Leeds United chief hails statement Hull City have just put out on Chris and Kev
Both Hull City and Leeds United have released statements ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting of the two clubs.
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Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear has thanked his Hull City counterparts for their role in supporting the families of Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight ahead of Wednesday night’s meeting of the two clubs.
The lifelong Whites supporters were tragically killed following their club in a UEFA Cup semi-final visit to Turkish club Galatasaray in April 2000. That has led to an annual rememberance of the duo as the Elland Road faithful pay their own tribute by turning their backs on the pitch, just as they did in Istanbul after Leeds were forced to play the tie despite the horrific events that preceded it.
Wednesday’s visit to Hull’s MKM Stadium could have provided some tension between the two sets of supporters with the home faithful flying Turkish flags to honour the club’s owner Acun Ilicali - but he has released a heartfelt statement calling on fans to ‘respect’ the travelling support and passed on his thoughts to Chris and Kev’s family and friends.
The statement in full read: "I may now be an owner of a football club, but first, I am a person who lost his parents at the age of 20 and knows what a loss of life means for a family.
"As a football fan who has travelled all over the world to watch the game I love, it's incomprehensible to me that it's possible not to return home from such a trip. I'd like to pass on the thoughts of everyone at Hull City to Chris and Kev's family and friends. As we welcome Leeds United and their fans to the MKM Stadium, I wanted to echo the sentiments of our vice-chairman, Tan Kesler, and ask our fantastic fans to demonstrate what a true family club we are. Be loud, be proud but please respect our guests.
“Football is tribal and passionate, but football is also a family. To both sets of supporters, enjoy the game."
The statement was met with approval from supporters of both sides and Whites chief Kinnear also thanks his Tigers counterpart for their part in reminding fans to ‘keep Chris and Kev’ in mind during the game.
In a statement released on Wednesday, he said: “We would like to thank Acun and Tan for their messages in recent days, it’s great to see that Chris and Kev are in the minds of custodians of clubs across the country.
“We know that Hull City fans have displayed Turkish flags in the crowd since Acun bought the club and therefore it is great to see the club being so proactive in reminding their supporters to keep Chris and Kev in mind ahead of tonight's game.”