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MON, 7:30PM ET

‘Hillsborough’ Documentary, Live On ESPN At 8pm ET Tonight: Open Thread

hillsborough stadium 600x337 Hillsborough Documentary, Live On ESPN At 8pm ET Tonight: Open Thread

TV viewers in the United States will have a rare opportunity tonight to watch a stunning new documentary about the true story of what happened at the Hillsborough Disaster. Be sure to watch what I consider the most important soccer film ever made, live on ESPN tonight beginning at 8pm ET.

The public in the UK won’t get a chance to see the film until next year at the earliest due to the new inquest that began two weeks ago. Once the inquest is over, the BBC will schedule a time and date for the film to air.

Read: Our review of the Hillsborough documentary.

Before, during or after tonight’s film, feel free to post questions, comments or your observations regarding the film or the Hillsborough Disaster itself.

Listen: An interview with ‘Hillsborough’ director Dan Gordon.

As a resource, we’ve provided the following links that contain more insight regarding the Hillsborough Disaster that occurred on Saturday, April 15, 1989.

Watch the Hillsborough episode of Panorama entitled How They Buried The Truth,
Watch ‘Hillsborough: Never Forgotten,’ the full-length TV documentary,
Watch ‘Hillsborough: Searching for the Truth’ documentary,
The truth about the Hillsborough Disaster,
How one US newspaper reported the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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30 Responses to ‘Hillsborough’ Documentary, Live On ESPN At 8pm ET Tonight: Open Thread

  1. Paul says:

    I’ve got myself set up to watch ESPN US. Pulling a late one seeing as it’s 12.45am here.

    Been a very emotional day today. Was lucky enough to attend the service this afternoon and as ever, it was superbly done. You don’t get just how much this city unites as one until the 15th April comes around. Roberto Martinez (and Everton generally) were utter class. Rodgers was class. All we need now is for the boys to bring the title home and really mark the 25th anniversary in style.

  2. Steph K says:

    The live footage that they are showing is really scary. So far this is very good, very emotional.

    • Christopher Harris says:

      A lot of the live footage has never been shown in film or TV before. Some of it is hard to watch, but it gives you an idea of how much of a hell it was in those pens.

      • Steph K says:

        The moment when the police officer realized that there were fences preventing the people from escaping was particularly chilling.

  3. Paul says:

    I’ve seen countless documentaries and photos of this over the years but I’ve never seen some of these clips before. This is one of the hardest hitting things I’ve ever watched and at this moment I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the end without shedding a few tears!

    Hopefully those who don’t know too much about that day will now realise why we have always been so adamant in this city that the 96 will never walk alone.

    • goisles01 says:

      and the cynics will stop saying that Liverpool Football Club and football club supporters keeps bringing up Hillsborough every year to help their brand

  4. Smokey Bacon says:

    Haunting, powerful stuff. Very tough to watch. Gaffer your description of this documentary is right on the mark.

  5. Mufc77 says:

    Absolutely heartbreaking images bring shown. I remember watching it all unfold back in 1989. Once again ESPN has knocked it out of the park with the 30for 30 series.


  6. Philswin8 says:

    I posted this on the thread about the interview with the director but I thought I’d post it here as well: For those of you interested in a different type of film about the disaster there’s a fantastic British docudrama from the 90′s staring future Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston as grieved dad Trevor Hicks. I believe it’s still available on YouTube. Sorry for the repeat post but it’s a great,well made and little seen in America docudrama.

  7. goisles01 says:

    The fact that South Yorkshire Police were interviewed for this film makes it unique to me. That classless comment by that Labour party justice for the “Scrutiny of Evidence” was appalling.

  8. Bo says:

    I got to say, that was just amazing. Watched it with some people that don’t even watch soccer and they were crying and very much enjoyed it. I never knew the complete story myself and now I see more. Thanks for the reminder that they were showing this.

  9. David says:

    Hats off to ESPN for delivering another excellent 30 for 30 series documentary. I’m looking forward to the next 30 for 30 about Maradona.

  10. goisles01 says:

    I can’t help but feel an underlying factor to this whole thing was the hooligan culture that was present in England at the time. After Heysel, English supporters, and especially Liverpool supporters, were looked at broadly as troublemakers and unruly. It was this stereotype that made the police on site cynical as to what was happening at first and gave the police administration an excuse and an out to weave a story that nobody would think to ask questions about and accept as truth.

    • CH says:

      I agree 100% my sis asked me why there were fences around the stadium and i had to explain the culture of the some fans from this era. I dont believe that the producer did enough to explain this. Before i watched the film i was convinced that Heysel would be brought up, because you can understand why the average UK citizen would believe the sun’s “truth” after those events. Obviously the Liverpool fans didnt cause this and were mistreated but there was a reason why they became an easy target.

  11. Brn442 says:

    Fair enough gois but the wholesale Soviet style editing and re-writing of those police statements, to shoehorn this false “hooligan” narrative into fact, was both immoral and criminal.

    Credit to the tenacity of Mrs. Aspinall, the other victims’ families, and Mr. Scraton, in getting to the truth, against the incompetence, cover up, and inertia of individuals and institutions vested in doing the exact opposite.

    • goisles01 says:

      No doubt. Totally agree. A coverup of the highest order. The South Yorkshire Police department come off like the LAPD of the 90′s and the NYPD of the 70′s

  12. IanCransonsKnees says:

    And in all honesty they still believe they can behave with the impunity they did at Hillsborough to this day:

    Attitudes remain very similar towards the average match going supporter.

  13. goisles01 says:

    Here is the link for the actual published report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel in pdf form.

  14. Paul says:

    Obviously it was extremely hard hitting from start to finish but one of the things I really picked up on was when Phil Scraton described how the city of Liverpool was viewed over the Hillsborough aftermath and the unsuccessful fight for justice – ‘self pity city’. The rest of the country were effectively tired of hearing all about it, they thought we should all just get over it, be quiet etc. Those families didn’t once give up though – especially Margaret Aspinall, Trevor Hicks and the late Anne Williams – they became the face of the campaign.

    Sadly Anne lost her battle with cancer last year and will never see it through to the end but at least she was there for the Independent Panel findings and got some peace for her son Kevin.

    Also, the not scheduling a match on April 15th thing. It sickened me a while back when a handful of uneducated Chelsea supporters were labelling Liverpool ridiculous for not playing on the 15th because it meant they had less rest in between their match with Barcelona in the Champions League. Hopefully now this will be another eye opener for those people as to why the club don’t play on that date. It’s not to wallow in self pity, it’s purely to give those families a day of backing and to let them know that their fight hasn’t been fruitless. For as long as the memorial service is what the families of the 96 want to do (they organise it all themselves and the club just helps them out etc) then I hope Liverpool FC continue to grant their wishes because it’s the least they deserve after the establishment in this country has been so cruel to them over the initial 20-odd years.

  15. Clampdown says:

    That was very tough to watch. I have so much admiration for those families who pressed on despite the obstacles, and so much disgust for those involved in the cover up and campaign of disinformation.

    I hope that US soccer fans were able to watch it and gain a better understanding of its importance.

    It could have been any clubs’ supporters that were led into those pens.

    • Paul says:

      Oh absolutely. The FA knew about it but never acted on it. There are at least 3 other times it could have easily happened – Man Utd in 1957, Spurs in 1981 and Leeds in 1987. The signs were there and not only did nobody act on it but they carried on putting the team with the bigger fan base in the smaller end of the ground.

  16. StellaWasAlwaysDown says:

    Tough watch indeed. I knew of it, but hadn’t really watched/read anything on it before. Tragic. It’s amazing that 25 years later they are still creating inquiries into the disaster.

  17. Rick says:

    Well done ESPN- very emotional and in depth. Looking forward to the other ESPN Soccer 30 for 30 stories.

  18. NC says:

    What do you guys think would have happened with David Duckenfield if he had come out immediately afterward and admitted fault with mismanaging the crowds outside the turnstiles and not having the necessary experience to manage the crowd? If the cover up never happens and the people in charge admit to poor decision making, poor planning, and lack of experience it seems we’re not talking about a criminal case, rather a situation where a man loses his job

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