17 Apr 2014

Liverpool fans mark 25th anniversary of Hillsborough disaster

1:13 pm on 17 April 2014

Thousands of football fans gathered at Liverpool's Anfield football Stadium on Wednesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, one of the darkest days in the history of English football.

96 Liverpool fans died during an FA Cup semi-final in a crush at the Leppings Lane End of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground, at the start of the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.

Over 20,000 people attended the memorial service, where the number 96 was spelled out on the pitch using scarves donated by fans from around the world following an appeal by Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool's manager at the time of the disaster.

The names of the 96 victims were read aloud, the youngest being 10-year-old Jon-Paul Gilhooley, the cousin of current Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who attended the ceremony along with his team-mates.

The current manager Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to Dalglish, saying he helped hold the club together in the aftermath of the disaster in which 766 were injured.

The British government set up a new police investigation in 2012 in a victory for victims' families who never accepted the official version of events, which had sought to place blame on the fans themselves.

Liverpool are leading the race for the English Premier League title, two points clear of Chelsea with four matches remaining, and within touching distance of a first English title since 1990.