Former winger Pat Nevin has recalled the tragic events of the Hillsborough disaster in an interview with evertontv.
This weekend, football will pause to remember the 96 Liverpool supporters who lost their lives on 15 April 1989.
It was a day of complete contrasting emotions for Nevin, who had fired Everton to a 1-0 victory over Norwich City in the other FA Cup semi-final of that black afternoon.
The joy of booking a date at Wembley quickly turned to despair when Nevin and his teammates returned to the Villa Park dressing rooms to discover the terrible situation in Sheffield.
And with Merseyside preparing for the 25th anniversary of the tragedy next Tuesday, Nevin still remembers how the city united as one in the aftermath of the worst disaster in the history of English football.
“There are so many things I remember about that day," he said. "It was probably the most important goal that I scored in my career, so it was arguably the happiest moment. And then, an hour later, it was clearly the worst moment.
“We were over there at Villa Park and we had beaten Norwich 1-0. I had scored the only goal and got us through to the final of the FA Cup. It was a beautiful sunny day and we played brilliantly. The fans were joyous and I thought to myself, ‘this is what I came into football for’. I walked off the pitch afterwards feeling like I was flying.
“Mike Ingham was there to interview me for the radio and he gave me the news straightaway. For an answer or two I couldn’t get my head around it. He asked me some questions about the game and the goal and then it really dawned on me. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to carry on with this, I don’t care’. Mike was the same, and so we walked out of the dressing room. We had just won the semi-final of the FA Cup and everyone was sat there in silence.
“Colin Harvey, our manager at the time, was someone I admired. I looked over at him and he was broken, absolutely devastated. He knew he had to be the for the players, but no-one could speak. We walked out afterwards and some of the Everton supporters hadn’t heard yet. Nobody had mobiles then and the news hadn’t come through.
“Then it sank in and horror was the word that came to me. Over the next number of days in the city, Evertonians and Liverpudlians felt a fuzz of not understanding. There was anger, grief – everything all stuck together. No-one knew how to react.
“I didn’t think the final should be played at the time. I felt there should have been a gap. But the families of the bereaved felt it should go ahead and everyone respected that. We gave Liverpool a great final and got beat 3-2.
“But a number of things from that time stick in my mind, particularly the funerals.
“Everton as a club were fabulous and behaved with such dignity. We as players went to as many funerals as we could and took it in turns because there were many each day. And to go to Anfield and see the carpet of flowers was incredibly moving.
“Liverpool as a city and a footballing place came together. But, in the end, you can’t think of anything more than the families who are still suffering to this day and always will suffer.”
Hear more of Nevin's recollections in the video above now^.
Everton supporters planning to attend the screening of the Hillsborough Memorial Service at Goodison Park next week can obtain tickets from the Club's box office and two city centre outlets.
The doors of the stadium will be opened on Tuesday 15 April, the 25th anniversary of the disaster, to allow supporters to watch the service from Anfield and pay their respects to the 96 Liverpool fans who tragically lost their lives.
Admission is free and tickets for the screening are available from the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton One opposite the stadium, Everton Two in Liverpool One and TicketQuarter in Queen Square.
In a display of continued support for the Hillsborough Family Support Group, the Everton first-team squad will be in attendance, along with Blues chairman Bill Kenwright. Manager Roberto Martinez will be among those speaking at Anfield.
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