#sports Liverpool host Newcastle on Wednesday, 25 years on from fixture being called off after Diana's death

#sports Liverpool host Newcastle on Wednesday, 25 years on from fixture being called off after Diana’s death

#sports activities Liverpool host Newcastle on Wednesday, 25 years on from fixture being called off after Diana’s death

Newcastle team-mates John Beresford and Rob Lee had been in a Liverpool lodge room on the morning of Sunday August 31, 1997, once they switched on the tv. Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed in a automotive crash in Paris.

The Magpies had been resulting from kick off at Anfield at 4pm, the one Premier League recreation scheduled for that day as a part of Sky Sports’ Super Sunday protection. Given the earlier two conferences on Merseyside had completed 4-3 to the hosts, it was a extremely anticipated fixture.

‘There was no social media and I’m undecided all of us had cellphones,’ Beresford tells Sportsmail, 25 years on. ‘The TV was usually your first contact with the outside world in the morning. I remember putting it on and that was when we found out Diana had died. I’ll never forget it. Myself and Rob were like, “What? Really? How can this happen?”.

‘We were all staying on the same floor and the other lads started coming out of their rooms. We were talking about conspiracy theories. It didn’t add up. I bear in mind pondering, “How fast were they going?”. You simply assume that the Princess of Wales is taken all over the place safely. We had been in shock.’

By a quirk of destiny, the golf equipment face one another on Wednesday on the anniversary of Diana’s death. But, in 1997, the Premier League took the choice to postpone the sport at round lunchtime, not that all the gamers needed it to be. Newcastle had been on a excessive after qualifying for the Champions League in Zagreb a number of days earlier.

Liverpool meet Newcastle at Anfield on Wednesday - 25 years on from when the fixture was called off after Princess Diana’s death

 Liverpool meet Newcastle at Anfield on Wednesday – 25 years on from when the fixture was called off after Princess Diana’s death

John Beresford was in a Liverpool hotel room on August 31, 1997 when he found out Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed

Rob Lee was in a Liverpool hotel room on August 31, 1997 when he found out Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed

Newcastle team-mates John Beresford and Rob Lee had been in a Liverpool lodge room on August 31, 1997 once they came upon Diana had been killed

‘Looking back now, the magnitude of what had happened and the sadness around it, you understand why it was called off,’ says Beresford. ‘But, if I’m being trustworthy, one in every of my preliminary ideas was, “I hope the game is still on”.

‘It’s recreation day, you’re trying ahead to it. We thought it could go forward at first, however then we had been informed our pre-match schedule wasn’t occurring and we had been getting the coach again to Newcastle.

‘You may suppose that everybody was in settlement concerning the postponement, however plenty of lads had been pondering, “Why? This has happened in France. We want to play”.

‘I was mentally prepared for the game. I was the type who would be stretching in the hotel room first thing in the morning. It’s unusual, however even going residence you need to know when it’s going to be rearranged. I’m a royalist, I used to be upset and shocked by what had occurred, however that’s simply the mentality of knowledgeable athlete. You’re in all probability caught up in {that a} bit.’

The Newcastle players were in a state of shock that Diana had been killed in a car crash in Paris

The Newcastle gamers had been in a state of shock that Diana had been killed in a automotive crash in Paris

It was not till a Tuesday night time in January that the rescheduled recreation went forward, Michael Owen scoring the one aim for Liverpool. He, like Beresford, had needed to play the unique fixture.

‘I remember the Sunday afternoon, walking around Chester shopping with my wife and thinking, “I wish we were playing”,’ Owen tells Sportsmail. ‘I always want to play football but, at the same time, I understood that we couldn’t, given the unhappy circumstances of that day.’

Richard Keys was getting ready to host Sky’s protection of the sport when he acquired the information of Diana’s death on the Lord Daresbury Hotel in Warrington.

‘I was leaving the hotel early in the morning to head to Anfield when I found out,’ he says. ‘Geoff Shreeves then called me to ask if I’d heard. My first thought was that the go well with I had deliberate to put on was not appropriate, so I called by a member of the family and picked up a black one.

Michael Owen scored the only goal for Liverpool in the rescheduled game in January

Michael Owen scored the one aim for Liverpool within the rescheduled recreation in January

‘We started going through rehearsals at Anfield, but we were going through the motions really. What I can’t consider, trying again, is that it took so lengthy for the sport to be called off. The information had damaged earlier than 5am. Anyone ought to have identified we couldn’t play soccer that day.

‘Kenny (Dalglish) was manager of Newcastle and he was ringing me through the morning to see what we knew. Finally, the news came that the game had been postponed. I understand, from a player’s perspective, why they may have needed to play, nevertheless it was completely the best resolution.’

Sky determined to go forward with a 45-minute broadcast from the stadium, with Keys, Andy Gray and Martin Tyler within the studio.

‘We have done games where floodlights have gone out and games have been delayed, but nothing was as challenging as that,’ says Keys. ‘It was surreal. We opened with a shot of the empty Kop, saying, “This should have been full today”.

‘I don’t know the way we crammed the rest of the present. It was a rare day, one thing you expertise solely as soon as in a lifetime, fortunately.’

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