Everton to Pay Tribute to Hillsborough 96 Before Merseyside Derby

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2015

Two Everton mascots, one wearing a Liverpool FC kit stand in the centre circle in a minute's applause in recognition of the 96 Liverpool fans that died at Hillsborough disaster during their English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Monday Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
CLINT HUGHES/Associated Press

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.

Kenwright will unveil the plaque before Saturday's game.
Kenwright will unveil the plaque before Saturday's game.Paul Thomas/Getty Images

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.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12:  Hillsborough Family Support Group member Margaret Aspinall, the mother of Hillsborough victim James Aspinall, reacts during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublishe
WPA Pool/Getty Images

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:

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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.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  An Everton fan arrives in Anfield for a memorial service marking the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster at Anfield stadium on April 15, 2014 in Liverpool, England. Thousands of fans, friends and relatives are att
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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.