Saturday 20 January 2018

Football united to pay tribute to the victims and families of Hillsborough disaster

Flowers are placed at the Hillsborough memorial plaque during the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough, Sheffield
Flowers are placed at the Hillsborough memorial plaque during the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough, Sheffield

Football rivalries have been put to one side as fans from all clubs remember the victims and families of the Hillsborough disaster.

Today marks the 28th anniversary of that fateful day when 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives at Sheffield Wednesday's ground during the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

The Liverpool squad held a service at their training ground in Melwood while there will be a low-key remembrance at Liverpool Cathedral this afternoon. Last year was the final service at Anfield at the request of the families.

Kop boss Jurgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson will lay flowers in front of a temporary memorial at 3.06 - the time the match against Forest was stopped - at Melwood today.

Klopp said: "This is a day of special significance for the LFC family; in fact it is a day of significance for the whole of football, but us more so.

"We will of course mark the occasion as a team - this is important. I know, at the wish of the families, this is the first year where the service does not take place at Anfield. But that doesn’t mean we won’t stop and remember in an appropriate manner.

"There is a memorial at Melwood, with the names of the 96 people who lost their lives on April 15 1989; we, as a team, will pause, show our respect and remember them on this day.

"For the victims, the families of those who died and the survivors, their story will always be our story.

"Their memory and the spirit of those who fought for them long after their deaths, will always be a reason for inspiration and hope, as well as sorrow."

Annual services at Liverpool FC's Anfield stadium to remember the 96 Liverpool fans who died in Britain's worst sporting disaster will no longer take place at the request of the families belonging to the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) who organised it.

From this year the city's two cathedrals will take it in turn to host simple commemorations in an initiative from the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, and the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, in liaison with Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.

The half-hour service at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will start at 2.45pm and maintain a minute's silence at 3.06pm - when the fateful 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was stopped at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.

It will include simple prayers and time for silent reflection but will not include any sermons or other words beyond the simple prayers on the service sheet.

The Bishop of Liverpool said: "On behalf of all the churches we count it a great privilege to offer this brief and simple service.

"We will remember the 96 before God, and pray for their families, for the survivors and for all those who remain deeply affected by the tragedy.

"Our cathedrals are here for the people and we are proud and glad to offer the opportunity on April 15 to reflect and to pray in peace."

Media have been asked not to attend the Hillsborough service as it is "a private act of worship".

Players and staff of Liverpool FC will also pause to observe a minute's silence at 3.06pm and the day's training session at Melwood will stop so that respects can be paid alongside the temporary Hillsborough memorial which will be moved to the complex at the request of HFSG.

Fans from all clubs have been paying their respects on social media.

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