Spion kop: LIVERPOOL fans remember stadium disaster

2012-04-16 00:00

LIVERPOOL football fans in South Africa decorated the Anglo-Boer War battle site at Spion Kop, near Ladysmith, with their team’s red colours and sang its anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Their mission: to remember the 96 fellow Liverpool fans killed in the Hillsborough Disaster 23 years ago on April 15 during a human crush between supporters of their team and those of Nottingham Forest. On that day the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield was hosting an FA Cup semi-final tie between the two teams.

“Not only do we remember those who were killed, but we give thanks, because of this tragic event, that other soccer fans can enjoy safe stadiums and proper safe facilities,” said Dave Walters.

An official inquiry put the 1989 disaster down to the failure by South Yorkshire Police to control the crowd.

Last month, according to a BBC report, leaked documents revealed that then British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, had been told a senior police officer blamed “drunken Liverpool fans” for causing the Hillsborough disaster. For years the families of those who died have been calling for the release of secret government and police papers relating to the disaster.

They believe the police tried to transfer blame from themselves and place it on the fans.

This weekend Liverpool insisted on playing against Everton on Saturday in a FA Cup semi-final, rather than on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, as originally scheduled.

Back at Spion Kop, about 30 South African Liverpool fans re-dedicated the Liverpool memorial bench at a local lodge. It had been donated by a former supporter, the late Guy Price.

Said Ian Parker, chairperson of the Liverpool Supporters’ Club of SA: “It is not only a way to remember those who died, but a reminder to all our up-and-coming Liverpool supporters, that these victims had changed the events of soccer and it is our responsibility to keep this alive.”

The link with Spion Kop is that in Britain a “spion kop” is the term used to describe a number of stands at sports stadiums, including the one at Hillsborough. A news reporter likened the sight of football fans standing on a steep bank of raised earth to soldiers standing on top of a steep hill during the Battle of Spion Kop in the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1900.

Yesterday’s ceremony saw the names of the dead read out. Walters gave the chronology of the disaster and spoke about its aftermath.

The fans stood in silence for six minutes after a whistle was blown. Then, once again, they sang You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.