Former Liverpool players among those paying tribute to the Hillsborough 96 - and the courageous campaigners


Liverpool was a city united in grief and despair as the families of those killed at Hillsborough fought for justice for their loved ones for more than two decades.

The city was poised with bated breath only to exhale collectively as details emerged over the inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives on April 15 1989.

Fans specifically praised the jury for decisions which saw the deaths of the 96 victims recorded as unlawful and exonerated the fans of any wrong-doing.

Footballers with links to the city - both red and blue - shared their feelings on the inquest on social media.

Minutes after the verdict was announced, John Aldridge, who played for Liverpool FC at the time of the disaster, was among the first to post on Twitter.

Joey Barton said he was "proud to be a Scouser" as he posted several messages on Twitter.

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez also added a message of support in a statement, saying: "After so many years fighting for justice I am really pleased to see the verdict today, which confirms what we have been saying for a long time.

"I am especially pleased for the families of the 96 who have sought justice for so long and with such dignity, as well as for the people of Liverpool and for football fans in general.

"Hopefully this verdict today will ensure that this kind of tragedy can never happen again."

The wider footballing world also shared reaction to the conclusion of the inquests and helped to send #jft96 and You'll Never Walk Alone into the UK's top Twitter trends.