Everton will pay tribute to the 96 Liverpool supporters who lost their lives at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 ahead of this weekend’s Merseyside derby.
As noted by Helen Davies of the Liverpool Echo, Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright and chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall will unveil a new plaque at Goodison Park ahead of Saturday’s showdown. The memorial will be an eminent tribute to the victims of the disaster and their long-suffering family members.
Ms. Aspinall, whose son James died in Sheffield 26 years ago at just 18 years old, paid tribute to Everton for this touching gesture, per Davies' piece:
This is a really lovely gesture from Everton, paying tribute to the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough.
I would like to thank Bill and everyone involved, not least the Everton fans who have provided great support to the families over the years.
Michael Kelly—an Evertonian—lost his Liverpool-supporting brother at Hillsborough and is immensely proud of his team, per Davies' piece:
As an Evertonian who lost my brother at Hillsborough, I have always been grateful of the support from the blue side of the city.
I hope that when Evertonians look at this they will feel proud of the way we’ve supported our neighbours.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez gave this heartfelt speech at last year's memorial for the 25th anniversary of the disaster:
Indeed, while the two clubs boast an unrelentingly ferocious rivalry on the field, in times of grief, the fans have unified admirably. The Liverpool supporters have been grateful for the backing of their neighbours from across Stanley Park and the Anfield Kop paid its own thanks to the Everton supporters with a mosaic back in 2013.
The residents of the city should feel immensely proud of the manner in which both clubs have conducted themselves throughout dark times down the years. While this fixture may no longer quite be the “friendly derby” on the field, the rich sense of irrepressible brotherhood between the people of Liverpool is clearly as strong as ever.