A SUNDERLAND fan who helped campaign for justice for the Hillsborough disaster victims has called for supporters to join together at tomorrow’s match.
Liverpool are at the Stadium of Light just days after the Hillsborough Independent Panel concluded its scrutiny of more than 400,000 previously-classified documents and confirmed its supporters were not to blame for the tragedy.
Today, Black Cats fan Diane Todd Wilkinson urged supporters to stand as one to remember the 96 who lost their lives at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, and mark the efforts of campaigners who have fought for justice ever since.
Diane took a special banner to Anfield for the first game of the 2011/12 season, declaring Sunderland supporters’ solidarity with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.
She also set up a Facebook website page, calling for people to support the grieving Liverpool families’ battle.
The 46-year-old businesswoman said SAFC fans could join in the Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone, or hold a minute’s applause six minutes into the game – marking the time the match in Sheffield was stopped by the referee.
“Just something to show we’re all football fans together,” she said.
“I think the majority of Sunderland fans will show their respect.
“And I hope the club acknowledge it in someway too.”
Diane, from County Durham, added: “I’m looking forward to the match and seeing the Liverpool fans again. I just hope a few idiots don’t ruin it. I’ve heard Sunderland fans in the past singing songs about Hillsborough and it makes me feel sick.”
Diane spoke of her delight as the Hillsborough Independent Panel report, which concluded that as many 41 lives could have been saved, and revealed a cover-up by South Yorkshire Police to deflect criticism on to fans.
“The families have been fighting for 23 years,” she said. “But it really seemed to accelerate over the last 12 months or so, especially with the online petitions.
“You can really see the impact social media has had.
“The truth is out, now we’ve just got to get justice.”
The Sunderland Justice For The 96 banner was left with representatives of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.
“I wasn’t expecting the attention I got from the banner,” said Diane. “It took Twitter by storm and I was interviewed by LFCTV, which I couldn’t believe.
“But I did it and I’m glad I did.”