Minute's silence plans welcomed

Monday marks the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters died

Monday marks the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters died

First published in National News © by

Hillsborough families have welcomed plans for a minute's silence before Liverpool's Premier League clash at Reading on Saturday.

It comes ahead of Monday's 24th anniversary of the tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed on the terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on April 15, 1989.

The silence was confirmed on Reading FC's website which said it was "absolutely correct to pay respect on such an occasion".

However, Reading chairman John Madejski had earlier joined Wigan counterpart Dave Whelan in supporting a tribute to Baroness Thatcher at the weekend's matches.

Neither the Premier League, the Football League nor the Football Association, which presides over Wigan's FA Cup semi-final against Millwall, have asked clubs to hold a minute's silence - or applause - in relation to the former prime minister, who died on Monday aged 87 after a stroke.

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, welcomed the decision to pay respects to those killed at Britain's deadliest stadium disaster. But Mrs Aspinall, who lost her 18-year-old son, James, in the tragedy, said it would be a "mistake" to honour the former Prime Minister as well.

She said: "It's a terrible thing to speak ill of the dead, I know because it happened to my son and all the Hillsborough victims for 23 years. But if they do hold a minute's silence for Margaret Thatcher, I think they are making a big mistake. The fact is a lot of people would break that silence. Margaret Thatcher had contempt for football and its fans, in fact she was in favour of identity cards for all supporters."

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Mr Madejski earlier said he would be in favour of a minute's silence for Baroness Thatcher. "We have got to appreciate that Margaret Thatcher was a world leader who did so much for this country," he told the broadcaster. "So much that she deserves a minute's silence."

Bob Crow, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and a keen Millwall fan, said: "It would be an absolute insult to the memory of the Hillsborough victims, and to all the millions of working people who suffered under Thatcher's regime, if there was a minute's silence at any football games this weekend, let alone the Wembley semi-finals.

"Wigan, and the North West, is one of the areas of the country that still bears the scars from the Thatcherite assault on jobs, services and Britain's industrial base. The idea that football supporters of all people are going to observe a tribute to a woman who connived with the lies against the 96 Liverpool fans who died in Sheffield is absolute madness."

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