I heard the news that fateful afternoon.
My world came to a halt.
Those with no one to love, to hold, to lose,
Looked only for who was at fault.
The scenes of horror soaked my fearful mind.
None of the tears I cried that day
Could wring out what I saw.
Terror, death and terror
Will remain forever more.
The need to know.
My call connected. But what to say?
“Had he been there? Please say ‘No’.
Only I’m sure I saw him in the crowd.
No? Oh, Thank God!”
A tide of warmth envelopes me.
Nothing more is heard.
Replacing the receiver, I laugh then cry.
Overwhelmed by ecstatic relief,
I return to watch the reports.
Realisation that many aren’t to be so lucky,
And my happiness retorts.
Kept alive by the slightest chance,
(He couldn’t afford the ticket)
My friend remains in body and soul,
While others just in spirit.
What of those others and those they leave behind?
Beautiful children, budding adults, young and old,
But all were of one mind:
To give support to their team, the reds.
How were they to know
That day they’d meet their deaths?
But how soon will you forget their loss?
Leaving the mourning to those who care,
To those the dead saw as ‘their own’.
Leaving them to show those innocents
“You’ll never walk alone.”
I wrote the above poem in April 1989, a few days after the tragedy at Hillsborough. An LFC fan since I was six, thanks to my Nan, I had watched in horror as events unfolded on TV that afternoon. This soon turned to blind panic, when I became convinced I’d seen my friend John in the crush. He lived in Warrington, and regularly attended Liverpool’s matches. Thankfully, I eventually discovered he hadn’t been able to afford to go to that Saturday’s game.
I stumbled upon my poem, now somewhat battered with age, during a declutter the day after the BBC’s documentary on Hillsborough aired. It made reading something I hadn’t seen for over 25 years all the more poignant. As always, thoughts are with those we lost on 15th April 1989, their families, friends and loved ones.
You’ll Never Walk Alone.