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Dec 21, 2012

Hillsborough single backed by bosses

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Everton rival David Moyes have joined forces to back the Hillsborough Justice Collective's bid to top the UK singles chart on Christmas Day.

The Collective have recorded a cover version of The Hollies' 1969 hit 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' to raise money for the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 FA Cup semi-final disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

Bookmakers have made the song favourite to be Christmas No.1 ahead of Impossible by X Factor winner James Arthur.

'He Ain't Heavy' was chosen as the Justice Collective's song after Everton played it in tribute to the Hillsborough victims before their Premier League game against Newcastle at Goodison Park on September 17.

That was Everton's first home match since the publication of an independent report into the 1989 disaster absolved Liverpool fans of any blame and revealed a huge cover-up by police in the aftermath of the disaster.

The report led the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, to ask for the original inquest verdicts of accidental death to be quashed. That request was granted at the High Court in London on Wednesday.

Campaign groups hope they are closer to achieving justice for the Liverpool supporters who died.

Rodgers and Moyes believe that getting the Hillsborough Justice Collective's single to No. 1- with all proceeds going to the families of the victims - would be a fitting tribute to campaigners' efforts.

Rodgers said: "For many years, their fight has helped all football fans throughout this country, and now they need your help - and the help we can give them as football people and football supporters is to get this single to No. 1.

"That would be a fantastic tribute and a fitting tribute to end this year, after what has been many, many years of hard work.

"Every single penny goes towards the families in their bid for justice, and we hope they will get that eventually."

Moyes, meanwhile, paid tribute to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, whose original idea it was to play 'He Ain't Heavy' rather than traditional Liverpool anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone' at the Newcastle match.

The Everton manager said: "I think a lot of credit has to go to Bill Kenwright. It was he who decided on the night we played Newcastle to put that song up. He considered 'You'll Never Walk Alone', but he felt 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' was more fitting.

"It shouldn't go without mention that Bill was the one who chose the song. Let's hope for the families that it helps raise some money for them to go to court."

Both managers have welcomed the decision to quash the original inquest verdicts, which campaigners have long maintained prevented a proper investigation into the Hillsborough disaster.

Moyes said: "It's great news for the families. The minute I heard the news a few months ago, with what had happened, I was outraged that the police would do that, would fabricate all that information."

Rodgers added: "It's another step for them [the families] on the road to gaining justice. They knew when the report came out a few months ago that it was still a long road.

"I will always repeat that there will never be full justice because those people who died will never, ever come back. But it's another step for them towards finding peace."

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