Early Doors

Steven Gerrard makes ‘wonderful gesture’ to Hillsborough families

Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has made a wonderful gesture ahead of the Merseyside derby with Everton on Tuesday evening.

Gerrard donated £96,000 to the Hillsborough Family Support Group and agreed to it being made public in order to remind people that families are still campaigning for justice.

The 33-year-old, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the 96 supporters who died in the 1989 tragedy, hopes that it will further raise awareness of the families' struggles.

"I just think I’m in a position to do it," Gerrard said.

"I think it’s a nice gesture and also with the connection I’ve got to Hillsborough, with my own family, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while.

"I think the timing’s right and having spoken to the club I’ve decided to do it now.

"It had been in the media a lot so I didn’t think it was needed where I had to step in and keep it on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s minds.

"But now it’s gone a little bit quiet over the last couple of weeks, I think the timing’s really good to get it back out there – sending another message out about how much we really want this justice."

Gerrard also paid tribute to the gestures made by Everton and the club's supporters in support of their neighbours.

"I think their show of support has been there since the tragedy happened,” he added.

"But alongside the gesture I am making, I and every other Liverpool fan can only thank the Evertonians for their support.

"I’m not saying that to try and get in any Everton fans’ good books because I understand my own personal rivalry with them. But it’s there for everyone to see – the support they’ve given us which is very touching."

Hillsborough Family Support Group chair Margaret Aspinall has said that Gerrard's gesture will mean a great deal and help to raise further support.

"It’s a wonderful gesture by Steven and we cannot thank him enough," Aspinall said.

"It’s a lot of money he has donated and it will help all the families a great deal with our work.

"It’s another sign of how good the people of Merseyside are – all they have done for us and continue to do.

"The club itself has been a great help to the Hillsborough Family Support Group and we’ve had a lot of support from the players as well.

"This money will help with the running costs of our office and the travel expenses of the meetings and talks we attend up and down the country."

Liverpool host Everton at Anfield on Tuesday looking to put pressure on third-placed Chelsea, while Roberto Martinez's side are just a point adrift in sixth.

[Midweek Premier League fixtures]

[Matchpack: Liverpool v Everton]