Hillsborough Stadium is a football stadium in Sheffield, England. Sheffield Wednesday has been playing their home games there since it opened in 1899.
Over the years, they’ve made changes to the stadium. They added new stands on both sides and rebuilt the South Stand for the UEFA Euro 1996 tournament. There are two big two-level stands and two big one-level stands, and all of them have a roof. These stands can hold about the same number of people, but the South Stand is the biggest, and the West Stand, where away fans usually sit, is the smallest.
In 1989, something very sad happened at the stadium. During an FA Cup semi-final football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, 97 Liverpool fans were crushed to death. This event led to the Taylor Report, which made the stadium and other big football stadiums in England safer. They had to make all-seater stadiums and remove the fences around the pitch. Those fences had only been put up a few years before the disaster.
The club wanted to make the stadium better and have more seats, so Sheffield City Council agreed to their plans to increase the capacity to 44,825. They hope to host World Cup football games there. They also improved the playing field in 2015 and got a new scoreboard before the 2015-16 football season. The stadium was used for World Cup and European Championship football matches in the past.
Right now, the stadium can’t hold as many people as it used to because of safety reasons. But they are working to fix that and get back to its full football capacity.
In the 1898-99 season, Sheffield Wednesday received notice that the land they were renting at Olive Grove would be required for railway expansion. They were permitted to stay there for the remainder of that season, but they needed to secure a new venue for the following season. They explored several potential locations, but these options didn’t work out for various reasons. The Midland Railway Company proposed an alternative, but it didn’t meet the club’s needs.
The biggest crowd ever at Hillsborough Stadium happened during the FA Cup fifth round on February 17, 1934. A massive 72,841 people came to watch a match between Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Since they made the stadium all-seater in 1993, the largest attendance recorded was for a Premier League game against Manchester United on February 2, 2000. There were 39,640 fans in the stands to watch that match.
On April 15, 1989, a tragic event occurred at the stadium that marked the darkest moment in English sports history. It happened during an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, where 97 Liverpool fans lost their lives due to crushing. Official investigations found fault with Sheffield Wednesday for not taking action based on previous incidents, especially the 1981 FA Cup semi-final, which had already shown the potential for such dangerous overcrowding at Hillsborough.
The part of the stadium known as the Leppings Lane end didn’t have a valid safety certificate and had not been updated since 1979. Just outside the stadium, near the main entrance on Parkside Road, a memorial was erected to honor the 96 fans who tragically lost their lives during the 1989 FA Cup Semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. This memorial was unveiled on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, on April 15, 1999. The inscription on the memorial reads: “In memory of the 96 men, women, and children who tragically died and the countless people whose lives were changed forever. FA Cup semi-final Liverpool v Nottingham Forest. 15 April 1989. ‘You’ll never walk alone.'”
The memorial sustained minor damage during the Hillsborough Flood, but it was quickly and easily repaired.
In 1996, Hillsborough Stadium was used for some matches during the Euro 96 competition. One special thing was that the Danish team played there. The Danish fans became very popular among the local people because they supported their team with a lot of passion and acted very well. They were so well-liked that some pubs in Sheffield had to quickly get more beer and cigarettes because the Danish fans were such good customers.
In the summer of 2009, Sheffield Wednesday revealed their intentions to invest £22 million in upgrading the stadium. They aimed to increase the seating capacity from 39,732 to 44,825 without any obstructions for viewers. Their goal was to finish these improvements by 2013, which would make the stadium meet FIFA standards for hosting World Cup matches.