Reds, Man U offer Hiillsborough hope

MANCHESTER - Sir Alex Ferguson believes today's tribute to the Hillsborough victims and their families should mark the end of "beyond the pale" animosity that brings Manchester United and Liverpool into disrepute.

United are Liverpool's first opponents at Anfield since the Hillsborough Independent Panel revealed the extent of the establishment cover-up following the 1989 disaster.

Ninety-six balloons will be released before kick-off in memory of those who died, a mosaic reading "96, Justice and Truth" will be raised on three sides of the stadium and representatives of the campaign groups will be in attendance.

Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton may present flowers to be laid in front of the Kop, and Ferguson has also written an emotive letter that will be presented to every United supporter as they enter Anfield.

The letter states: "Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice. I know I can count on you to stand with us in the best traditions of the best fans in the game."

A small number of Liverpool and United fans have taunted their opposite numbers over the loss of life at Munich in 1958 and at Hillsborough. But after every Manchester City fan marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster with respect at Old Trafford, Ferguson has called for today's meeting between the north-west rivals to draw a similar line under "obscene" hostilities.

He said: "I don't think it will change in terms of the animosity towards each other. No question of that. What can change is going beyond the pale – the chants that refer to Munich or Hillsborough or whatever. So I think that is the end of that. There is a point where you go beyond the pale. And I think in the past it has been that way. You have to remember that it is not all the supporters – it is a minority. And a minority can create the headlines in order to get a voice.

"They have an opinion and they want to be heard – an obscene opinion but nonetheless it is there. And it does not reflect the general view or attitude of both clubs. We're talking about four or five hundred supporters on either side that bring their clubs into disrepute or whatever." – The Guardian


Liverpool v Man U 14:30   

Newcastle v Norwich 16:00   

Man City v Arsenal 17:00

Tottenham v QPR 17:00  

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