Friday saw the club announce that there would be a minute’s applause before the Palace match as a mark of respect after the Hillsborough inquest jury verdict earlier in the week.
Whether it was Rafa Benitez who pushed the idea or not, a great idea and big well done for implementing this.
Too often in the past we have seen pre-match tributes at St James Park for all kinds of people but Saturday’s was definitely one of those when you felt the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Anybody over a certain age who used to regularly stand on the terraces could especially relate to the events of 27 years ago.
When through a combination of sheer bad luck and bad judgement by those in authority, a situation was created at Hillsborough where rather than thousands of people being really uncomfortably squashed together for a couple of hours (which wasn’t uncommon at big matches back then) – instead a horrific tragedy occurred and 96 people tragically lost their lives.
The minute’s applause at St James Park was beautifully observed and like so many special moments, it was the fans themselves who took it to another level, spontaneously breaking into the Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll never walk alone’.
The moment was captured by Newcastle fan Steve Gardner (@sgardner) and you can watch his video below.
The Steven Gerrard fan page is just one of the many who commented on the special moment created by Newcastle fans, commenting via Twitter:
“Newcastle fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone during the minute’s applause before kickoff. Class.”
When the Newcastle boss and former Liverpool Manager, Rafa Benitez, heard the jury verdict he added his own emotional response to the news:
“After so many years fighting for justice I am really pleased to see the verdict today, which confirms what we have been saying for a long time.
“I am especially pleased for the families of the 96 who have sought justice for so long and with such dignity, as well as for the people of Liverpool and for football fans in general.
“Hopefully this verdict today will ensure that this kind of tragedy can never happen again.”
— Steve Gardner (@sgardner) April 30, 2016