United in Hope

Daily Mail (London), September 22, 2012 | Go to article overview

United in Hope


Byline: by DOMINIC KING

[bar] IR ALEX Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton will lay a floral tribute to the 96 Hillsborough victims before the start of Liverpool's game with Manchester United tomorrow.

It is possible Ferguson and Charlton will make what will be a hugely emotional gesture in front of The Kop, although plans are still being finalised ahead of Liverpool's first match at Anfield since the release of the independent report into the April 1989 disaster.

Both Liverpool and United will come out wearing tracksuit tops with '96' on the back, while team captains Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic will stand shoulder-to-shoulder and release 96 red balloons in memory of those who lost their lives.

A mosaic will also go up on three sides of Anfield to spell '96', 'Justice' and 'The Truth' during the singing of You'll Never Walk Alone, but there will not be a minute's applause or silence.

Kenny Dalglish will return to Anfield for the first time since he left in May, with his wife Marina, to show his support for the bereaved families.

Huge efforts have been made by both clubs in a bid to ensure the occasion passes without incident and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is adamant the two sets of supporters will act in keeping with the occasion.

'This will be an emotionally charged game,' said Rodgers. 'I would not want to sit here and tell Liverpool supporters how to behave. They are educated in the values of humanity. The message has been clear from Sir Alex, too. It is important to pay our respects to the families.' A copy of Sir Alex's letter to the United supporters (below), urging them to respect the Hillsborough victims and their families, will be handed to every Old Trafford fan at the turnstiles.

Rodgers, meanwhile, has no doubt that Luis Suarez will shake hands with Patrice Evra if the two men come face-to-face. 'Enough has been said on that matter over the last year. Luis is a good guy and a good man. The time has come to move on. …

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