Henry hails families at Hillsborough memorial

15 April 2013 05:46

Liverpool owner John Henry marked the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster on Monday by paying tribute to the families of the 96 fans killed in the tragedy.

Henry was attending Monday's annual memorial service at Anfield for the Liverpool supporters crushed to death during over-crowding on the terraces of Hillsborough before an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989.

Around 12,000 people attended the service, which was the first held since the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel revealed a shocking cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy from the authorities to the victims.

"In my time at Liverpool I have come to understand the importance of the 96 to the club and I have been honoured and humbled by the dignity and persistence of the families in their search for truth and justice," Henry said.

"Now there is a real belief that justice will be served.

"The club will always cherish the memory of the fans. They will forever be a part of Liverpool Football Club."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, chief executive Ian Ayre and all the club's players and staff joined the families of the 96 victims, survivors and supporters for the event.

During the service the names of the 96 dead were read out and a candle was lit in memory of each victim in front of the Kop.

The crowd cheered loudly as Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, emphasised that the fight for justice for the 96 wasn't over.

"So the truth has finally been revealed and now justice must follow," she said.

"I call on the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) to conduct their investigations as fast and as thoroughly as possible, leaving no stone unturned.

"All of us are getting older and some have been diagnosed with incurable illness. Delays are not acceptable under any circumstances.

"It has taken 8,551 dark days and a report consisting of 395 pages to finally expose to the world what we all knew from day one: the fans were not to blame."

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright was given a standing ovation by the crowd after an emotional speech that saluted the families' perseverance in battling to prove the fans hadn't caused the disaster.

"I appreciate the pain that you would have felt on that day but let me tell you, the 96 are here with you today as much as they have always been," he said.

"I hope that by next year - the 25th anniversary - you will be celebrating the greatest victory that any team in this country has ever had, not just in football but in life."

Source: AFP

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