You’ll Never Walk Alone isn’t just a song shared by Celtic and Liverpool supporters, it’s a mantra.
It’s the message that binds these two great working-class, port city clubs. And on days like today, the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, that solidarity was shown once again.
Celtic put out a statement on their website, offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the 96, who needlessly lost their lives in Sheffield while supporting their club [BBC].
The statement read [Celtic FC]:
“It was on April 15, 1989 that 96 people went to a game of football and never came home. Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic Football Club are with the families of the 96 on this very sad day.
“Our thoughts are also with Liverpool FC, the city of Liverpool and everyone who continues the campaign to get Justice for the 96.”
Celtic, as a club, don’t tend to weigh in to “political issues”. The story of the Hillsborough disaster, though, was politicised when inquests were made into a police cover-up surrounding the events of the 15th April, 1989 [Independent.ie].
All throughout, Celtic and its supporters have supported the campaign for justice for the 96 lives lost on that awful day.
Celtic and Liverpool have bonds through history
In the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, Celtic were the first club to play Liverpool. 15 days after the horrific scenes unfolded, the Bhoys hosted the Reds in a charity match [Celtic Wiki].
Goals from Aldridge, Rush and Dalglish made it 4-0 to the rampant Reds, but the scoreline mattered little. As John Quinn wrote in the next day’s Evening Times:
“But although nostalgia hung heavy in the air there was still time for celebration of the two teams, as the fans joined together in choral tribute with a mighty rendition of the Liverpool anthem.
“With a background of a sea of green and white scarves, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has never sounded so good, and the fan who says he or she never shed a tear is a stranger to the truth.”
Years later, those memories remain, and the solidarity has never diminished.