Thursday 14 December 2017

Hillsborough campaigner to be Benitez's guest of honour at Newcastle-Liverpool

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez maintains close links with Liverpool
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez maintains close links with Liverpool

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has invited Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall as his guest of honour to Sunday's Premier League clash with former club Liverpool.

The mother of 18-year-old Hillsborough victim James, she campaigned for more than a quarter of a century for justice over the tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 supporters in April 1989.

Benitez, whose family still lives on Merseyside, maintains close links with the Hillsborough Family Support Group, of which she is chair.

The Spaniard spent six years in charge at Anfield, in the process winning four major trophies, including the 2005 Champions League, and remains involved with charity work in the north-west.

Speaking about his enduring links with the club in the run-up to the game, he said: "We are working with the local charities and also with the Hillsborough families, so there are a lot of connections.

"It's emotional, but for me now, I have to concentrate on Newcastle United and trying to win. My relationship with the fans also is quite good.

"There are a lot of similarities between the two cities. Hopefully we can do well and I wish them all the best - after this game."

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