WEMBLEY: This weekend, 25 years ago, 96 Liverpool football fans – fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, sons, daughters – went to a football match and never came home.
They are being remembered across English football with all matches beginning seven minutes after the scheduled kickoff, to mark the moment when the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough was abandoned.
The original inquest verdict into the death of 96 was quashed by the High Court last year after new evidence brought to light by an independent inquiry following years of campaigning by victims’ families. Much of the last two weeks of the new inquest, in Warrington, has been taken up with tributes to the dead.
Some 25 years on and this is FA Cup semi-final weekend again. Both are now staged at Wembley. The first saw holders Wigan lose to Arsenal but only after the stadium and fans had paid their own tribute with the laying of memorial flowers and a one-minute’s mixture of silence and applause before kickoff. Hull face Sheffield United later Sunday.
The match programme listed the names of all the 96 which were also displayed on the circulating screen inside the stadium during the tribute minute.
A formal memorial service will be held at Anfield on Tuesday, the precise date of the anniversary.