The former Anfield player and manager was quizzed about what he had written in his autobiography on ticketless fans “bunking in” to games, by John Beggs QC, who represents former Hillsborough match commander Superintendent David Duckenfield, of South Yorkshire Police.
In sometimes fractious courtroom exchanges, involving coroner Lord Justice Goldring and other lawyers, Mr Beggs repeatedly tried to ask the witness about hooliganism and a “cohort” of Liverpool fans who were “prone” to violence, drinking heavily and trying to get into football grounds without tickets, “before, during and after” the Hillsborough disaster, the court heard.
Dalglish was the team boss on the day of the tragedy and, at the request of South Yorkshire Police, broadcast a message to fans asking for calm, as the disaster unfolded at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989.
Ninety-six Liverpool fans died from the crush in the ground as the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest got under way.
Dalglish, giving evidence from the witness box and watched by around 25 relatives of victims, was asked by Beggs about his book, My Liverpool Home, written in 2010.
Beggs pointed out that in it, Dalglish, writing about the Liverpool v Everton FA Cup Final in 1986, spoke of “Scousers” climbing through windows and using ropes to get into Wembley Stadium.
“Bunking in”, the book continued, “to the most famous stadium in the world for the final of the oldest trophy in football.”
Beggs read another passage in which Dalglish gave his reaction when the official attendance was given at the game — 98,000.
“I just laughed, as there must have been 110,000 crammed in, beneath the twin towers.”
Mr Beggs told the court, here was an “icon” of the game of football, and especially to Liverpool fans, “laughing at the fact they broke the law” by gaining entry to a football ground without tickets.
Mr Dalglish said he laughed at the official attendance figures — not people allegedly “bunking in”.
Mr Beggs asked if there was any “deprecation” or criticism of such fans in the book.
Mr Dalglish replied: “I’m laughing now because you used the word icon, not me. I don’t think I’m actually judge and jury how people should and should not behave.”