Soccer crowd pays anniversary tribute to victims of Hillsborough disaster

Lucy Harvey SHEFFIELD Wednesday's normally noisy football crowd fell silent on Saturday in memory the 17th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Club directors delayed the Owls kick-off against Norwich by 15 minutes to ensure teams were not playing at 3.06pm – the time when the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was abandoned as thousands of Liverpool fans were involved in a crush at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium.

Before Saturday 's game against Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday's club chaplain, the Rev David Jeans, conducted the annual service outside the South Stand at the disaster memorial stone, as representatives from both clubs laid flowers.

Inside the ground the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Jack Nicholls, led a minute's silence. He said: "It's appropriate that just for a minute we remember the 96 people who died and hold them in our hearts and minds."

The tribute was impeccably observed by the 30,000 strong crowd, and players from both teams wore black armbands as a mark of respect.