Tributes to 96 Hillsborough dead begin with kick-off delays

Supporters’ club organises memorial in Dublin over ill-fated 1989 FA Cup semi-final

A tribute to the 96 fans who died during the Hillsborough disaster, outside the ground today before the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough, Sheffield. Photograph: PA Wire

A tribute to the 96 fans who died during the Hillsborough disaster, outside the ground today before the Sky Bet Championship match at Hillsborough, Sheffield. Photograph: PA Wire

Sat, Apr 12, 2014, 15:00

Kick-off delays in English football today were to form part of tributes to those killed in the Hillsborough disaster, the 25th anniversary of which falls next Tuesday, April 15th.

The ill-fated FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989 had stopped at 3.06pm, and several games were to start at 3.07pm today, starting after a minute’s silence, as a mark of respect to the 96 Liverpool fans who died.

The Irish Reds Liverpool Supporters Club has organised a memorial in Dublin’s Phoenix Park this afternoon in which 96 red balloons - one representing each of the victims - will be released after a 96-minute walk in their memory.

Club treasurer Anto Grendon said they had also designated people to wear the same number of T-shirts with the words “Ireland walks with the 96” emblazoned upon them.

Just before 3pm, a crowd estimated by the club itself at about 1,000 people had arrived at the Papal Cross, around which the grass was covered in scarves and flags.

“We are all supporters and it can happen anywhere. As supporters of Liverpool Football Club we are supporting our fans that never came home,” Mr Grendon told The Irish Times.

The two semi-finals at Wembley today and all matches in the top eight tiers of the English league system were to kick off seven minutes after their normal scheduled starts, following the minute’s silence.

Among the tributes at Anfield, scarves from all clubs in the top four divisions were to display a number 96 on the pitch before Liverpool’s league game against Manchester City.

Players and officials at the Wigan Athletic v Arsenal and Hull City v Sheffield United semi-finals will wear black armbands. Ninety-six seats were set aside at the stadium for both games and each were to have Liverpool scarves upon them. A number of the families of the 96 were also to attend for Wigan v Arsenal today.

A new inquest on those who lost their lives in the disaster began on March 31st.

Games starting at 3.07pm today included:

In London: Selhurst Park: Crystal Palace v Aston Villa; Craven Cottage: Fulham v Norwich City.

Southampton: St Mary’s: Southampton v Cardiff.

Stoke: Britannia Stadium: Stoke City v Newcastle United.

Sunderland: Stadium of Light: Sunderland v Everton.

West Bromwich: The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham.

Burnley: Turf Moor: Burnley v Middlesbrough.

Sheffield: Hillsborough: Sheffield Wednesday v Blackburn Rovers.

Additional reporting: Guardian