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Chelsea to pay tribute to Matthew Harding on 20th anniversary of death

Chelsea will pay tribute to Matthew Harding at Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester United on the weekend that marks 20 years since his death.

Harding, a businessman and Chelsea supporter who invested £26.5 million in the club, died in a helicopter crash as he returned from a match at Bolton Wanderers in 1996.

He had responded to an appeal for funds by chairman Ken Bates in 1994 and was rewarded with a seat on the board.

His investment funded the construction of the new North Stand at Stamford Bridge, which was named in his honour after his death.

Tributes to Matthew Harding outside Stamford Bridge in 1996.

Tickets and programmes at Sunday's match will bear an image of Harding, while a banner bearing the words 'Matthew Harding, one of our own' will be placed across the front of the upper tier of the stand named after him prior to kick-off.

Harding's son Luke will accompany his late father's two grandchildren, who are mascots for the day, onto the Stamford Bridge pitch before the game.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has responded to requests from fans to pay tribute to the memory of Harding, and there are also plans for a giant flag reading: 'Matthew Harding, Always Loved Never Forgotten' to be held up by supporters before kick-off.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.

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