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Liverpool Fans Remember Heysel


Breakwood

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Liverpool hosted Juventus yesterday in the Champions League, for the first time since the European Cup (aka Champions League) final in 1985. I'm not sure how many of you know what happened but in Belgium on May 29th a wall seperating Liverpool fans and Juventus fans collapsed and a riot insued. 39 fans were trampled to death.

This is taken from the Liverpool FC website

On May 29 1985, 39 football fans died when a wall collapsed at the Heysel stadium in Belgium. What should have been one of the greatest nights in the club's history turned into a nightmare.

Instead of leaving Brussels having seen our team lift a fifth European Cup, Liverpool supporters travelled back to England having witnessed the deaths of 38 Italians and one Belgian.

Liverpool had objected to the choice of ground to stage the final well before the friendly banter outside the stadium began to turn nasty inside. Aside from the fact that the stadium appeared to be crumbling, Liverpool's main concern was that there was to be a neutral section of the ground set aside for football fans from Belgium. The club argued that only Liverpool and Juventus should be allocated tickets. Setting aside a neutral area would only lead to both sets of fans being able to buy tickets off Belgium touts thus creating a dangerous mixed area. As history has since proved, this neutral area was soon filled with Italian supporters.

As tempers became frayed inside the ground about an hour before kick off, both sets of fans baited each other through a segregating fence made from chicken wire. After a sustained period of missiles being thrown by both sets of supporters, some Liverpool fans charged at their Italian counterparts and, as chaos took over, Juventus fans fled only for a wall blocking their escape to collapse on top of them. Thirty-nine football supporters died where they fell.

Later that night, Juventus won the European Cup 1-nil. It's a match nobody wants to remember.

Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool's greatest ever player, will never forget what happened in Belgium though.

"The fact that fatalities might result wouldn't have occurred to the Liverpool fans when they ran across."

Dalglish admits that it wasn't until the following morning that the Liverpool players finally realised exactly what had happened inside the stadium.

"We saw the Italian fans crying, and they were banging on the side of our bus when we left the hotel," he recalls. "When we left Brussels, the Italians were angry, understandably so; 39 of their friends had died. I remember well one Italian man, who had his face right up against the window where I was sitting. He was crying and screaming. You feel for anybody who loses someone in those circumstances. You go along to watch a game. You don't go along expecting that sort of ending, do you? Football's not that important. No game of football is worth that. Everything else pales into insignificance."

Almost 20 years after that terrible day, Liverpool and Juventus were drawn together again for the first time in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. It was if fate had brought the two teams together to join forces and honour those who had lost their lives at Heysel.

"There is a friendship between the two clubs and supporters," Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry revealed after the draw had been announced. "As soon as the draw paired us together for the first time in 20 years, memories of the Heysel Stadium disaster were naturally in people's minds, both in Turin and here on Merseyside. The two clubs built bridges and forged powerful links after Heysel. The bond between us remains strong, but we still want all Juventus fans to know that we are very sorry about the fact that 39 people lost their lives. We moved forward in a spirit of friendship after Heysel and the clubs continue to work together in a spirit of mutual respect."

May 29 is a day of remembrance for both Juventus and Liverpool supporters. Think for a minute about those who lost their lives at Heysel and pray it never happens again.

Fast Forward to April 5th, the site in Anfield in Liverpool.

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Durring a moment of silence prior to the match, The Kop (the most passionate Liverpool fans) spelt out Friendship in Itallian.

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The dissapointing part was a small number of Juve Ultras (Juve's more passionate fans) turned their back to this presentation and gave the Kop the middle finger.

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I want to make it clear that the ultras do not represent the majority of Juve fans.

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