A SUNDERLAND fanzine editor has today told how he is haunted by the horrific scenes he witnessed at Hillsborough, on the 25th anniversary of the stadium disaster.
Martyn McFadden, who founded SAFC fanzine A Love Supreme, was supposed to be watching the Black Cats play away to Oldham on April 15, 1989.
He agreed to drop off some friends who were going to the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, at the Sheffield stadium on the way.
However his pals got him a ticket for the momentous match, the scene of the most devastating stadium disaster in English football history, which saw 96 fans crushed to death.
Martyn said: “It’s hard for me to think about without getting emotional. Luckily we all got out of it alive. We saw people dying.
“I was going to watch Sunderland play Oldham away. And just as I was leaving, my friends said their car wouldn’t start so would I drop them off in Sheffield.
“I took them to Hillsborough and they got me a ticket, and I ended up experiencing the Hillsborough disaster.”
The semi-final clash was stopped six minutes into the game after fans spilled out of the Leppings Lane End and on to the pitch.
The stand was only accessible by only a few turnstiles, which caused overcrowding as fans tried to get inside.
To ease pressure, chief superintendant David Duckenfield, ordered an exit gate to be opened, which led directly to two overcrowded enclosures. The extra bodies trying to get into the pens caused crushing and moments after kick-off, a barrier broke and fans began to fall on top of each other.
An inquiry into the disaster in 1990 – the Taylor Report – reported that the main reason was the failure of police control.
The findings resulted in the removal of standing terraces at major football stadiums in England, Wales and Scotland.
On the 20th anniversary of Hillsborough, government minister Andy Burnham called for documents that had not been made available to Lord Justice Taylor in 1989 to be released.
On December 19, 2012, a new inquest was granted after the high court quashed the original, following a long campaign by bereaved families.
The new inquests are underway.
Martyn said witnessing the tragedy made him realise the importance which fan publications have.
He said: “I saw how it was reported in the national media and it made me realise what role fanzines have in reporting the truth. It made me realise that importance of fans who produce literature. It was a bit of an awakening for me.”
A Love Supreme also celebrates its 25th anniversary today.
Martyn added: “It’s poignant that the magazine is coming out the same weekend as Hillsborough.”
FOOTBALL clubs around the UK will unite to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster this weekend.
As a mark of respect, all Premier League, Football League, Football Conference and FA Cup matches taking place will kick off seven minutes later than scheduled.
Sunderland’s match against Everton, which was due to kick off at 3pm today, will now start at 3.07pm.
The minute before it begins will see a period of silence observed at the Stadium of Light and across all grounds.
Players from both clubs will also wear black armbands.
Sunderland and Everton supporters are asked to take their seats early.