SOUTH Shields Football Club are to mark the 25th anniversary of one of British football’s darkest days by kicking off their derby fixture with North Shields seven minutes late.
Some 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, on April 15, 1989, and the game is preparing to pay its respects on the landmark anniversary.
The Premier League, Football League and Football Conference recently announced that all games to be held between Friday, April 11, and Monday, April 14, will kick off seven minutes late, with a minute’s silence to be held prior to that.
That is because the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, abandoned as a result of the unfolding tragedy, was stopped at 3.06pm, six minutes after kick-off.
South Shields are due to take on their cross-river rivals on Saturday, April 12, at their adopted home of Eden Lane in Peterlee. And they have confirmed their plans to follow the lead of the top divisions of English football by kicking off at 3.07pm.
Club chairman Gary Crutwell said: “This is a good way to show our respects to the people who lost their lives that day.
“It’s the least the club could do, to match what the top divisions are doing.
“This is now the 25th anniversary of the disaster, so we just wanted to pay our respects as a club.
“That should have been a great day out for both sets of supporters, and it’s just unthinkable that so many lost their lives.”
In 2012, Bob Scott visited Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC, on behalf of South Shields FC’s supporters’ association to present a replica shirt with memorial print on the back.
The shirt featured the words to Liverpool’s famous terrace chant, You’ll Never Walk Alone, as well as ‘RIP 96’.