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 By Mike Whalley

Martinez to give Hillsborough reading

Everton manager Roberto Martinez will give a reading at a service to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in April.

Roberto Martinez is to speak at the 25th anniversary service.
Roberto Martinez is to speak at the 25th anniversary service.

Alcohol central to inquest
Rewind: A fateful day

Martinez will join his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers in speaking at the memorial event, to be held at Anfield.

The Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), which has campaigned for justice on behalf of the victims of the tragedy for the last quarter of a century, confirmed that the Everton manager had accepted their invitation to speak at the service.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright spoke at last year’s service, which was the first after an independent report exonerated fans of any blame for the disaster, and highlighted the extent to which the police and emergency services attempted to cover up their own culpability.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters were crushed to death on an overcrowded section of terracing when they attended an FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on Apr. 15, 1989.

The publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report in September 2012 led to the opening of two separate investigations into the conduct of the police and emergency services during and after the disaster, as well as the quashing of the original inquest verdicts of accidental death.

Fresh inquests are set to open in Warrington, Cheshire, on Mar. 31, little more than two weeks before the 25th anniversary service.

Demand to attend this year’s service is expected to be so great that tickets, which will be free of charge and limited to four per application, will be required for entry.

Margaret Aspinall, the chair of HFSG, said: “It is a shock to me the numbers who turn up every year. It’s amazing. With the inquests having started two weeks before the anniversary, there will be a lot more interest.

“I know some of the fans who haven’t come in previous years want to be at the 25th anniversary service. We expect the service to be busy so we urge everyone to obtain tickets as early as possible and only request the amount of tickets needed.

“Roberto will doing a reading this year, and also Brendan.”

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