Nearly 25,000 Pay Tribute To Hillsborough Victims At Anfield With Bells, Lights, Scarves
Almost 25,000 people made their way to Anfield on Tuesday "to pay tribute to the 96 Hillsborough victims at a service to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster," according to Eleanor Barlow of the LIVERPOOL ECHO. Among those attending were the full Liverpool FC first team squad, Liverpool Chair Tom Werner, former players and managers including Jamie Carragher and Gerard Houllier and "a delegation from Everton" including Manager Roberto Martinez and CEO Robert Elstone. Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers and Martinez "both gave moving speeches during the memorial event." Martinez "received a standing ovation after his reading." Martinez: “How can anyone die watching the game you love? That isn’t right, that isn’t fair. But as my chairman said last year, they picked on the wrong city." Rodgers added, "Those who lost their lives and those who fought on their behalf and on behalf of survivors, you are the real true inspiration for us" (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 4/15). The BBC reported bells were rung 96 times across Merseyside. A ring of lights called the "Band of Life," with each light inscribed with the name of a victim, "was lit as the names of those who died were read out." Scarves from every club in the top four divisions "were laid on the pitch to create a number 96 at Anfield as a 'sign of unity' for the service" (BBC, 4/15).
SOMBER MOOD: In London, Jeremy Wilson reported the mood across all of Liverpool on Tuesday "stretched beyond sombre reflection to immense pride at a city that, perhaps more than any other in England, is so identified by its football teams." The scarves of clubs from all over Europe "were hung, three or four deep, on the Shankly Gates at Anfield" next to the Hillsborough Memorial on which the names of all 96 who died at the 1989 FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest are inscribed. Beneath and adjacent to the memorial "was layer upon layer of flowers and messages" (TELEGRAPH, 4/15). In Manchester, Lee Swettenham reported ManU "posted special artwork showing their support for the club and those affected by the tragedy" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 4/15).