Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has described the ‘mayhem’ of the unfolding Hillsborough disaster as he appeared at the inquests into the deaths of 96 fans.
He said players and staff had not known why the game was stopped off shortly after kick-off at the FA Cup semi-final match on April 15, 1989.
He said: “We weren’t told what the cause was. But we knew that it wasn’t people fighting or hooliganism. There was speculation about that people had died.
“The place was just mayhem. Nobody really knew what was going on. So there’s stories coming from every angle.”
Mr Dalglish, who was manager of Liverpool at the time, gave his evidence while wearing a red and white striped tie and a ‘96’ badge.
The teams were sent back to their dressing rooms and Mr Dalglish later went back on the pitch to check if his 12-year-old son, who was in the crowd, was ok.
Just before 4pm, Mr Dalglish was asked to make an announcement to the crowd along with Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough. He made a call for calm and then went to the players’ lounge where he was told the game had been called off.
He added that from the police control room it was possible to see ‘most parts of the ground’.
Mr Dalglish said: “We then went from there on the team bus and home and I don’t think there was hardly a word spoken amongst anybody.”
He said there was ‘no way’ he would have objected to a suggestion that kick-off should be delayed. The inquests heard earlier this week that a PC had asked the police control room to consider delaying kick-off due to a growing crush of supporters outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles - but the request was turned down on the grounds one team was already on the pitch.
Mr Dalglish said he would not have hesitated to agreeing to a kick-off delay.
He was questioned by John Beggs QC, who represents the retired Hillsborough match commanders, and was asked if he agreed whether late or drunk fans contributed to the Hillsborough disaster.
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring told the hearing Mr Dalglish ‘couldn’t possibly answer such questions’. The Hillsborough inquests were adjourned until January 5.