Hillsborough – The 25th Anniversary

Like every year, emotions were running high yesterday as an estimated 25,000 people packed into Anfield to show their respects to the 96 Liverpool fans who, on 15th April 1989, went to a football match and never came home.

The tone for yesterday was set on Sunday really with an emotional Steven Gerrard shedding a few tears at the end of the Manchester City game. As he said afterwards, the 3-2 win on Sunday was dedicated to the 96.

Manchester City fans played their part with their “YNWA 96” banner in the Anfield Road end, as did all other clubs with the minute silence before all games up and down the country.

Yesterday seemed to be more significant because it was the 25th anniversary. 25 years? Has it really gone so quickly? A quarter of a century. The weather yesterday was so reminiscent of 15th April 1989, with the spring sunshine engulfing Anfield as it did Hillsborough 25 years ago.

The proceedings began with a rendition of “Abide With Me” soon followed by the reading of the names of the 96 victims. This part of the Service is always highly emotional as families memories, as always, focus on their departed loved ones. To see so many names of all ages – from 10 years of age (Steven Gerrard’s cousin, Jon Paul Gilhooley) to 67 years of age, Gerard Baron is heart wrenching. For the full list of victims, go to our main website by clicking here

As always, players and officials past and present were there to show their support and their were some extremely poignant and rousing speeches delivered. All Liverpool fans know, our neighbours from across Stanley Park, Everton have stood shoulder to shoulder with us throughout the 25 years. Everton themselves held their own Memorial Service as a mark of respect. After all the tragedy affected a whole City and not just one football club.

Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, was asked to deliver a reading and a speech. His fantastic contribution on the day was so fitting off the man and aroused so many emotions. You can catch his speech here….

Everton manager Roberto Martinez’s speech during the Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield, 15/4/2014. During his speech, Sky News’ Kay Burley interrupted live co…

Thank you to Mr Martinez and everyone else connected with Everton Football Club for your unstinting support.

All Liverpool fans are now so well aware of manager, Brendan Rodgers’, eloquence and assertiveness. His impeccably delivered speech and the reading of Psalm 23 was very moving. We truly have a manager who not only knows his football, but also gets and embraces everything about our fantastic club.

You can watch his speech here…..

Five years ago, the MP, Andy Burnham, was booed as he delivered his speech on the 20th anniversary. It was after this however when he started the political wheels in motion to reopen the inquiries. A major step that brings justice so much closer. Thank you Andy Burnham….

As ever, the Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), Margaret Aspinall, who lost her own 18 year-old son James, spoke with such feeling and emotion and gave heartfelt thanks to a variety of people.

As 96 balloons were set free into the blue sky, it was left to Gerry Marsden and the congregation to honour the victims with another fantastic rendition of the club’s anthem – You’ll Never Walk Alone.

With the reopening of the inquests and the proceedings ongoing in Warrington, we can only hope that the Fight For Justice is nearing an end and, after 25 years of tears and heartache, the families can finally achieve what they have fought so hard for and their loved ones can finally Rest In Peace.

JFT96…..YNWA

 

 

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