HILLSBOROUGH DISASTER: Dalglish: I went to four funerals in one day

KENNY Dalglish would never be the same after his Hillsborough experiences, and Liverpool as a club have never been as successful since the horrors of Sheffield.

Dalglish, the Anfield manager that day, was thrust into a shocking day and the terrible aftermath for which nobody would be equipped to cope. He was the focal point of the club, the man who knew he had responsibilities to undertake in the days and months that followed.

And it took its toll. It was 21 months after Hillsborough that Dalglish walked away from the club.

He wrote after the disaster: "I don't know how many funerals I went to. Marina and I went to four in one day. We got a police escort between them."

His daughter Kelly, then a teenager and now a TV journalist, said after her dad quit Liverpool: "He only told my mum the night before, he just couldn't go on doing the job. All the emotion and stress of Hillsborough, all the weight of responsibility he felt, had taken its toll. Hillsborough was devastating."

n Gordon Brown has spoken of the memory etched in his mind of "heroic" Liverpool FC fans helping to save lives.

The Prime Minister said Liverpool fans were "so respected throughout the country" for their actions on 15 April 1989.

He said: "People will never forget that day; it's etched on our memories. I remember how the Liverpool fans helped each other, coming to the aid of people who were in difficulty and trying to rescue fellow fans - both young and old.

"I don't think we can ever forget the 96 people who died.

"Families, in trying to cope with this disaster, have had the support of all decent minded people across the country.

"That's probably what matters most - that people understood that the behaviour of Liverpool fans in helping each other was magnificent.

"That it was wrong for people to blame, as some did, Liverpool fans on that day. "

n Former Liverpool defender Gary Ablett went to 11 funerals in two weeks in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster. Several of his colleagues attended many more.

Ablett, now 43 and Liverpool's reserve team manager, said: "The major points stick in your mind. I went to 11 funerals in two weeks.

"You got asked to read and sometimes it was very difficult when you were looking up and there were people breaking down on the front row."

n Liverpool and England ace Steven Gerrard has revealed the cousin who lost his life at Hillsborough inspires him to play.

Gerrard's 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest victim claimed by the disaster.

The midfielder said: "We hadn't known Jon-Paul was at the game. He went to Anfield all the time, but an FA Cup semi-final was a treat. They set off from Liverpool that morning, buzzing with excitement, but Jon-Paul never returned.

"Hillsborough must never be allowed to happen again. No-one should lose a life or a relative at a football match. Every time I see Jon-Paul's name cut into the cold marble outside the Shankly Gates, I fill with sadness and anger. I play for Jon-Paul."


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