Everton Football Club paid tribute to the 96 fans of rivals Liverpool who died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989.
In a moving ceremony before their game against Newcastle tonight, the teams were lead out by two mascots, one in Everton blue and the other in Liverpool red. The Everton mascot had the number 9 on her back and the Liverpool mascot had the number 6. As they stood hand-in-hand, the two children displayed the number 96, a poignant memorial to those who died at Hillsborough.
The mascots made their way to the center of the field, where they stood with both sets of players as they observed a minute’s applause. A moving video was then played on the big screen inside the stadium, featuring a montage of the 96 accompanied by The Hollies’ classic “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
In his programme notes before the game, Everton boss David Moyes paid tribute to the Hillsborough families: “I and everyone at Everton stands alongside the Hillsborough families. I am a football supporter and a father and I applaud the families who continued to fight for the ones they loved.”
The Scot then let everybody know his opinion on the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, stating, “The outcome was nothing short of disgraceful.”
As a final show of support to their neighbours and rivals, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright invited both Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks of the Hillsborough Families Support Group to attend the game as his special guests.
This sign of solidarity will forever be remembered by the people of Liverpool and it is heartening to find that despite the footballing rivalry between the clubs, some things are more important. My admiration and respect goes out to Everton Football Club.
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