May 29

Scenes shortly after the Heysel Stadium collapse in 1985.

On this day in 1985, 39 people lost their lives in what would become known as the ‘Heysel Stadium Disaster’.

Heysel Stadium, in Brussels, Belgium, was the location for the European Cup Winners Cup Final between defending champions, Liverpool and challengers, Italian side, Juventus.

An hour before kick-off, a surge of Liverpool fans breeched a security gate surrounding the ‘neutral area’ of the ground. Having backed off, they ran into a brick wall, which eventually collapses crushing those who couldn’t escape – over 600 were injured alongside those who lost their lives.

Remarkably, the decision to let the game go ahead was made, with further rioting feared, had the game been called off.

Juventus would eventually lift the cup following a 1-0 victory.

After the event, and subsequent inquiry, a European competitions ban was passed down to all English football clubs for five years (with Liverpool handed a six-year ban).

Our thoughts go out to the families of those affected on this day 29 years ago.

Other events throughout history On This Day:

  • Peter II becomes the czar of Russia. (1727)
  • Bing Crosby records ‘White Christmas’ – the best selling Christmas single in history. (1942)
  • Bobby Charlton scores twice to help Manchester United become the first English winners of the European Cup. (1968)
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