Liverpool and Everton supporters have come together to remember those who died at the Hillsborough disaster 22 years ago, a tragedy which affects people deeply across the city to this day.
At the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, 96 Liverpool fans died in the Leppings Lane End of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground after it became overcrowded with supporters, causing a crush that became the largest sporting disaster ever seen in the UK.
However, having seen two decades pass, the families of the victims are yet to see those responsible brought to justice, with many relatives of those victims claiming that South Yorkshire Police acted irresponsibly in the build-up to and aftermath of the tragedy.
Now, 22 years on, in a football climate in which all-seater
stadia is now the norm, the cloud of Hillsborough still
hangs heavily over Liverpool, acting as a solemn unifier
of the city’s football fans, many of whom are still haunted
by the deaths.
Thousands arrived at Anfield to not only vent their
frustrations at the injustice felt by the families of the
Hillsborough dead, but to also remember those who
passed away on 15th April, 1989.
JMU Journalism spoke to fans on their way to the 22nd
anniversary memorial service to discover what
Hillsborough meant to them personally.
Gary Coleman, 40, from Bootle was at Hillsborough on the day of the tragedy and has spoken of the importance of the memorial event to the city as a whole.
He said: “I was there, I didn’t lose anyone, but we lost 96 that day. It means a lot to me. As soon as I knew I was in work, I booked the day off for the memorial. I come here every year. It means a lot to the whole city, I’ve even seen people in their Everton shirts come in and pay their respects."
Steven Doherty, 42, travelled from South Kirkby to remember those that had died 22 years ago and insisted that the service provided a platform from which Liverpool fans could question the actions of those in authority, with calls for justice having been prevalent throughout the day.
He added: "Nearly quarter of a century on and we’re still being lied to. The police can keep trying to hide it but Hillsborough is part of this club now. We won’t forget what went on and neither should anybody else."
As has become customary at the annual memorial service, Everton supporters were united with Reds in their grief and Toffees fan Joseph Green, 52, from Wallasey outlined why he had come to Anfield.
He said: "I’m an Everton fan so I obviously wasn’t at Hillsborough but I know people that were and I guess we are just showing our respect by coming to the stadium today."
Further comments from those who attended the service can be seen below.
Additional reporting by Nicholas McGee & Joel Richards
By Jonathan Birchall, Website Producer at Anfield
More Hillsborough stories
Memorial service in pictures
The Hillsborough memorial service brought fans to Anfield to honour those who died Pictures: Vegard Grott
HILLSBOROUGH MEMORIAL SERVICE 2011