Because of the years that have passed few people are aware that there was a 'near-miss' disaster at Hillsborough eight years before the actual disaster. The circumstances were essentially identical - an FA Cup Semi Final with far too many supporters let in to the Leppings Lane stand leading to a massive crush. Because of the quick thinking of a steward who was able to open a gate onto the pitch nobody died on that occasion (although there were many injuries). I know this because I was present at that earlier near disaster and I was, in fact, Secretary of the Sheffield Spurs Supporters Club. At the time I wrote to the FA and South Yorkshire police as I felt mistakes had been made, and indeed the incident was sufficiently serious that Hillsborough (which had been used every year as one of the two semi-final venues) was avoided until 1988 (the year before the disaster). Immediately after the disaster in 1989 I wrote to the FA and Lord Taylor (who led the original enquiry) to inform them of the events of 1981. Although I was interviewed at that time by the Police investigators, my evidence was never used.
In 2014 - out of the blue - I was asked to attend the new Hillsborough Inquest as it had been decided that the 1981 incident was an important piece of the story. Here are a couple of links to media reports about my appearance: