LFC Hillsborough tribute coat



This coat was one of thousands of special tributes left at Anfield following the Hillsborough disaster, 15 April 1989. John Collins, from Norris Green, laid it in as a very personal mark of respect, which we recently discovered. John originally acquired the coat in 1981 when he worked at Jacobs Biscuits, Long Lane, aged 23. His mate, Kenny, got the supervisor’s coat for him to decorate and wear at the upcoming European Cup final against Real Madrid, 27 May, in Paris. John personalised the coat, starting with the Liver Bird on the back. He then asked his friend from school days, Robbie Savage (who was on Liverpool’s books at the time) to take it in to Melwood, LFC’s training ground to get the players to sign it. His mum, sister and then-wife pitched in to help embroider it. He went to the final in Paris with three work mates from Jacobs. It took them four long days to get there. After the 1-0 win he arrived back in Liverpool still wearing the coat. Eight years later, and still a massive Red, John went to the fateful semi-final match at Hillsborough, 15 April 1989. He travelled to Sheffield with four mates. He was in the Leppings Lane end with his friend Keith Jones. They surged along with the crowd as usual, but were soon aware that something was terribly wrong. They managed to make their way into the corner of the pen away from the worst affected areas and later helped to carry the injured. Soon after he returned home he took his treasured coat from his bedroom, went to Anfield, which had been opened for a week to allow people to grieve, and left it on the Kop. He went on to work at Anfield that week, and then became a steward in the moat in front of the Kop for five years. The coat, along with other item such as scarves, pennants and hats, were very kindly given to the Museum by the LFC Supporters Club to help commemorate the tragedy. In 2020 we launched an appeal to try to find out the personal story behind the coat and thankfully John came forward to share it. Special thanks to John and the LFC Supporters Club #JFT96