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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Mixed reactions to Heysel homage
Anfield witnessed an emotional night on Tuesday as Liverpool and Juventus met for the first time since the Heysel Stadium tragedy in 1985.

Before the tie, Liverpool fans presented a banner of "friendship" bearing the names of the dead.

The gesture was applauded by many Juve fans but a significant number chose to turn their backs to it.

At the European Cup final on 29 May 1985, rioting Liverpool fans led to a wall collapsing at Heysel, killing 39.

The programme for Tuesday evening's match featured a two-page apology by Liverpool fan Terry Wilson, who was jailed for his part in the rioting.

In a special brochure placed on the seat of every Juventus fan, Ian Rush, who played for Liverpool in the 1985 game before joining Juventus, wrote: "We are sorry. You'll never walk alone."

The city's newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, printed the names of the victims on its front page on Tuesday, above a banner headline which read: "We're Sorry".

All of the 2,600 Juventus fans at Anfield were given a wristband in black, white and red - the three colours of the two clubs - and many joined in an emotional rendition of the Liverpool anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone".

Some Juventus fans wore scarves with the emblems and colours of both Juve and Liverpool.

A minute's silence, to remember the Heysel victims and Pope John Paul II, was observed before kick-off, during which the Liverpool fans in the Kop held up placards to form the word 'Amicizia' (friendship).

Again, there was a mixed response from the Juventus fans, with some applauding the gesture and others turning their backs.

Turin-based daily La Stampa was critical of the reaction, stating: "At the festival of friendship, ignorance wins".

The Gazzetta dello Sport reported the efforts of Liverpool fans to "embrace" the visiting Italians.

"It was an embrace that died against a wall of indifference, which was unfortunately coloured black and white," it said.

However, Uefa spokesman Markus Studer said: "Liverpool must be applauded for the way they handled the arrangements.

"There was not a hint of trouble in the stadium, there was a fantastic atmosphere and both clubs must be praised. It was a very successful night for European football."

Juve fan Alberto Schibona, who was in the Heysel Stadium 20 years ago, made his first trip to Anfield for the tie.

"We came here for reconciliation," Schibone said.

"I think both clubs need this to be able to come to terms with what happened 20 years ago."

The two teams meet for the second leg in Turin next Wednesday.

Former Liverpool midfielder Ronnie Whelan, who played in the 1985 final, said he expected a night of even greater tension.

"I'd be more concerned about the away leg," he said.

"Relatives of the dead people are still there, they still remember and they feel a lot more bitter than they do in Liverpool."


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