Supporters hold up a banner in memory of victims of the Hillsborough disaster at Anfield in Liverpool
Supporters hold up a banner in memory of victims of the Hillsborough disaster at Anfield in Liverpool (Reuters)

Football fans across the country paid tribute to the 96 Liverpool fans, who died in the Hillsborough disaster, 25 years ago.

The tragedy occurred on April 15 1989, when a surge of supporters were allowed to flood into Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium ahead of the FA Cup semi-final.

Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans were crushed to death.

Today, on the anniversary weekend of the tragedy, players and fans at football matches held a minute's silence at 3.06pm - the same time that the Hillsborough game was abandoned.

Fans unfurled homemade banners paying tribute to the 96 victims, while clubs displayed messages of support on the big screens around the grounds.

At Wembley stadium 96 seats opposite the players' tunnel were left empty and draped with Liverpool scarves

In the Hillsborough stadium itself, the clock was poignantly set at 3.06 and 96 red roses, bearing the name of each victim, were attached to chairs, painted white, in the stand.

Hillsborough
96 red roses were left on the seats at Hillsborough Stadium, in memory of those who died in the tragedy. POOL

The managers of Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, who were playing at the stadium, placed wreathes in front of the display, to applause from both sets of fans.

Kick-offs took place after the end of the silence - seven minutes later than usual.

On the day of the tragedy, the swell of the crowd pushed the Liverpool fans in the Leppings Lane End crush into the barriers. Supporters attempted to climb onto the balcony above and spilled onto the pitch to safety.

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager was asked by police to broadcast a message to all fans asking them to remain calm and in their seats.

The injured were carried onto the pitch by their fellow fans on hoardings and at 3.06 Police Superintendent Roger Greenwood called for the match to be abandoned and emergency services were called to attend to the injured.

By the end of the evening, 82 people had been declared dead at Hillsborough. 12 more were declared dead in hospital.

Liverpool fan Lee Nicol, survived for two days on a life support machine before he, too, died. The 96th victim of the Hillsborough disaster was Tony Bland. He survived until 1993, after suffering severe brain damage.

New Hillsborough Inquests Begin
Supporters in the Leppings End Lane were crushed.

In the investigation into the 1989 disaster, police attempted to shift the blame to the Liverpool fans, claim they had hindered the rescue effort by the police.

An inquest in 1991 ruled that all the deaths were accidental. The coroner in the case claimed all the deaths had occurred by 3.15pm, thereby ruling out many potential sources of evidence which were not represented in the investigation.

The families of the 96 victims have been campaigning tirelessly for justice and an independent report was commissioned, which revealed that police had doctored statements made in the wake of the tragedy. It also found that the police had edited the footage of the incident.

The revelations of inconsistencies led to a fresh Hillsborough inquest, which is currently being heard.

On the first day of hearings, the judge conducting the inquest said it the events of April 15 are "seared into the memories of the very many people affected by it, most notably of course the families of the 96 people who died."

A Liverpool supporter looks at the names engraved on the Hillsborough memorial outside the club's Anfield stadium (Reuters)
A Liverpool supporter looks at the names engraved on the Hillsborough memorial outside the club's Anfield stadium (Reuters)

The names of all 96 victims are inscribed at the gates of Liverpool's Anfield football ground.