It’s a struggle to find positive, tasteful, and meaningful ways of memorializing those lost in tragedy, and even more so when attempting to do so while marking milestone anniversaries. There’s a compulsion to do something a bit more for a milestone, and in acknowledgment of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster this April, Liverpool FC has developed a few new initiatives that will complement its existing methods for recognizing the date.
As they do every year, the club will hold a memorial service at Anfield on Tuesday, April 15th at 2:45pm GMT. The service is broadcast for free on the club’s website, and if you’ve never had an opportunity to watch it in the past, it’s well worth an hour of your time to do so. It can be challenging for non-locals to find a connection to Hillsborough without simultaneously co-opting the grief of the survivors and their loved ones, and the memorial service is a stark if moving reminder of the true cost of the disaster.
What’s new this year are a charity football match and a few opportunities for fans worldwide to support the Hillsborough campaign. The charity match, organized by the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) and with proceeds being split between HFSG and Liverpool’s own foundation, will feature two teams of Liverpool legends, locals vs internationals, with the locals managed by the one and only Kenny Dalglish.
For those unable to attend the legends match, HFSG has organized a scarf donation drive, where fans from all over the globe are encouraged to send a scarf — any scarf at all, Liverpool FC or otherwise — to Liverpool to be displayed on the pitch during the memorial service.
"We already receive so much support from people worldwide," said Maragaret Aspinall, chair of the HFSG, "but if we could create what would be a fantastic symbol of unity on the pitch from donated scarves from across the world, this would be a truly moving way of bringing the world together for the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough."
Contributed scarves will be donated to local charities in Liverpool after the memorial service.
The club have also created a “Patch for the 96” to be worn by both the men’s and women’s senior teams on their uniforms, with the men’s team wearing it for the last three home matches of the season. Fans can also purchase it online through the club store, with all proceeds going towards the Hillsborough families.
Finally, all Premier League, Football League, Football Conference and FA Cup matches from April 11-14 will kick off seven minutes later than scheduled to mark the anniversary. Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final versus Nottingham Forest was called off six minutes into the match, so a minute of silence will be observed prior to kick-off.