Liverpool were to play Italian side Juventus as defending champions in the 1985 European Cup final, a year on from defeating AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico to lift the trophy for the fourth time in the club’s history.
UEFA had designated a section of the stadium for Liverpool fans which was near a ‘neutral’ zone, called Section Z, for supporters who had no allegiances and wanted to watch the game. Many Italian fans had bought tickets in Section Z and tensions started to rise between the two sets of fans. Missiles were hurled over to the Liverpool end and in response several Liverpool fans rushed towards the ‘neutral’ zone.
The fans in the ‘neutral’ zone fled towards a wall which was on the opposite end of the section and due to the mounting pressure collapsed and tragically killed 39 supporters.
Violence erupted and Liverpool captain Phil Neal made an announcement for calm. Eventually the game was started and Juventus went on to win the trophy through a second half penalty.
English clubs were banned from playing in Europe as a result for five years, with Liverpool facing an extra two years.
There has been no inquest into the Heysel Stadium disaster from UEFA, especially since there were huge concerns about the stadiums capability to hold such an event. Indeed, the decision to have rival supporters side by side separated only by ‘chicken wire’ fencing was questioned before the match took place.
Since Heysel the two clubs have made attempts to build bridges. In 2005, when Liverpool met Juventus in the European Cup quarter final, the Kop held up a mosaic stating ‘Amicizia’- ‘Friendship’ to the travelling Juventus support.
There is also a plaque on the Centenary Stand at Anfield to commemorate the tragedy.
The Asian Kop will never forget the 39 fans who lost their lives at Heysel.
In Memoria e Amicizia
Sergio Bastino Mazzino
Luciano Rocco Papaluca
Jean Michel Walla