Liverpool marks 25th anniversary of Hillsborough victims
The city of Liverpool paid its tribute to the 96 football fans who died in Hillsborough tragedy 25 years ago at the Liverpool FC’s home ground in Anfield today.
A special service was held at Anfield in memory of the 96 fans who lost their lives against Nottingham Forest at the FA cup semi-final in 1989.
The ceremony was attended by relatives of the victims, joined by the entire Liverpool squad, including captain Steven Gerrard and striker Luis Suárez, along with many former and current players, managers, directors, coaching staff and around 25,000 fans.
The service began at 3.06pm, the exact time at which the tragedy unfolded.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary, church bells tolled 96 times whilst a silence was observed across the city of Liverpool. Public transport came to a halt, the Mersey Ferry blew its funnels and barriers at both Mersey tunnels were lowered.
Thousands of scarves were laid on the pitch at Anfield spelling out number 96 in respect for the number of fans who lost their lives and displaying unity across football fans despite club rivalries. The scarves are later to be donated to local charities.
In observance, a memorial was also displayed with the names of the 96 who were killed in the disaster with a light highlighting each name as it was read.
Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers gave a reading, followed by Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez.
Kenny Dalglish, who was the manager in 1989, was also present and has been key in organising Tuesday’s memorial service.
Addressing the public, Red’s boss Brendan said: “We will always strive to honour the families and the memory of the 96 that we lost. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Speaking to ITV, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “This year marks a pivotal moment in the history of the Hillsborough tragedy and the families’ long fight for justice. Not only is it the 25th anniversary of the tragedy but we also have the start of fresh inquests into how the 96 lost their lives. We will never forget those who died at Hillsborough, and this is a day for us to unite as a city and remember each one, and also their families and friends left behind.”
Sundays’ Premiership win for Liverpool against Manchester City was especially poignant due to the upcoming anniversary. The 3-2 win had captain Steven Gerrard in tears.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, after the match Gerrard, said: “It wasn’t just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool. It’s emotional for so many people.”
The midfielders’ ten-year-old cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, was the youngest victim of the Hillsborough disaster after receiving a last minute ticket from an uncle.
A tireless campaign for justice by loved ones of the dead finally showed signs of hope when an accidental death verdict was quashed in 2012. A fresh inquest into the 96 deaths began a fortnight ago and will resume next week.