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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother: Everton’s moving tribute to Liverpool 96

Everton v Newcastle United - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Liverpool and Everton mascots pay tribute to the Hillsbrough 96 before the Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United at Goodison Park on September 17, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Everton and Liverpool are the most bitter of crosstown rivals. In fact, “crosstown” paints a bit of an inaccurate picture geographically; Anfield Road and Goodison Park sit less than a mile apart, separated by the green space of Stanley Park.

Either way, the acrimony is deeply entrenched between Liverpool’s two teams. Think Duke-UNC in basketball, Canadians-Bruin in hockey, Packers-Bears in pro football, Yankees-Red Sox, etc.

So how wonderfully heartening it was to see the respectful remembrance prior to Everton’s contest Monday. Officials at Goodison Park arranged an emotional series of tributes to the 96 victims of the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, a tip of the hat to the affected families and their long-suffering search for truth and vindication.

It began with Everton being led out by two mascots, one in Everton blue with the number “9” and the other in Liverpool red with the number “6.” They stood side by side during a moment of silence and a photo montage during the song, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

Here’s the tribute: