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Margaret Thatcher's death has already sparked an outpouring of praise and vitriol, while for football followers she is synonymous with the Hillsborough disaster and the ill-treatment of supporters in the 1980s. Hooliganism was rife, but the draconian measures Thatcher's government took are arguably responsible for the terrible treatment of fans in safer stadiums and well-policed environments.

margaret thatcher

A satirical cartoon on Thatcher and Hillsborough

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  • Emlyn Hughes, Margaret Thatcher and Bob Paisley, 1976..

    UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 03: Paisley�s (1919-1996) reign as manager of Liverpool FC (1974-1983) was the most successful in British football history, winning three European cups, six league championships, three league cups and the UEFA Cup, seen here with the First Division (Premiership) Cup. Hughes (b 1947) was captain of the team. Margaret Thatcher (b 1925) was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, and in 1979 became Britain's first female prime minister. After three general election victories in November 1990 she was forced out of office by her own party, and in 1992 she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

  • Politics - Margaret Thatcher Opening David Lloyd Tennis Centre - London

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher takes to a tennis court shoeless and a delivers a forehand when she opened David Lloyd's 4.5 million tennis and fitness centre, which has 12 courts, in London.

  • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis survey the debris of Bradford City's main stand at Valley Parade, where 56 people died and 265 were injured as a fire swept the packed stand just before half-time of the game against Lincoln City.

  • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, watched by her husband Denis, lays a wreath among the hundreds of other floral tributes near the turn stile area of the Bradford City football ground, Yorkshire, where many of the 52 victims of the tragedy were found.

  • Margaret Thatcher at Bradford Football Club, Yorkshire, February 1987.

    UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 06: �Mrs Thatcher tries out the seats in the new stand at Bradford FC�. Margaret Hilda Thatcher (b 1925) studied chemistry at Oxford University, and worked as a research chemist before becoming a barrister in 1954. She began her parliamentary career in 1961. In 1970 she was made Secretary of State for Education and Science, and in 1974, Opposition Front-bench Spokesperson. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, and in 1979 became Britain's first female prime minister (1979-1990). In 1992 she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

  • Margaret Thatcher with the Bradford football team, February 1987.

    UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 06: �Mrs Thatcher poses for a team picture with Bradford FC during her visit to the club�. Margaret Hilda Thatcher (b 1925) studied chemistry at Oxford University, and worked as a research chemist before becoming a barrister in 1954. She began her parliamentary career in 1961. In 1970 she was made Secretary of State for Education and Science, and in 1974, Opposition Front-bench Spokesperson. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, and in 1979 became Britain's first female prime minister (1979-1990). In 1992 she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

  • Emlyn Hughes

    Emlyn Hughes and Kevin Keegan, members of the England Football Squad enjoying a joke with Mrs Margaret Thatcher outside No 10 Downing Street. Original Publication: People Disc - HG0010 (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

  • England's Kevin Keegan (l) and Emlyn Hughes (r) share a joke with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (c), watched by teammates Terry McDermott (second l) and Phil Thompson (second r) as they leave the reception at 10 Downing Street

  • Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside Downing Street with a football autographed by the England soccer squad for the European Championship which will be raffled in aid of the NSPCC.

  • Hillsborough Disaster - Nottingham Forest v Liverpool - F.A. Cup

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visiting the site of the Hillsborough disaster in which ninety five Liverpool supporters were crushed to death in the FA Cup semi-final speaking with Chief Constable Peter Wright

  • Soccer - Hillsborough Disaster - Aftermath - Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with officials, police and ministers walking past the fateful stand at Hillsborough.

  • Soccer - Hillsborough Disaster - Aftermath - Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher inspects the gate at Hillsborough.

  • Hillsborough Disaster - Margaret Thatcher Visit - Northern General Hospital - Sheffield

    The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the bedside of William Mylchreest of Liverpool when she visited the injured survivors of the FA Cup semi final at Hillsborough.

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  • Portrait of Dennis Thatcher and Margaret Thatcher during the Scottish Cup Final

    1988: Dennis Thatcher (second left) and Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister (second right) during the Scottish Cup Final match between Celtic and Dundee United at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic won the match 2-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK/Allsport

  • Former british Prime minister Baroness M

    London, UNITED KINGDOM: Former british Prime minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher (C) watches Marion Bartoli of France playing Venus Williams of USA during the final of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, in south London, 07 July 2007. Williams won 6-4, 6-1. AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Baroness Thatcher positions a football during a photocall with Aldershot Football Club today (Wed), as she stepped out on the Tory campaign trail for the first time.