The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry report is a document whose development was overseen by Lord Taylor of Gosforth, concerning the aftermath and causes of the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989, at which 95 Liverpool F.C. fans died (a 96th fan eventually died in 1993, having never regained consciousness). An interim report was published in August 1989, and the final report was published in January 1990. It sought to establish the causes of the tragedy, and make recommendations regarding the provision of safety at sporting events in future.
The Taylor Report found that the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control. It recommended that all major stadia convert to an all-seater model, and that all ticketed spectators should have seats, as opposed to some or all being obliged to stand. The Football League in England and the Scottish Football League introduced regulations that clubs in the highest divisions (top two divisions in the English system) must comply with this recommendation by August 1994.
The report stated that standing accommodation is not intrinsically unsafe, but the government decided that no standing accommodation was to be allowed at all.
Other recommendations of the Taylor Report included points on items such as the sale of alcohol within stadia, crush barriers, fences (as many Liverpool fans had been crushed to death against the perimeter fencing at Hillsborough), turnstiles, ticket prices and other stadium items.
As a result of the Taylor report, most clubs refurbished or rebuilt (partly and in some cases completely) stadia, while others built new stadia at different locations.
These changes resulted in a number of world-famous terraces being replaced by all-seater stands, two of the early examples being Manchester United's Stretford End and Arsenal's North Bank, which were both demolished in the summer of 1992. Two years later, Aston Villa's Holte End and Liverpool's Spion Kop were both demolished.
The 1990s saw the closure of some of the oldest football stadiums in England, including Middlesbrough's Ayresome Park and Sunderland's Roker Park, in favour of new sites which were more suitable for all-seater capacities that would have been practically impossible on the site of the existing grounds.
The clubs who remained at their existing homes inevitably saw a significantly reduced capacity, with attendances at matches being lower still while the conversion work was taking place, although the clubs who took part in the new FA Premier League from the 1992-93 season had the money from their BSkyB sponsorship to help fund their redevelopment work. A few clubs who made quick progress through the league during the 1990s were allowed to keep standing accommodation in the top two divisions after the end of the 1993-94 campaign. The most recent Premier League club to have standing accommodation were Fulham in 2001-02, as they had been a Division Three club just six seasons previously and had only reached Division One in 1999. Clubs to have had standing accommodation in Division One or the Championship (as it was renamed from 2004-05) since the mid 1990s include Reading, Stoke City, Oxford United, Gillingham and more recently Colchester United.
Bolton Wanderers had standing accommodation at Burnden Park right up to its closure at the end of the 1996-97 season, after which they relocated to the all-seater Reebok Stadium. This included a season in the Premier League and a total of three seasons in Division One.
Since 2001, a number of clubs who originally decided to modernise their existing stadiums have since taken the relocation option in order gain a higher capacity.
Southampton had converted The Dell into an all-seater stadium in the early 1990s as a short-term measure to comply with the Taylor Report, but a capacity of less than 16,000 was inadequate in the Premier League and the club's long-term aim was to build a new stadium at another site.
Leicester City had briefly considered relocation at the beginning of the 1990s but then decided to redevelop Filbert Street, building a new 9,500-seat stand there in 1993 and filling in the remaining standing areas. However, by 1998 relocation was back on the cards as an upturn in fortunes for the club saw demand for tickets consistently outstrip supply.
Arsenal had converted Highbury into an all-seater stadium with a capacity of nearly 39,000 in 1993, but within five years this was deemed inadequate and expansion of Highbury was considered, but local residents objected to any further development and the local council was not sympathetic. After a bid to take over Wembley Stadium failed, in 1999 the club turned its attention to a nearby site at Ashburton Grove, with the intention of building a 60,000-seat stadium there. The 60,000-seat stadium Emirates Stadium opened on this site for the 2006-07 season.
Manchester City had originally taken the option of redeveloping their existing stadium, Maine Road, which became all-seater in 1995 following redevelopment work which gave it a capacity of just under 35,000. There were plans for further redevelopment which would have taken the capacity to well over 40,000, but these were postponed following relegation from the Premier League in 1996, and by the end of the decade plans for further expansion at Maine Road were abandoned after the club agreed to become tenants at the new Eastlands site, where a new sports stadium was in the pipeline for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The club moved there at the start of the 2003-04 season after 80 years at Maine Road, which itself was the largest club stadium to be built in England during the interwar years.
Wimbledon, meanwhile, moved out of their Plough Lane stadium in 1991 to become tenants at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park, which was eventually redeveloped as an all-seater stadium. They remained tenants at Selhurst Park for 12 years, during which time various plans for a new stadium were reported, before relocating to Milton Keynes where they played at the National Hockey Stadium for four years (adopting the name Milton Keynes Dons in 2004) before moving into the Stadium mk in 2007.
Some clubs had started upgrading their stadia before this rule was introduced. For example, St Johnstone arranged for the construction of McDiarmid Park in the mid 1980s. The stadium opened in time for the 1989-90 season and was already being built when Hillsborough occurred.
Coventry City had made their Highfield Road stadium all-seater some years before the Hillsborough disaster, but within a few years had reintroduced standing accommodation as the all-seater format had proved unpopular with fans, and the club reverted to an all-seater capacity in the early 1990s following the Taylor Report. They left Highfield Road for the larger Ricoh Arena in 2005.
- "Lord Taylor's interim report on the Hillsborough stadium disaster" (PDF). Her Majesty's Stationery Office. August 1989. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Lord Taylor's final report on the Hillsborough stadium disaster" (PDF). Her Majesty's Stationery Office. January 1990. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "THE HILLSBOROUGH STADIUM DISASTER (INQUIRY BY THE RT HON LORD JUSTICE TAYLOR)" (PDF). 15 April 1989. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- ^ Taylor, Lord Justice (15 April 1989). "Hillsborough Stadium Disaster Inquiry – Interim Report" (– Scholar search). p. 49. Retrieved 22 January 2011
- Matt Slater (14 March 2007). "Call grows for return of terraces". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 May 2009.