the number of missiles increased, again from both sides, until eventually a group of English fans charged and broke through the fence, causing many of the missile-throwing people on the edges of Z to retreat and pen the rest of the section against a broken down perimeter wall.

    The weight, added to the poorly maintained construction, meant that the wall collapsed.

    39 people lost their lives and 600 more were injured.

    Italian fans in sections O, N, and M, at this stage unaware of the scale of the disaster, rioted and tried to force their way through police to meet the English fans in confrontation, but were prevented from doing so.

    By the time the game eventually kicked-off, Juventus fans were still fighting a battle against police using bottles, broken stones, and missiles.

    Juventus, for what it was worth, went on to win the game 1-0 after officials acted to continue the game to avoid further incitement to the crowd.



    Blame


    Officially, the finger of blame was pointed squarely at the English fans.

    The official UEFA observer, Gunter Schneider, despite evidence to the contrary, said, "Only the English fans were responsible. Of that there is no doubt."

    On May 31, Margaret Thatcher, who had enacted several attempts to quell fan trouble at English football matches, urged the FA to withdraw English clubs from European competition.

    They did not need to act, however, as UEFA moved quickly to ban English clubs from Europe for “an indeterminate period of time.”

    On June 6, FIFA followed suit by banning English club teams from worldwide competitions.

    The ban on English clubs in Europe was indefinite, with the only proviso being that Liverpool FC would be banned for three years longer than the other English clubs. The ban was voted to continue each year for five years, and Liverpool only ended up serving one extra year of the ban than their counterparts.

    In all, there were 27 people arrested by British police on suspicion of manslaughter.

    Some had previous convictions for football-related violence, but hadn’t been prevented from travelling by the British authorities. Ultimately 14 of these 27 people were convicted.

    The Heysel Stadium was never used for a football match again until it was demolished in 1994.



    Aftermath

    As a result of the ban, many English club sides failed to achieve European heights, and their financial rewards.

    The argument that this cost sides more severely than initially thought gained most of its fervour when Merseyside rivals Everton suffered a downturn in fortunes during the 1990s.

    In the 1980s, Everton had encountered a new wave of prowess, winning the league twice in 1985 and 1987. They would have qualified for the European Cup in those years, but were denied their right by the ban.

    Of all the club sides affected by the ban, Liverpool were hardest hit, missing three European Cups, two UEFA Cups, and a Cup Winner’s Cup.

    Despite this, they continued to win trophies and dominate English football until their last league title in 1990, after which a combination of poor management and outdated boardroom policies reduced Liverpool’s ability to compete with emerging clubs.




    Conclusion


    The Heysel Stadium Disaster was one of the most terrible and horrific times in football.

    The result of decades of unchecked, irresponsible yob culture like a cancer at the heart of English and European club football, together with the ridiculous and thoughtless actions of a few men at UEFA, it will forever be a day that changed everything about the beautiful game.

    There is no doubt that English clubs suffered as a result.

    Financial rewards were lost, and possibly contributed to the downfall of Everton’s fortunes, though there’s little doubt that it was not the cause when you see the dramatic rise of Manchester United in the years since.

    The biggest loser of all in terms of football, of course, was Liverpool, who were thoroughly dominant at the time and would probably have gone on to record more European honours during the late 1980s.

    But it’s easy to cloud the day with football rivalries and tribalism.

    The most important aspect of May 29, 1985, were the 32 Italians, 4 Belgians, 2 French people and 1 Northern Irish man: 39 human beings that lost their lives.

    So, we remember them.

    We stop on May 29 each year and think of them, and Liverpool fans too young to have seen it, or been there, look at their names and mourn.

    YNWA
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  15. #15  
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    You talk about `our` sins on that day kid.............................

    I was present all week.....i used to work in Antwerp......and nobody seems to acknowledge the fact that Juve Ultras were hell bent on causing trouble.....i had Italian friends from Genoa, Sampdoria fans, who drove up for the final and they were petrified with what they had heard from these Ultras on their way up to Brussels....they pretended to support Juve as if they were found to be Doria fans, and ones that were going to cheer for Liverpool, they would have feared for their lives..............

    Let us also not forget the slashings of innocent LFC fans including girls, by the brave Juve Ultras around Brussels in the build up to the final....nor the son of a FIAT director, who ran Juventus, brandishing a pistol at the stadium and who was let off with no charge even though filmed invading the pitch waving the gun while people were dead or dying....nor the graffiti spraying of ZEBRAS, the Ultras gangname, all over section Z,

    Let us not forget the sheer cowardice of these creatures as they started the stone throwing and when the Brits had had enough and charged at them they turned tail and ran to the wall forcing it onto the poor people next to it..........i shall never forget the sight of these cowardly sub human Juventus fans scrambling on top of the injured and not stopping to assist...they thought of nothing but themselves....THEY will have to live with their cowardice for the rest of their lives..... their Catholic faith will haunt them forever i hope...the majority of people that came to help the injured and dying were Liverpool fans....but these facts were not newsworthy.... the media only wanted the gore.....some even showed photos of Liverpool fans attacking Italians on the pitch when it was clearly a photo of an Elland road riot from the early 70`s and nothing to do with Liverpool...... some Ultras had smashed up a burger stall and Liverpool lads were helping the shocked stall holders when they were set upon by the Belgian Rijkswacht and no amount of pleading from the Belgian stall holders prevented the innocent from being arrested.........LFC fans had to run the gauntlet from Brussels to Oostende for the next couple of days....God help them if they asked for assistance...fortunately my knowledge of Flemish helped me to avod the `witch hunt`.....a witch hunt that was created by the Belgian authorities own guilt and UEFA`s own greed for holding the final in a decaying stadium...

    I for one do not flinch at these idiots calling us `Murderers`.....far better than being known as cowards........those Ultras know who they are......

    I apologise for not sympathising with your idea lad, but my anger of that time, and the injustice of the consequences, are still strong almost a quarter of a century on.............

    As you say...you were 2 years old...........but i was there,

    Thank you for reading and allowing me to get these things off my chest,
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  16. #16  
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    thank you shanksykid for the post it is of great importance for people to remember this tragic event. as usual there was the political side to it all parties scrambling to cover themselves and the easy solution was to ban english clubs.




    Quote Originally Posted by Yankfield View Post
    You talk about `our` sins on that day kid.............................

    I was present all week.....i used to work in Antwerp......and nobody seems to acknowledge the fact that Juve Ultras were hell bent on causing trouble.....i had Italian friends from Genoa, Sampdoria fans, who drove up for the final and they were petrified with what they had heard from these Ultras on their way up to Brussels....they pretended to support Juve as if they were found to be Doria fans, and ones that were going to cheer for Liverpool, they would have feared for their lives..............

    Let us also not forget the slashings of innocent LFC fans including girls, by the brave Juve Ultras around Brussels in the build up to the final....nor the son of a FIAT director, who ran Juventus, brandishing a pistol at the stadium and who was let off with no charge even though filmed invading the pitch waving the gun while people were dead or dying....nor the graffiti spraying of ZEBRAS, the Ultras gangname, all over section Z,

    Let us not forget the sheer cowardice of these creatures as they started the stone throwing and when the Brits had had enough and charged at them they turned tail and ran to the wall forcing it onto the poor people next to it..........i shall never forget the sight of these cowardly sub human Juventus fans scrambling on top of the injured and not stopping to assist...they thought of nothing but themselves....THEY will have to live with their cowardice for the rest of their lives..... their Catholic faith will haunt them forever i hope...the majority of people that came to help the injured and dying were Liverpool fans....but these facts were not newsworthy.... the media only wanted the gore.....some even showed photos of Liverpool fans attacking Italians on the pitch when it was clearly a photo of an Elland road riot from the early 70`s and nothing to do with Liverpool...... some Ultras had smashed up a burger stall and Liverpool lads were helping the shocked stall holders when they were set upon by the Belgian Rijkswacht and no amount of pleading from the Belgian stall holders prevented the innocent from being arrested.........LFC fans had to run the gauntlet from Brussels to Oostende for the next couple of days....God help them if they asked for assistance...fortunately my knowledge of Flemish helped me to avod the `witch hunt`.....a witch hunt that was created by the Belgian authorities own guilt and UEFA`s own greed for holding the final in a decaying stadium...

    I for one do not flinch at these idiots calling us `Murderers`.....far better than being known as cowards........those Ultras know who they are......

    I apologise for not sympathising with your idea lad, but my anger of that time, and the injustice of the consequences, are still strong almost a quarter of a century on.............

    As you say...you were 2 years old...........but i was there,

    Thank you for reading and allowing me to get these things off my chest,
    also thank you yankfield i had heard and read a lot of the content that shanksykid posted, what i would call the political stuff, but i have always held the belief that this was not a one sided incident.
    thank you very much for your report and insight as a supporter at the game on that tragic night.

    respect to hysel 39 YNWA
    respect to hillborough 96 YNWA

    YNWA
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  17. #17  
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    Like Yankfield I also attended Heysel, however I still believe that we have a heavy burden of responsibility for what happened and that is why we should never forget Heysel. It is also why the 39 victims deserve a proper tribute, their own eternal flame.

    I accept that what Yankfield says about Heysel is true. All Liverpool fans heading to Brussels were acutely aware of what had happened the year before in Rome. Then Liverpool fans had been treated to a savage assault by Roma’s ‘hooligans’ far more vicious than events at Heysel. Many Liverpool fans were stabbed others battered with bricks, bottles and iron bars as the Italians launched their carefully planned ambush on the Liverpool fans leaving the stadium trying to cross the bridges leading back to the city. But very few people including Liverpool’s younger support are aware of what happened that night despite a catalogue of violence carried out by Roma’s scum support continuing to this day. Indeed more people are aware of the recent violent clashes between Roma and the manc’s than what happened in 1984, wonder why? U.E.F.A however was aware of Roma’s violent heritage (Anders Frisk!) but still awarded the city with the 2009 Champions League final. Hypocrisy on behalf U.E.F.A and the British press surely not?

    In 1984 it was Italian fans with Italian police in an Italian city. In 1985 it was different; it was Italian fans in a neutral city and a neutral police force. If the Italians wanted trouble then Liverpool fans were not prepared to come off second best again. The seeds of the Heysel disaster were sown in Rome in 1984.

    Sadly the Italian fans who postured and gestured at the divide between the Liverpool support were not Juve’s hard core support. They were mainly ex-pat Italians living in Brussels who had obtained tickets legitimately as part of the “neutral” allocation or on the black market. It has to be remembered that at the time a lot of so called violence inside the ground at matches was an exchange of insults and missiles usually coins. Both sides were aware that a dividing fence and a line of police avoided any actual physical confrontation. In other words it was easy to act tough when there was little chance of proving it face to face.

    At Heysel things conspired to make things different. A decrepit stadium, a chicken wire fence dividing line instead of a permanent structure, police officers that disappeared en masse to deal with an incident at a fast food stall outside the stadium. Finally to the Juventus fans gesturing at the opposition it was an act of bravado, an empty threat never intended to be backed up by actual deeds. To the Liverpool fans it was a gauntlet they were prepared to pick up. The Italians who were ‘acting’ tough were facing Liverpool fans prepared to meet aggression with actual violence.

    Juve’s so called ultras were at the wrong end of the stadium, the safe end. So when the Liverpool fans started to break through the chicken wire fence the Italians occupying the “neutral” Z sector fled as they realised that they were facing a mob intent on violence (revenge for what happened in Rome). Tragically in the ensuing chaos 39 innocent people lost their lives crushed against a wall as people rushed to avoid the violence.

    The Most disturbing footage I have seen of that night is of hundreds of people crushed against the collapsed wall. One in particular stands out, a large middle aged gentleman, balding with a moustache wearing a white shirt, crying out; arms outstretched reaching for help that would not come. In the foreground a high ranking Belgium police officer turns to the camera and shrugs his shoulders!

    The tragedy at Heysel is the darkest stain on the history of Liverpool Football Club. This does not mean that those who died at Heysel are some how better than the victims at Hillsborough. They all innocent victims of other peoples actions, the difference being at Hillsborough the responsibility for the disaster lies fairly and squarely with South Yorkshire Police. But at Heysel despite the seeds of disaster being sown in Rome, despite the inadequate response by an incompetent Belgian Police force, Liverpool fans have to accept responsibility for their part in the disaster.

    The victims at Heysel were not cowards, they were not scum they were not hooligans they where sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time it could also be argued that they were the wrong people. Juve’s ‘ultras’ the people who supposedly wanted to confront the Liverpool fans where safely located at the other end of the ground.

    It is for that reason why I believe there should be more fitting tribute to the victims of Heysel. And if we ever build a new ground then the opening game should be against Juventus with part of the gate receipts going to charities in Liverpool and Turin.

    We will never forget Hillsborough and we must never forget Heysel!
    Last edited by wotnot2; 15-2-10 at 18:41.
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  18. #18  
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    Was Jacques Georges the UEFA president in 85?
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    Quote Originally Posted by wotnot2 View Post
    Like Yankfield I also attended Heysel, however I still believe that we have a heavy burden of responsibility for what happened and that is why we should never forget Heysel. It is also why the 39 victims deserve a proper tribute, their own eternal flame.

    I accept that what Yankfield says about Heysel is true. All Liverpool fans heading to Brussels were acutely aware of what had happened the year before in Rome. Then Liverpool fans had been treated to a savage assault by Roma’s ‘hooligans’ far more vicious than events at Heysel. Many Liverpool fans were stabbed others battered with bricks, bottles and iron bars as the Italians launched their carefully planned ambush on the Liverpool fans leaving the stadium trying to cross the bridges leading back to the city. But very few people including Liverpool’s younger support are aware of what happened that night despite a catalogue of violence carried out by Roma’s scum support continuing to this day. Indeed more people are aware of the recent violent clashes between Roma and the manc’s than what happened in 1984, wonder why? U.E.F.A however was aware of Roma’s violent heritage (Anders Frisk!) but still awarded the city with the 2009 Champions League final. Hypocrisy on behalf U.E.F.A and the British press surely not?

    In 1984 it was Italian fans with Italian police in an Italian city. In 1985 it was different; it was Italian fans in a neutral city and a neutral police force. If the Italians wanted trouble then Liverpool fans were not prepared to come off second best again. The seeds of the Heysel disaster were sown in Rome in 1984.

    Sadly the Italian fans who postured and gestured at the divide between the Liverpool support were not Juve’s hard core support. They were mainly ex-pat Italians living in Brussels who had obtained tickets legitimately as part of the “neutral” allocation or on the black market. It has to be remembered that at the time a lot of so called violence inside the ground at matches was an exchange of insults and missiles usually coins. Both sides were aware that a dividing fence and a line of police avoided any actual physical confrontation. In other words it was easy to act tough when there was little chance of proving it face to face.

    At Heysel things conspired to make things different. A decrepit stadium, a chicken wire fence dividing line instead of a permanent structure, police officers that disappeared en masse to deal with an incident at a fast food stall outside the stadium. Finally to the Juventus fans gesturing at the opposition it was an act of bravado, an empty threat never intended to be backed up by actual deeds. To the Liverpool fans it was a gauntlet they were prepared to pick up. The Italians who were ‘acting’ tough were facing Liverpool fans prepared to meet aggression with actual violence.

    Juve’s so called ultras were at the wrong end of the stadium, the safe end. So when the Liverpool fans started to break through the chicken wire fence the Italians occupying the “neutral” Z sector fled as they realised that they were facing a mob intent on violence (revenge for what happened in Rome). Tragically in the ensuing chaos 39 innocent people lost their lives crushed against a wall as people rushed to avoid the violence.

    The Most disturbing footage I have seen of that night is of hundreds of people crushed against the collapsed wall. One in particular stands out, a large middle aged gentleman, balding with a moustache wearing a white shirt, crying out; arms outstretched reaching for help that would not come. In the foreground a high ranking Belgium police officer turns to the camera and shrugs his shoulders!

    The tragedy at Heysel is the darkest stain on the history of Liverpool Football Club. This does not mean that those who died at Heysel are some how better than the victims at Hillsborough. They all innocent victims of other peoples actions, the difference being at Hillsborough the responsibility for the disaster lies fairly and squarely with South Yorkshire Police. But at Heysel despite the seeds of disaster being sown in Rome, despite the inadequate response by an incompetent Belgian Police force, Liverpool fans have to accept responsibility for their part in the disaster.

    The victims at Heysel were not cowards, they were not scum they were not hooligans they where sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time it could also be argued that they were the wrong people. Juve’s ‘ultras’ the people who supposedly wanted to confront the Liverpool fans where safely located at the other end of the ground.

    It is for that reason why I believe there should be more fitting tribute to the victims of Heysel. And if we ever build a new ground then the opening game should be against Juventus with part of the gate receipts going to charities in Liverpool and Turin.

    We will never forget Hillsborough and we must never forget Heysel!
    Fantastic account mate, well said
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    Juve 39 R.I.P

    YNWA
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    your memories will live on in the heart of every fan
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    I have passed comment on another thread about the Heysel disaster, but a top bloke asked me to check this thread. So for the record, I have left a very long email I sent too a daily newspaper in 2005. Just my recollections of a horrible night in the history of Liverpool Football Club that doesn't seem to warrant enough time and energy from Liverpool supporters. You may not agree, but hey.. we all have opinions. Hope it doesnt bore you too much.

    To start with, may I take you back 12 months prior to to the Heysel disaster.
    Liverpool had again been involved in a European Cup Final, as you well know, at the home of AS Roma. As you will be well aware, the Olympic Stadium is...well, out in the open.
    My mate and I had travelled to Rome via train and yes...we where after a beer when we arrived.
    This was not possible, as the Romans had made very good arrangements, and took all the train passengers directly to the stadium by bus.
    Through sheer boredom..of walking around this vast stadium and being harranged by the many street sellers of flags and food, we went into the ground around 6pm. Some two hours prior to kick off. You may have heard tales of violence and abuse after the game from the Roma supporters..which did occur..though I am doubtfull it was on the scale that some Liverpool supporters claimed.
    But what you may have been unaware of, was the disgusting antics of "some" Roma supporters prior to the game. I will try to give you a mind picture of areas and events.
    The Liverpool supporters where based behind the goal to the left, from tv camera view.
    From the tv camera view, I was to the right of the goal, quite low down.
    About an hour, maybe more, before the game began. There was a "hubbub" behind us.
    What we saw was vile.
    Liverpool supporters where moving forward towards the area I was in and shouting abuse. Because some of the "alleged" Italians where urinating on them from the area above.
    Missiles then rained down for approximately 5 minutes. And yes, they where thrown back by some parties. Nothing overly serious I must add... plastic bottles, cups with drink ? in, the odd coin. No life threatening objects. Yet nevertheless totally wrong and uncalled for.
    Just because we where in a football stadium, waiting to watch a football side they did not support.
    I wont go into the details of the after match activities...except to say some poor woman did receive a bloodied head after a carrier bag..containing some disgusting smelling food stuffs and something hard to break the glass, came through the bus window ferrying us back to the train station. I am quite sure this was not an isolated incident. Though again..not overly serious. Thankfully, the Italian police had to be commended on their actions.
    As a very large group of Italians had gathered outside the stadium after the trophy had been won. Had they not been there in force, then I am sure there would have been a terrible incident.

    On our way home, our train passed through Turin...bizarrely very slowly...and suprisingly, to ourselves, we where applauded by all who saw us in our celebratory morning state. We where told later, that the Juve and Torino fans had gathered to cheer us on our way home, as we had defeated the horrid Roma the night before. Anti club fever taken to extremes if you ask me...but I am not Italian. So no animosity between fans at this point.
    Liverpool then played Juventus in the European Super Cup in Feb 85 in Turin.
    Juve won this game 2-0 and though I did not got to this particular game, the reports from people I know who did, claimed both sets of fans mingled and drank and generally had a good time together.
    Again, NO signs of animosity and antagonism.
    May I just add one point before I carry on. Through all the years of hooliganism in our country prior to Heysel, Liverpool supporters had not once been involved in any troubles whatsoever. Though I will not deny that the odd skirmish had taken place, and yes, no doubt some excessive drinkin and theft probably took place in foriegn parts. I am not condoning the theft, which is unnaceptable,but I am just pointing out the good and the bad points of Liverpool supporters exploits in Europe. Also, the behaviour of the Everton supporters in Rotterdam the week prior to Heysel was, and is still claimed, as exemplarary by the people of Holland who made acquintance with them.
    So finally to the events (as I saw them) in Brussels.
    Myself and the same mate (from the Roma game) booked a trip to the final through a local travel agency in Liverpool. It was to be the classic Final...the best two sides in Europe facing each other for the continents greatest prize. We spent the night before the final getting very drunk and having a wonderfull time with the folk of Ostend. They made us very welcome, as far as I know, the majority of the hotel we stayed in was booked with Liverpool supporters, who headed into the city. There was no trouble at all. And the bars and taxi companies where very happy with us, for our excessive spending and our singing and lively nature.
    A good time was had by ALL. As the saying goes.
    On wednesday afternoon many coaches left our hotel heading for Brussels.
    We where left at the coach park, which was directly behind the end of the ground the tragedy took place.
    As we passed the ground on our right, while still on the coach, and turned right to go behind that scoreboard end, a loud voice loomed from the quietness of the coach.
    "****in ell, the finals at Kirkby Town" As a Kirkby lad myself, I knew exactly what the voice meant, and hoards of laughter came after this line. I dont think you will be aware of the old Kirkby Town ground...it was on the site that Liverpool now has it's academy. If you wish to see what was meant, I am sure somewhere on the internet, a picture will be posted or local newspapers will have it in their archives. You will appreciate the line from seeing a picture.

    Curiosity got the better of most of us on that coach, from there on in.
    Once off, we couldnt wait to go and check out this place.
    I am unaware if you actually saw this particular part of the ground...but to be brutally honest, from the outside, it looked like a quaint little place on a hill. With some wall with doorways on the top. Not wanting to waste too much time ogling, as we knew soon we would be inside this strange place, my mate and I, plus four other lads we had got to know (older but good lads) went heading off for a beer. After all, it was only 3 ish in the afternoon..and as far as I recall, the kick off was not untill 8.15pm ?
    I was only 22 at the time, still a single man and though not a hooligan, I and the lads I was with liked a beer. Not a crime.
    What we found very strange though, was the attitude of the Belgians. Though at the time we where not complaining, in hindsight it was a very daft thing to do.
    We made our way down the road behind the goal...which came to a junction with a main road...one which we had come along when driving in.
    Much to our suprise, virtually every shop, house or once barracaded abode of some sort was selling beer. We stood on the pavement of that main road, as did many a Liverpool and Juve supporter drinkin away, singing, swapping banners, scarves etc...all having a great old time thanks to the friendly and accomodating people of Brussels...who no doubt rubbed their hands in glee at having such a good little earner.
    At some point close to 7pm our little band of 6 began to make our way towards the ground. Yes we had had plenty of beer. Yet still in a decent state..but probably slightly if not virtually drunk at this point.
    Again now, I will try to give you a picture mind set of what situation faced us..and maybe some little points, as to what may have caused the horrible events that occured thereafter.
    Four of the lads went to there respective areas as they had seats in the stand facing the tv camera area, while my mate and I had tickets for sections X,Y. For some reason we couldnt understand why section Z had been blacked out on our tickets.
    We where soon to find out.
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  23. #23  
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    As pointed out earlier, we had to approach the ground up a hill...or maybe an incline. The police had situated those small (about 3ft high by 5ft long) portable railings in a zig zag formation up the hill. Part way up, I think the problems started. Everyone was searched. All flags had the poles taken off them and broken, then thrown in a pile. It was huge ! The police had suddenly shown a hard hand...after letting us drink all afternoon on the streets of Brussels.
    At this point there where some very angry people entering the ground.
    I am only 5ft 7" but I felt sorry for the taller people who then came into the ground.
    The turnstiles where doorways in the wall on top of this hill. With some strange contraption to click through to gain entry........I still wish I had my ticket to prove, as many did, that all I did was show my ticket. To be perfectly honest I am not even sure the guy looked at it.
    I am unaware of people who gained entry to the ground without tickets...and knowing the bravado of Liverpool people, some may have said that, to try and shame the stadium officials in the aftermath. But if some did, then so be it. But till proven otherwise, I still feel none gained entry by ill means. Though I could have climbed over that wall on my own if I had wanted too..and remember, I am only small.
    We entered the ground at the top of the terraces. Again the sick sense of humour came out...at first glance, the stand facing the tv cameras, looked a disgrace...a line was heard " these *******s have built a ground with the leftovers of Bradfords ground" very sick. Especially in the light of what was to come, and with the Bradford disaster being so recent in the memory. But laffs where heard, as the meaning of the line was there.
    It was a ramshackle place.
    The floor literally did crumble. Curved steel plates appeared at the edge of each step.
    I personally fell twice within 10 yards of entering the ground. The first I put down to being drunk...the second I didnt. In hindsight, I dont think the first was the cause of alcohol either. But it caused much mirth in the vicinity, that I felt no need to try and blame the footing as to disguise my embarrassment.
    It became a joke then for anyone entering the ground now..."its like sinking sand mate, watch where ya walk"
    I am a bit unsure of times at this point, even though there was a huge clock behind me, but comments had been made that some Italians in the next section (section Z) had been swapping banter with the lads close to the fence...the normal line that seemed to be was "get down ya own effin end" as the liverpool section was beginning to fill, and there was no understanding as to why we had to share this end with Juve supporters.
    Within "minutes" a flare shot through the crowd on our side...at about knee height, coming from the area where the Juve supporters where. Gladly about 25 feet from me, but the scattering was fast and we saw the flash. The banter between the two sets of fans became more noisy and there was a bad atmosphere on the Liverpool side with plenty of swearing and shouting.
    I was about 10/15ft from the wire mesh fence (or chicken wire as it appears to be called) that seperated the two parties. After the flare, lots of face to face shouting was going on at this fence. Then a barrage of stones, plastic bottles, coins and bits of wood (god knows where these came from) came flying into our section. People further to my left, came storming across towards the fence...it became jam packed at this point and we where pushed across, away from the fence, due to the amount of people. A few more flares came across..not many, maybe 3 or 4, but nonetheless dangerous. The shouting and balling continued for maybe 3 or 4 minutes..as more and more objects where then traded between both sets of supporters.
    All then seemed to go quiet...well quiter. the missiles stopped...the crowd in that area dissipated. From being quite crushed and wondering what the hell was going on, there seemed to be calm..and more space.
    I will at this point admit to one of the most stupid things I have ever done in my life...and i've done a few daft things.
    I saw a big area..nobody in it. I called to my mate "Donno, get ya arse over here, it's empty" I was at this point about 20yds down, if that, from the top of the ground.
    I walked...no obstacles, into what had been the Juve section. Unbeknown to myself.
    Untill a ****** big horse with a policeman on it came riding in my direction, across the terraces.
    "Donno" was coming into that area as i was running back and pushed him as hard as I could back into the Liverpool section.
    It was that fast.
    Thinking back..I do recall seeing Italian fans massed up towards the top corner of the ground..but only a handfull of wandering Liverpool supporters. This must have been a few minutes AFTER the charge.
    I still feel a prat for going into that section though.
    It only now dawned on me, that one lot of supporters had broken down the fence. I gather it was the Liverpool supporters. As why would the Juve supporters pull it down then run ?
    But at that time, we didnt know they had ran away or what had happened. Just that there was a huge space..and the police where far from happy about it.
    I have never seen pictures on tv of what that section Z looked like prior to the fighting..or alleged fighting. But it appears it was by no means full......that section was nearly half of that end of the ground.Our section was full...very full.
    Rumours then abounded around the ground that someone was dead...then two..maybe 4 or 5.....it was ridiculed...people DONT DIE at football matches...it was laffed off as kids scaremongering.
    We knew something was wrong from the tannoy addresses and the way the Juve supporters where behaving......invading the pitch and running up to the Liverpool end from the far end of the ground. We saw the Liverpool supporter, you showed in your article on 5th April, getting pummeled in the far terraces before he eventually got out. Followed by more who kept hitting him, till the police intervened.
    We watched the match...still unbeknown of the true horrors...though knowing, somehow, that the game was only played to stop there being a total riot.
    Even though we wanted our lads to win...and felt the injustices of two turned down penalty claims...and the trip on Boniek outside the box, that gave them the penalty that won it...again somehow ...some inbuilt weirdness us humans have...told us, that only Juve where going to be winners that night.
    We saw the helicopters...heard the ambulance sirens...but people DONT DIE at football matches...ok a few injuries had happened...some had fell on the terrible crumblin terraces...we didnt know.
    We got the terrible news when hearing Emlyn Hughes on a radio station when we got on the coach...crying...dismissing the Liverpool supporters he had so loved as animals...apart from his voice you could hear a pin drop on that coach...we had joined the band of hooligans...but ohhhh boy we took it to another level.
    I still personally feel, that though the ground was a complete dump, and the match should never have been played their......and that yes..a lot of Liverpool supporters had been drinkin for many hours prior to the game...and that I have since heard, that many of the Juve supporters in that section where families and Belgian based Italians....that a lot more questions should have been asked other than ......who pulled down the fence and ran at them.
    They where antagonised, beyond belief...I am just happy I am a relatively mild mannered coward who wouldn't dream of doing that. As i was ********** off at what was goin on.

    My mate is a hothead...he was glad I was with him..cos he knows he would have charged at those supporters. How it all started no one seems to know...that seems a crux that no-one seems to want to know....blame UEFA..blame Liverpool fans...blame the Belgian authorities..blame the ground....there are answers out there Jeff.....but no-one looked for them.
    What happened was outrageous...and hopefully will never happen again...it still feels like yesterday to anyone who was there...as you well know. As a dopey old sod I even broke down in tears a few weeks later, in a pub with some of my Evertonian mates. To think that people went to a football match and never went home....it's still beyond belief to me.
    Though Liverpool did the double the following season, my beloved football club died too that night. At the hands of, who knows how many loonatics, that took the bait and went too far...way too far. I am in no way defending what the Liverpool supporters did that night...I am merely trying to put a different perspective on it.

    Liverpool should have honoured the dead of Heysel in some fashion....they haven't. And I feel it's a litlle too little and a little too late, what happened at Anfield last Tuesday.
    20 years to accept responsibilty.... not good enough really is it. Surely they should have played an honourary game for the 39 who died, and given all proceeds and any earnings that would have been gained, to that game too. Money wouldn't have cured the hurt...but would have showed the Italians that they cared.

    I hope I haven't bored you too much on this matter Jeff...it's something that's played on my mind since that night...and haven't really spoken about..but my kids have been asking recently, what happened at Heysel, Dad ? It's too confusing for them...so I opened up to you.
    It still hurts..but maybe it will feel easier after I have sent this email.
    Not hurts me personally.....just hurts that football died that night..the best game in the world lost it's soul in a Belgian Athletics Ground.......I still love the game..but some of it has gone.
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    We, as Liverpool supporters, have to take a fair share of the blame for what happened at Heysel 25 years ago, and certainly some have. The word SORRY is such a small word but it also means so much. I am deeply sorry for what happened in Brussels 25 years ago, and ashamed for a section of Liverpool fans. We all know that hooliganism was at it's peak in the mid 1980's with a nasty, far right Nazi element from certain clubs. We also know that 12 months previously Liverpool fans were victims to some nasty, violent attacks by the so-called Roma Ultras at the European Cup Final. There were a lot of angry young men in 80's Britain who felt that they had no hope, no future under the evils of Thatcherism. They wanted to rebel, fight back. They saw football as the perfect stage to do so. I am not sticking up for anyone here. I am just trying to explain the many contributory factors that caused 39 deaths that fateful night. And there were many. Do not forget either, that some Juventus fans hardly covered themselves in a blaze of glory that night. They were spoiling for a fight, and at the other end of the ground there was some violence, with their most violent thugs covering their faces with scarves brandishing bars, sticks, knives and even pistols. Of course, such an horrific disaster might not have taken place if it had not been played at a crumbling, antiquated, delapidated ground, with bad ticketing arrangements and a feeble chicken wire fence to separate fans. The Belgian FA and UEFA must hold up their hands and take some responsibility. Peter Robinson, the then club secretary of Liverpool, warned them of Heysel being such an unsuitable venue and the problems it might cause. The police were inept too on that night, let us not forget that. Then we have the racist thugs. There is some evidence to suggest that The National Front and Combat 18 infiltrated the Liverpool support to stoke up the fire as it were. The former Liverpool chairman, Sir John Smith, had evidence of such a campaign, with so-called fans from other clubs being in Brussels, and in that end that night.

    But as we all know, the blame was placed squarely on Liverpool fans, despite having an excellent reputation for behaviour for many years previously. We have had to live with this 'murderers' tag for 25 years. I think people that say that need to understand the true meaning in law of what murder is - it is a premeditated act in the taking of human life - what happened at Heysel was not a premeditated act of murder, it was violence which erupted on the terraces that night.

    All in all, it has taken 25 years for the club to recognise what happened and say SORRY. And whilst I feel the gesture of a plaque of remembrance is a step forward, something should have been done years ago. A lot of Liverpool fans recognised those wrongs and have said sorry. SORRY and the hand of FRIENDSHIP.

    To the 39 and their families YNWA

    Chris

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    ynwa the 39 my heart goes out the the families and friends of the victims.

    (not about thread to use my 1500 on)
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    Many thanks for the posts, especially to LennieMac. I read every word, a really compelling account of a tragic night.
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    LENNIEMAC........like you i was also present in Rome the previous year and stayed with some friends in Genoa,[ the Sampdoria and Genoa fans i mentioned in my previous post,] and got a ride down in an LFC supporters coach that had booked into Genoa for a few days as Rome hotels had upped their price because of the final and i can assure you that many LFC fans were attacked afterwards including women........the stadium authorities in their infinite wisdom had covered the coach and car parking areas with shingle....not tarmac, concrete or even grit but shingle,
    This shingle comprised of thousands of pebbles about the size of 50p pieces....an ideal palm sized object that could be lobbed a fair distance....which we discovered as we strolled into the night outside and they began to rain down upon us....some clunked against the parked coaches shattering glass while others could be heard ripping into the foliage or clattering onto the existing shingle.......this was made worse by the fact that we could not see from what direction they were being lobbed due to the tear gas that the Roma ultras, the Vixen, had set off themselves as a cover and smokescreen and added to by the Carabinieri police firing them into the surrounding area in an effort to keep them from getting near to our end of the Olympic stadium........
    Some lads, from the services, encouraged us to soak scarves with the bottled water and wrap them around our faces and not rub the eyes as we stumbled through the haze looking for our coach trying to protect our heads from the whizzing missiles..............to our relief these diminished, until we realised that in the chaos we had strayed too far away from our area and were practically by the Tiber bridge where their yobs had congregated.....due to the tear gas and the fact that our colours were identical [ the red, white and yellow had just become popular with LFC fans] nothing gave us away until we saw a lad and his lass in their mid twenties being set upon by a group....when they screamed for help we instinctively ran headlong to them and this surprised and unnerved the ultras as they scattered and backed off and in the confusion we dragged the couple back into the mist where we were confronted by some police and after initial agitation they directed us to where our coaches were, we ended up on different coaches as the bizzies wanted us to get the hell out of there.

    We pulled into a service station just outside the town and by chance our coach was sat there with the lads stocking up on water and horrid snacks and after we regaled our experiences we were told that quite a few had been set upon that way and again fellow LFC fans had charged in to assist,

    We also heard that in one charge the ultras panicked and ran across the bridge towards the old town and one of them had fallen off and died, this was confirmed when we got back to Genoa by my Sampdoria mates,

    I waved the coach off the next day and stayed with my friends for another 2 weeks holiday and they took me sight seeing around the surrounding areas and i too was surprised to see graffiti sprayed everywhere congratulating us in defeating the hated Romans....including some that celebrated the confirmed death of a Vixen.

    I am not saying that these incidents contributed to the backlash in section Z at Heysel, but it would not take much to provoke any of the lads that had experienced the events from Rome, also however from my experience there were a lot of `fans` from other clubs at Brussels [i recall seeing West Ham, Chelsea, Millwall and Birmingham yobs there] and they seemed to treat Liverpool FC as a more successful vehicle to latch onto than the under achieving England team as LFC invariably got to finals or semi finals and these groups were difficult to identify after................................. sadly the innocent paid the ultimate price whilst the authorities tried to wriggle off the hook yet again,
    As one of the lads said recently maybe we have been cursed to suffer so much tragedy as a balance for all the glory......but i don`t think so, at least i hope not as no trophy is worth these tragedies,
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  29. #29  
    Simo429 is offline Boot Room insider
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    Ive read and heard many first hand accounts about there being plenty of brummies for the game
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    Thanks Matt CM. Hope it didn't bore you too much.
    Simo.. no arguments on other supporters being at Heysel.. the mate said he saw a few diferent shirts around the ground, but I can't remember which ones now. The only ones I saw where two young lads (younger than me at 22) with Arsenal shirts on..

    Yankfield...ok.. I will hold my hands up that there was more trouble than I knew of in Rome...I was relatively lucky in that once in the coach park I overheard some bloke saying to someone "this ones going to the train station" so we jumped on that bus.. 5 minutes max after coming out of the ground, if that.
    And I did seem to know a few walter mittys who claimed they where having mass brawls with Roma fans outside the exit and gave the police a kicking etc... just seemed a bit far fetched.

    So a retraction from me of the exageration of the Roma situation, I accept what you say.

    Still think that the amount of Liverpool supporters who have passed comment .. even an RIP 39.. is pretty crap... we want the world to give us justice for the 96 but havent respected the 39.
    Off my soapbox now... by the way Yankfield... I did like your accounts of Heysel.. Simo told me to read it.
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