Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Royals' silence for Hillsborough

Those who lost their lives at Hillsborough will be remembered at the Madjeski Stadium

Reading's Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool this weekend will be preceded by a minute's silence.

But while chairman John Madejski earlier voiced his support for such a tribute to mark the death of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, Saturday's silence is to honour the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

A statement on the club's website confirmed: "Supporters of Reading Football Club and Liverpool Football Club will hold a minute's silence before Saturday's fixture at Madejski Stadium as a mark of respect for the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster."

The statement went on: "With the game falling two days before the 24th anniversary of the tragedy, plans began last week for a fitting tribute to the 96 supporters who lost their lives. The Royals contacted Liverpool FC; spoke to the Premier League earlier today and they of course agreed it was absolutely correct to pay respect on such an occasion."

Madejski earlier joined Wigan counterpart Dave Whelan in supporting a tribute to Thatcher at the weekend's matches. Neither the Premier League, the Football League nor the Football Association 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.

Madejski would be in favour of such a decision - though even without Hillsborough taking precedence, it would surely have been awkward at his side's ground given Thatcher's unpopularity in Liverpool.

"We have got to appreciate that Margaret Thatcher was a world leader who did so much for this country. So much that she deserves a minute's silence," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"The funeral's going to take place at St Paul's (Cathedral), attended by the Queen and Prince Philip, so I think it would be a fitting tribute from the world of football to Margaret Thatcher, one of our greatest leaders."

Reflecting on the possibility of a silence being spoiled by dissenting factions, Madejski added: "Obviously I can appreciate that perhaps some people won't pay attention to it, which is sometimes the way at football, but I just think she was such a colossus in terms of the world stage that she deserves that respect from the whole nation.

"No colossus like that strides the world's stage without disenfranchising people at some stage or another, however the positive things that Margaret Thatcher achieved for our country speaks volumes and I think that outshines things that might not be considered so brilliant like the poll tax and so on."

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