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Don't Buy The Sun. Sun coverage of Hillsborough, April 1989
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Don’t Buy The Sun.

The Hillsborough Disaster occured on Saturday, April 15, 1989.

96 fans would ultimately lose their lives.

They’d gone to Hillsborough to see Liverpool and Nottingham Forest contest the semi-final of the FA Cup.

The following is some of the coverage of the disaster from The Sun newspaper’ from the Wednesday onwards. It is presented here as it was originally written.

The claims in this coverage would later be shown to be without foundation. Although the inquiry found the police were at fault, the battle for justice has still not been won. But the battle goes on, and will go on until that justice is handed down.

The Sun newspaper would go on to be boycotted on Merseyside - and also up and down the country - by fans of Liverpool, Everton, other clubs and people who weren’t football fans at all. It was - and remains - a very much appreciated show of solidarity to the victims and their families.

That boycott goes on to this day, over 23 years later.

For more background on the disaster, please visit

Wednesday, April 19, 1989


Yesterday’s sale: 4,410,811

Thought: Kop of shame



Some fans picked pockets of victims

Some fans urinated on the brave cops

Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life

Picture: Superintendent Marshall

Under fire … Superintendent Marshall


DRUNKEN Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims of the Hillsborough soccer disaster, it was revealed last night.

Police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon by a hooligan element in the crowd.

Some thugs rifled the pockets of injured fans as they were stretched out unconscious on the pitch.

In one shameful episode, a gang of Liverpool fans noticed the blouse of a girl trampled to death in the crush had risen above her breasts.


As a policeman struggled in vain to revive her, they jeered: “ Throw her up here and we will **** her.”

Sheffield officers – stung by criticism of themselves and their boss Superintendent Roger Marshall – hit back yesterday to reveal their side of the story.

As the death of a 14-year-old boy brought the toll to 95, cops claimed their rescue effort was hampered by hooligans tanked up at a three-hour boozing session.

One furious policeman who witnessed the disaster on Saturday stormed: “To paint all the Liverpool fans lily-white is wrong.

“As we struggled in appalling conditions to save lives, fans standing further up the terrace were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead.

“And as policemen on the pitch tried to save the injured they were hampered by other Liverpool fans kicking and punching them.”

His story was confirmed by Police Federation rep Paul Middup, who revealed how several of his members broke down and wept as they told him what they had witnessed.

“I don’t doubt these stories are true,” he said. “I am sick of hearing of how good the crowd were.

“Some arrived tanked up and the situation faced by officers was simply terrifying.”

But Pc Middup stressed that only a small minority of the Liverpool fans behaved so badly

Most police officers refused to be named because of the impending full scale inquiry.

But a high ranking officer at the ground said: “They were just acting like animals. My men faced a double hell – the disaster and the fury of the fans who attacked us.”

South Yorkshire ambulance chief Don Page revealed one of his men was so badly assaulted by drunken fans he needed hospital treatment. A fireman was also attacked.

A second police officer added: “As one young officer gave the kiss of life and heart massage he was given a savage kick by a lout.”

A third policeman said: “There was a lot of pilfering.

“Personal possessions were missing as well as cash. People were picking up coins which had fallen from victims’ pockets. It was sickening.”

The police claims were backed by Sheffield MP Irvine Patnick, who spoke to officers on duty in the mortuary hours after the tragedy.

“They told me they were hampered, harassed, punched, kicked and urinated on by Liverpool fans,” he said.

“I have kept quiet about this because I didn’t want to inflame a delicate situation.

“But these are the stories told to me by policemen just after it had happened. I saw the bruising on their bodies.”

Thursday, April 20, 1989


Yesterday’s sale: 4,301,148

Thought: Nothing but the truth



A SICKENED publican told yesterday how he came to the aid of Liverpool fans after the Hillsborough disaster – and they repaid his kindness by robbing him.

Landlord Richard Wright took pity on a group of lads who claimed to be shaken after seeing the soccer tragedy which claimed 95 lives.

He let them use his private phone to tell their parents they had survived.

Wife Linda even made them ham sandwiches.

But the callous yobs WRENCHED his cigarette machine off the wall, NICKED packets worth £300 and PLUNDERED brass ornaments from behind the bar.

Richard, of the Travellers pub at Birdwell South Yorks, stormed: “This lot have brought shame on decent football supporters.


“The [sic] took everything they could lay their hands on. They knew exactly what they were doing. I can’t believe that any fans

Continued on Page Five


Continued from Page One

would do this after we showed them sympathy.”

Linda said: “We feel bitter. It was a shame it happened on that of all days.”

The kind-hearted couple rushed to help the group of 10 after Saturday’s carnage at the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The Travellers is the nearest bar to the M1 junction which Liverpool fans use to reach Sheffield.


The fans spent two hours in the pub.

But the cunning mob waited until Richard turned his back.

Then they wrecked the cigarette machine, searched the bar for cash and fled with what loot they could grab.

Richard said: “I dashed outside. They were about to drive off in a van.


“I demanded ‘give it me back’ but they just roared off.”

He added: “I’ve very angry at being taken for a mug.”

Richard’s pub is next door to an off-licence called D & G Ltd – and that was ALSO rifled after the game.

Page 4 & 5


Picture: Richard Wright

Sickened landlord Richard … the fans who robbed him ‘have brought shame on decent football supporters’

Fear of the publicans invaded by rampaging Mersey mob



SHAKEN Sheffield publicans revealed yesterday how Liverpool soccer louts drank them dry before Saturday’s disaster.

The Mersey mob emptied two pubs and four supermarkets of beer.

And after a frightened landlady failed to find fresh stocks, a gang of teenaged thugs smashed up her bar.

Some Liverpool fans were seen quaffing cans of ale in a Sheffield car park at 8.30am. Others were hammering on pub doors at 10.15am.

By the time their marathon booze binge was over, hundreds were so incapable they were slow getting to the ground.

And their late, drunken arrival is believed to have contributed to the stampede which trampled and suffocated 95 people to death. Keith Ollerenshaw, manager of Sheffield’s Owl pub, was besieged by Liverpool and Nottingham Forest fans from 10.15am.

“There were about 300 of them waiting to come in. The Liverpool fans were the worst,” he said.

“All they seemed interested in was getting as much booze under their belt as possible.”

Mr. Ollerenshaw was left with nothing on his shelves but fruit juice and low alcohol lager.

“Some of them were drinking solidly for four hours,” he said. “Their attitude was the worst I have ever seen in a pub.


“There were loads of them who left in the minutes running up to the kick-off.

“There was no way they could have got into the ground on time.”

Liverpool fans also drank dry the Royal Hotel, one mile from the ground. And after landlady Shirley Sykes ran out of beer, her bar was wrecked.

Fans TORE pictures off the wall, HURLED glasses at each other and JUMPED up and down on the pool table. Mrs Sykes said:

“The police are being blamed for what happened on Saturday. But I want to put the record straight.

The fans could not get enough booze. They drunk four big supermarkets dry around here.

We had to send out for extra stocks of cans but we could not get any.

It was fine until about 2 o’clock when a dozen 18 and 19-year olds came in. They were swinging on light fittings, pulling them off the walls.

My pub looked like a battleground after they had finished. We eventually shut our doors.”

In the village of Birdwell, eight miles from the ground, fans travelling in a 53-seater coach stripped an off-licence’s shelves bare.

Manageress Gwen Glossop said: “When they left half of my stock had been taken.



OUTRAGED Liverpool fans yesterday slammed as “lies” the claims by police that they were attacked while reviving Hillsborough victims.

Angry fans swamped The Sun switchboard as they demanded proof that rescuers were punched, kicked and urinated on.

Sobbing Scouser Joseph Murray stormed: “I can’t believe these lies. It’s just the police trying to squirm out of it. They were pushing the fans back in and now they are trying to cover their backsides.”

David Williams, 23, from Liverpool, said he did not see anyone urinating over policemen, but added: “I did see people wet themselves from shock and fear.”

And he said: “There WERE people who had been drinking, but they were not drunk.”

But devoted Liverpool fan Charles Hollsworth, 43, said everything the police said was TRUE.

Charles , from St Helens, added: “I think the police need sticking up for.

“Everything that the police said did happen.”

POLICE chief Peter Wright yesterday DENIED there had been a cover-up.

The South Yorkshire chief constable added: “I can understand the fans’ anger. But many of the comments have distressed my men.”



The truth hurts

THE truth hurts. But that is no excuse to hide from it.

On Page One yesterday, we reported the unpalatable facts about the behaviour of SOME of the Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.

Many of those who stormed into the ground had been drinking. Some urinated on rescue workers trying to save dying youngsters. Others looted the pockets of the injured.

We did not invent that horrific report. The facts came from the police, an MP, local publicans and taxi drivers.

The people of Liverpool are angry that The Sun published the truth. Misguided local radio DJs urge listeners not to buy the paper.

Will that bring back the dead? Of course not.

But hopefully telling the world exactly what went on at Hillsborough will mean that something is done to prevent such a disaster happening again.

If the price to be paid is that some of you stop buying The Sun, then so be it.

You have a choice.

The 95 who died at Hillsborough had no such choice.

Saturday, April 22, 1989


Yesterday’s sale: 4,271,209

Thought: True devotion

p. 2



Movie given to judge


A FAN’s film of the Hillsborough death-crush clears Liverpool supporters of blame, it was claimed last night.

The colour film, shot by 22-year-old computer analyst Andrew Jones, shows fans struggling for life at the Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield ground.

The Liverpool Echo newspaper, which reproduced the film across six pages, claimed it showed “the real truth of the disaster.”

The paper said it was proof that a breakdown in crowd control and stewarding inside the stadium led to 95 deaths at Saturday’s Cup semi0final with Nottingham Forest.


The Echo says the film, with the ground’s digital clock clearly in view, shows that:

The film has been handed to the disaster inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor.

West Midlands police, who will gather evidence for the inquiry, revealed their investigation could take NINE MONTHS.

It will be the biggest disaster inquiry held in Britain, with 500 officers taking part.

The team will be based in Sheffield, Liverpool and Birmingham and will be linked by satellite.

A Freephone line will be installed to encourage fans to give statements.

West Midlands assistant chief constable Mervyn Jones said yesterday: “We want to interview anyone who has anything material to say.”

His officers will also study all TV films and pictures taken at match. [sic]

Meanwhile South Yorkshire Chief Constable Peter Wright accepted responsibility for his officers’ actions at Hillsborough.

He told his police committee: “Those officers were appointed by me and it follows that I accept full responsibility for the police action.”

Police made 43 arrests

THERE were 43 arrests at the Hillsborough disaster – 19 of them drink-related, it was revealed last night.

And 19 police officers were treated for injuries, Home Office minister Douglas Hogg said.

He told MPs the arrests were made inside and outside the ground.

One was for obstructing or assaulting the police and another for urinating in a public place.

A further ten fans were thrown out.

There were NO arrest for robbery, looting or pilfering.

Some emergency staff are being treated for stress as a result of the tragedy, said Mr Hogg.

Tuesday, April 25, 1989


Yesterday’s sale: 4,252,455

Thought: Who CAN you trust?


Yob fans attacked 999 men

Three ambulancemen were assaulted during the Hillsborough disaster, Home Office Minister John Patten revealed last night.

He told the Commons: “The chief ambulance officer reports that, so, three staff have reported an assault but that the debriefing of his staff is not yet complete.”

Mr Patten added that details of attacks on police officers had not been collated, and the fire brigade had reported no trouble.