Home » ARTICLES » I was there in 81…

I was there in 81…

Help the blog by Following us on Twitter and Google News

I was 15-years-old at the time and went to the game with my Mum, Aunt and Uncle and younger cousin. We met other people in the ground, who we stood with in the old enclosure in front of the west stand.

We arrived at the ground early and made our way to the Leppings Lane turnstiles. I was aware of lots of ticketless fans all trying to get a ticket or a way in.

We went into the ground as early as possible and went to the right hand side of the terrace. It is only since reading the report that I have read that there were no pens in the ground back in those days. This does explain why the crush made its way around to our section and wasn’t just in the middle as it was in 89.

Don’t forget that in those days we stood every week and fans were used to big congested crowds. This was a bit different and it soon became obvious that everything wasn’t right.

The men in our party were trying to protect us by stretching their arms and holding the fence to try and make a barrier to stop the crush.

When things got very bad, I climbed over the fence with my young cousin. I remember the little spikes that protrude at the top of the fences, catching on my clothes.

My main concern was my mum. I was screaming at a copper to get her out. In all honesty, I now realise that there wasn’t much he could do.

There was a lot of panic and more people climbing the fences.

Things did start to calm down and then we were told that we were being put into the Wolves end. As we were being escorted up there, I seem to remember that there was some trouble with the first group of Spurs that were there and that idea was quickly aborted.

I ended up sitting along the hoarding in front of my mum and the others for the rest of the game.

I remember at half time Gary Brooke and Mark Falco coming around the fans to see if we were ok.

It was the worst experience I have ever had in a football ground and I was shocked that there wasn’t more in the press and on TV about it. Perhaps if there had of been, more would and could have been done.

A few nights later, we had a memorable night at Highbury, where the support and team were amazing, romping to a 3-0 win over Wolves in the replay with some wonderful football and goals.

Moving forward eight years; I stood on the terrace at Plough Lane watching Spurs play Wimbledon. The news started filtering through that there was a pitch invasion at Hillsborough and the Liverpool fans were responsible.

This news quickly changed to the real story and that there might be some people dead. There was a strange atmosphere all afternoon as the news came through that there were two dead then four then seven.  I think we won that day, but it wasn’t really important.

I think I, along with other fans there in 81, have always felt closer to the Hillsborough disaster than other clubs fans, due to our experience against Wolves that day.

The people have the truth and now they must get the justice.

The main players must face the harshest penalties that the law allows.

As a football fan from the 80’s, the treatment that we had to suffer in sub-standard grounds was shameful and I personally would never want to return to a terrace. I am more than happy sitting with my 13-year-old daughter in our season ticket seats in the upper north stand.


Click here to follow Adam Lloyd on Twitter

Click here to follow To the Lane and Back on Twitter

3 thoughts on “I was there in 81…”

  1. Yes, exactly, I was there to and I also was 15 years old at the time. I too can remember pleading with the police to open the gates and eventually they did. It got really bad in there at that time and was obviously an accident waiting to happen.
    I remember looking over at the Wolves end and wondering why the Spurs fans were not allocated that end. It was shocking organisation. I too was led on to the side of the pitch where I proceeded to watch the rest of the game. Clearly saw how Kenny Hibbett cheated his way to a last minute pen. Clive 'the book' Thomas ordered a spot kick from a supposed Hoddle foul. We got our revenge a Highbury though. That was some night!!! coys

  2. As a twenty year old in '81, I used to enjoy the hurly burly of the terrace and thoroughly enjoyed myself at the Highbury and Wemblley replays, but thankfully never had an experience like yours – I still think terraces have a place with properly designed safety barriers, but not with those fences !!

  3. I was there as a 21 year old, in the Leppings Lane end and made my way round to the left hand corner, where I managed to climb up on a handrail where I could feel my legs getting crushed by the crowd, I was lucky but I could see what was happening. Than was the warning for things to come but they did not learn lessons from that day..

Leave a Comment

Subscribe and bring the lane to your mail!

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp