Sunday, April 20, 2014

25 years of Hillsborough

Memorial Service - Anfield 2014

I attended the with with my nephew. Anfield has never been so full for a memorial service. The mood was somber and there were less shouts, more periods of silence and a whole lot more smiles. 

My mate Andy Burnham MP received a completely different response. It is Burnham along with Steve Rotheram who have singlehandedly done so much to take the families' fight to the establishment. 

The original accidental death verdicts in 1991 were quashed in the High Court in 2012 after a long campaign by the fans’ families and current inquests are taking place in 2014. 

On the pitch, thousands of football scarves were lain in the shape of “96.” These scarves were donated from fans and clubs from the UK and all around the world after an appeal from Liverpool for scarves to show a symbol of unity amongst fans. 

Brendan Rogers gave a reading of Psalm 23, before addressing the Hillsborough families themselves.

The Irishman spoke of inspiration and it is easy to see why - He is surrounded by it, Shankly, players old and new and the Hillsborough Memorial which has given him the greatest boost of all. 

Rodgers said his biggest inspiration as a manager was each time he came to Anfield, seeing the names of the 96 on the Hillsborough Memorial.

King Kenny was given a massive round of applause and his leadership during and in the aftermath of Britain's worst sporting disaster was feted. 

To a huge ovation, Roberto Martinez said: “The authorities took on the wrong city if they thought they were going to get away with it.”

Margaret Aspinall finished off by saying that she hoped Liverpool could draw inspiration from the Hillsborough families as they chase the club's first league title for 24 years. 

She said: "Stress can be very difficult but stress can also be good. It gives you fight and I know that's what you are going to do to get this championship. I just hope I haven't put any more pressure on the players."

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