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Wednesday, April 15

this day in sporting history...

While most of America spends the day thinking about taxes, in England, the sporting world is mourning the 20th anniversary of the worst sporting disaster in British history, an event not many in the US will know of, but throughout the football (soccer) world, today is known as "The Day Football Died"...

On April 15th, 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death prior to the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest. To this day, no-one has taken responsibility for these deaths, even though it was the police who ultimately caused the disaster.
As a result of the Hillsborough (the name of the ground) disaster, there are now only seats at all stadiums in the UK, where previously the terraces were for standing, and the cost of going to a game for the average man in the street jumped about 300%. If you'd like a US sporting equivalent, imagine them doing away with bleacher seats in baseball stadiums, and replacing them with box seats at box seat prices.

On today's 20th anniversary, I still remember watching them pulling blue faced bodies over the top of barricades, whilst people behind them screamed for help...and all live on national television. The thoughts of what I saw still bring goosebumps to this day.
Over 30,000 people attended a memorial service at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium today, and the whole city was silent at 3:06 PM as bells tolled 96 times in honor of those who died. A great piece on how a whole city was effected can be found here.

While today is a true day to rejoice in American sports, in England today is known as one of the saddest days on record.

On any other day, Liverpool fans are not some of my favorites, having been chased by them on more than one occasion(!), but today, along with many other fans around the world, we all stand shoulder to shoulder...You'll Never Walk Alone.

For more insight, see this great article on the BBC...or this one from The Guardian.

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