A captain speaks

The Observer Sports Monthly interviews a number of those who were at the Heysel stadium 20 years ago.

Here is the opening section of Jamie Jackson’s interview with former England international and former England coach Phil Neal who was captain of Liverpool on that night when 39 Juventus fans died.

I’d rather forget that night. It was an ordeal. But, Jamie, why should I help you out? I’m helping you pay your mortgage [by talking to you about Heysel]. When people ask me for my view, they usually have to pay for it. You’re asking for my help for nothing. To pay your mortgage, Jamie. I mean, what do you want from me?

I just thought that as the captain of Liverpool football club on that night at Heysel it would be good to hear your view?

Yes but what do you want from me? If I talk to you for a few minutes, then I’m helping you pay your mortgage and what am I getting in return? Do you know what I mean?

Well, I have been to Italy and talked with some of the families of the victims and they say that the trophy should be given back by Juventus to commemorate what happened.

About Juventus? Why are you asking me? Why are you asking someone on the Liverpool side? Juventus made amends very soon. Ask them … Jamie I’m helping you pay your mortgage. People who want my views pay.

I’m sorry, but everyone else I have spoken to has …

Great. So you’ve spoken to people, you’ve got your views. You’ve got your Liverpool view, but if you want mine for free, well people pay for them.

Neal eventually gives OSM his memories of that night.