Ninety-six Liverpool Football Club fans died and hundreds more were injured in a crush at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
Liverpool were facing Nottingham Forrest in a sold out 1988-89 FA Cup semi-final. The match was scheduled to be played at the neutral home of Sheffield Wednesday, and fans of the two teams were allocated segregated areas based on their approach routes. This led to Liverpool being assigned to the smaller Leppings Lane stands, despite the team having more supporters.
Many English football stadiums at the time featured standing-only ‘pens’ that were surrounded by high steel fences to keep fans separated from each other and from the pitch. Although Hillsborough had experienced non-fatal crushes previously, no changes were made to the layout of the terrace.
As Liverpool fans began to arrive at the stadium, a bottleneck began to form due to the small number of turnstiles. Over 5,000 fans were still outside the ground fifteen minutes before kick-off, so police opened a large exit gate in order to relieve pressure. This led to thousands of Liverpool supporters entering pens 3 and 4, exerting enormous pressure on those fans already inside who began to be crushed against the fencing. Some managed to escape by climbing the fences and others were pulled to safety by fans in the upper stand, but 96 people died and 766 were injured.
Numerous inquests followed the disaster, with the authorities initially diverting blame to the Liverpool fans themselves. In April 2016 the Goldring inquest returned the verdict that the police failed in their duty of care and that the fans were unlawfully killed due to gross negligence.