“It was one of the lowest points of my life” – Hillsborough 25 years on.
Almost 25 years on, Bruce Grobellar pauses momentarily with a lump in his throat as he recalls fans pleading for their lives at the Hillsborough disaster back in 1989, a picture that still haunts him to this day.
The 15th of April 1989 – a day where all of the focus should have been on Liverpool’s march towards a fourth FA Cup triumph, but is instead overshadowed by the disastrous yet preventable scene of one football’s true tragedies.
The scene in which 96 Liverpool fans headed to their sides’ FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest and never returned home, with the repercussions of the Hillsborough tragedy still being felt almost 25 years later.
The Zimbabwean goalkeeper is visibly distraught as he looks back on one of the darkest days of his playing career.
“I remember looking behind my goal and hearing screams and cries for help, there were faces pushed up against the fence, fans climbing the stands, people being stood on, it was horrific.”
“It was around 90 seconds into the game, just after we had struck the crossbar, and then all of a sudden there was this surge.”
The former Reds goalkeeper spent 13 years on Merseyside between the sticks, but despite collecting a European Cup and six domestic league trebles, the horror of the Hillsborough disaster is a dark memory that Grobellar can’t shake to this day.
“It was one of the worst times of my life.
“We sat in the dressing room, it was completely numb, a fan had made his way to us [in the dressing room] and said that he had seen 10 bodies before Kenny Daglish ushered him away.
“On the way home from the game, we had to turn off the radio because every time we switched channels more bodies were being announced.”
As Bruce Grobellar pauses to take a breath, the legendary Liverpool goalkeeper still struggles to hold back his emotions as he prays for those 96 fans who lost their lives that day.
“Every year at this time, I think of that day. I think about them and I pray.”
Grobellar reveals how the collective pain of the city of Liverpool helped him process the magnitude of the situation, as him and his teammates spent time with the families effected by the disaster.
The 63 year old goalkeeper recalls Kenny Dalglish’s emphasis on counselling those effected.
“Sometimes you would have the door shut in your face, but you explain that you were just there to entertain the fans and then you’d be let in to talk.
“We have all suffered, and they will be remembered for life. Liverpool is a family city, with the most brilliant people. We will always remember the 96 who lost their lives”