The senior officer who stopped the fateful 1989 FA Cup semi-final tie said he felt under pressure from Sheffield Wednesday and police eight years earlier after he opened a perimeter gate due to an incident of overcrowding.
Superintendent Roger Greenwood ran on to the pitch to speak to the referee at the 1989 match, which was stopped just before 3.06pm.
Ninety-six Liverpool fans were crushed to death as the FA Cup semi final against Nottingham Forest began at the stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.
The inquests into the deaths heard Mr Greenwood, ground commander inside the stadium in 1989, was an inspector on duty at the 1981 FA Cup semi-final between Spurs and Wolves where a serious crushing incident took place shortly after the start of the game.
Mr Greenwood was responsible for the perimeter track area of the Leppings Lane end at that match and reacted when he witnessed overcrowding.
“The crowd at the front of the terracing was compacted – I can still see the image of a girl today, and they were under some pressure at that stage. The pressure was coming from the back and that was motion from the back.”
The inquests have previously heard the 10,100 capacity at the terrace was exceeded by more than 400 at the match.
Asked by counsel for the inquests, Jonathan Hough QC, how he responded, he said he opened a perimeter gate after he failed to get a message through to the police control box, which relieved the overcrowding.
A number of people were injured as a result and needed hospital treatment.
Hillsborough was not awarded another FA Cup semi-final until 1987, which Mr Greenwood alluded to when he said: “In 1981 the relationship was, well, certainly quite strained after I had opened the gate, between the club and the police.”
When later questioned as to whether he had a plan in 1989 if pens on the terraces became full, he said: “I would do what I did in 1981 and open those gates, but I have to say the pressure that was exerted on myself in 1981 as a result of doing so, both from the police and more then from the club, puts a lot of pressure on people in terms of opening those gates, because you can’t stop the tap, the flow keeps coming.”
He said he attended a briefing at Hillsborough by match commander Superintendent David Duckenfield on the morning of the 1989 match.
Mr Hough said: “The jury have heard some evidence about dealing with the circumstances in which the kick-off would be delayed, and him saying that would not be allowed to happen on his watch, is that something you can recall him saying?”
Mr Greenwood said: “No, I don’t remember that at all.”