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Cottee Column: Hillsborough tributes were emotional

12:57 15 April 2014

EMPICS Sport

Hillsborough anniversary was emotional for West Ham legend

The tributes to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster were beautifully observed and I have to say that it was a very emotional one for me.

I was in the other semi-final for Everton at Villa Park that day and we had absolutely no idea what had happened in Sheffield.

After we had won 1-0 I was celebrating with the crowd, throwing things like my shin pads towards them when a senior policeman came up to me and said I was an absolute disgrace.

I have to admit I gave him a mouthful back, but I really didn’t know what had happened until I got into the communal bath and Kevin Ratcliffe told me that six people had died at Hillsborough.

Of course on the drive home, as the death toll continued to rise, it hit me just how horrific it was. My family were at Villa Park that day, it could have happened to them.

The Everton players went to the service at Anfield and it was the only time I have heard Everton players applauded by Liverpool fans.

There are always one or two people who can’t keep silent for a minute, but the majority at the weekend were absolutely brilliant – it was a credit to football.

Back to the action and it was a pivotal weekend at both ends of the table. Cardiff and Fulham grabbed vital wins, but it is looking back for Norwich City, while at the other end, I hope Liverpool can go on and win the league now.

I think it was ridiculous to sack Chris Hughton at Carrow Road with five games to go, especially before such a vital game as Fulham and looking at their remaining games they may well be joining Sunderland and Cardiff in going down.

Many thought Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace may be down there, but I have to say Tony Pulis has done a fantastic job.

He is a honest, up front guy and he has done superbly to keep Palace up, especially with signings like Scott Dann and Joe Ledley in the transfer window.

When I spoke to him before he took the job, he wasn’t sure he would keep them up, but he has done it brilliantly and with both us and Palace on 37 points, I would not be at all surprised to see a nice little draw to take us both to 38

Dev could be West Ham manager

I have to say a word or two about my mate Alan Devonshire who has done superbly to take little Braintree Town into the play-off positions in the Conference.

On Saturday, they went to top of the table Luton Town, who needed a win to clinch the title. They played for an hour with 10-men in front of a 10,000 plus crowd and came away with a stunning 3-2 victory.

Dev has been a great manager over the years and now he is doing his coaching badges I think he will make an excellent league manager.

Maybe one day, he could even be the boss of West Ham United.

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