When Liverpool welcome Nottingham Forest to Anfield on Saturday in the Premier League, amongst the travelling Forest supporters filtering into the away section will be a 30 foot banner asking for respect for the victims of 1989’s Hillsborough disaster specifically and against tragedy chanting in general.
Given Nottingham were the opponents Liverpool faced at the stadium in Sheffield three decades ago and whose fans only escaped being the victims of poor planning, stadium design, and police negligence and incompetence, Nottingham supporters would seem amongst those best placed to be sympathetic.
That hasn’t often been the case. At the first meeting this season when the Reds travelled to face Forest, chants about the disaster and shouts of murderers were common, and if you were to ask which fanbase was most likely to seek to use the’s tragedy to try to score points against Liverpool many would say Forest’s.
Those worst aspects of football’s tribalism, though, won’t be helped by insisting another fanbase is unforgivable. If Nottingham’s most dedicated, their travelling support, are interested in trying to be a part of ending such vile activities it should be commended. And hoped that that sentiment will survive kickoff.
‘We are a loose collective of Forest fans who were all at Hillsborough, all with our own personal stories and memories from that fateful day,” began the message from the fans bringing the banner to Anfield for Saturday’s meeting between the two sides.
“We’ve been proud of the atmosphere us Forest fans have created home and away this season but, for us, the one blot on the copybook was the singing of ‘Always the Victims’ from sections of our support in the game against Liverpool at the City Ground in October.
“The connotation is undeniable, and whether intentional or not, it does cause deep offence and upset, not just to the families and friends of the 97 and the wider Liverpool fanbase, but also to many Forest fans who were affected. We felt we needed to take a stand and show our support to those who’ve suffered enough, so we will be raising this banner in the away end in the sixth minute on Saturday.”
by what they saw that day too. We felt we needed to take a stand and show our support to those who’ve suffered enough, so we will be raising this banner in the away end in the sixth minute on Saturday - Respect The 97, Solidarity With Survivors, No To Tragedy Chanting… pic.twitter.com/hAvcMtkBP5— Forest at Anfield 22.04.23 (@NoHateChants) April 20, 2023