FA CUP: Crowd pays timely tribute to fire victims

IT BEGAN the very moment that the clock on the two giant stands at either end of Wembley reached 56:00, writes Richard Sutcliffe.

Hull City fans keeping a close eye on the match.

That was the point when a social media campaign had suggested fans should applaud to pay tribute to the 56 football supporters who lost their lives in the Bradford fire disaster.

And the 89,345 crowd did just that, the applause being loud from the very start and continuing for the full 60 seconds.

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Most fans stood throughout and the tribute followed criticism the previous weekend when the 29th anniversary of the May 11, 1985, disaster at Valley Parade passed without any recognition on the final day of the Premier League season.

With next year being a landmark anniversary, there were suggestions on Twitter and various forums that a tribute along the lines of last month’s Hillsborough commemorations – whereby all games kicked off seven minutes late to signify the 1989 semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest being abandoned after six minutes – should be organised.

As revealed in The Yorkshire Post last week, Bradford officials plan to speak to the families of the fans who died before deciding whether to push for an official recognition.

Bradford fans staged their own tribute to the fire victims by applauding during the 56th minute of last season’s League Two play-off final against Northampton Town.

Sheffield United were named as the winners of the Ronnie Radford Giant-killing Award during the half-time interval of the Cup final.

The Blades’ 2-1 triumph at Aston Villa in the third round last January polled a massive 62.23 per cent of the vote to easily beat Macclesfield Town’s first round triumph over Swindon Town.