Reading have insisted the minute's silence they will hold before their match this Saturday will be in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, not for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Mrs Thatcher died on Monday and the Royals chairman John ?Madejski said the ex-Tory leader deserved to be remembered with a the honour.

But the club has now confirmed that the silence, which will take place before their game with Liverpool where the ex-PM was particularly unpopular, will be for the 96 fans who lost their lives in Sheffield Wednesday's stadium in 1989.

A statement read: "Supporters of Reading Football Club and Liverpool Football Club will hold a minute's silence before Saturday's fixture at Madejski Stadium as a mark of respect for the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

"With the game falling two days before the 24th anniversary of the tragedy, plans began last week for a fitting tribute to the 96 supporters who lost their lives. The Royals contacted Liverpool FC; spoke to the Premier League earlier today and they of course agreed it was absolutely correct to pay respect on such an occasion.

"Earlier this season Madejski Stadium held a fitting tribute to the 96, with all of our supporters rising to salute the playing of You'll Never Walk Alone at our home game with Tottenham, shortly after the publishing of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

"And when we played at Anfield earlier this season, a collection of Reading flags and scarves were left by our supporters at the Hillsborough memorial next to the Shankly Gates."

Yesterday Royals chairman Madejski said: "We have got to appreciate that Margaret Thatcher was a world leader who did so much for this country. So much that she deserves a minute's silence.

Reading chairman Sir John Madejski: Thinks Thatcher should be honoured

"The funeral's going to take place at St Paul's attended by the Queen and Prince Philip so I think it would be a fitting tribute from the world of football to Margaret Thatcher, one of our greatest leaders," he told Radio Five Live.

Reflecting on the possibility of a silence being spoiled by dissenting factions, Madejski added: "Obviously I can appreciate that perhaps some people won't pay attention to it which is sometimes the way at football but I just think she was such a colossus in terms of the world stage that she deserves that respect from the whole nation.

"No colossus like that strides the world's stage without disenfranchising people at some stage or another, however the positive things that Margaret Thatcher achieved for our country speaks volumes and I think that outshines things that might not be considered so brilliant like the poll tax and so on."

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan said football should pay its respects to Thatcher and claims Manchester United should have held a one-minute silence before the derby match against City on Monday.

Whelan said: “We owe Mrs Thatcher a minute’s silence. It is not my decision, it is for the FA to decide but I would be in favour of wearing an armband out of respect.

“We have to say thank-you very much for the services the former PM has given us. Mrs Thatcher was a very, very special lady and a very special Prime Minister.”

Whelan added he could not understand large sections of the population not wanting to recognise her passing.

The Football Supporters' Federation says it supports the decision not to have a universal minute's silence for Thatcher during this weekend's fixtures.

The Premier League and Football League have not asked clubs to formally mark the former Prime Minister's passing, and the FA Cup semi-final between Millwall and Wigan is also due to go ahead without a silence.

"The FSF backs the decision made by the football authorities not to impose a minute's silence across all fixtures this weekend to mark the death of Margaret Thatcher," read the statement.

"Should individual clubs wish to hold a minute's silence or commemorate the passing of Margaret Thatcher in their own manner that is a matter for them."

The statement added: "We would expect that most fans' thoughts this weekend will turn to the friends and families of those 96 fellow supporters who lost their lives at Hillsborough 24 years ago."

Former sports minister Richard Caborn said Thatcher had "not been forgiven" in many communities and that any attempt to hold a minute's silence at football matches would backfire.

1989, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher flanked by Sports Minister Colin Moynihan and Sir Douglas Hurd, visiting Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield
Margaret Thatcher at Hillsborough after the disaster

Caborn told Press Association Sport: "In many places, especially in the north, Margaret Thatcher has not been forgiven for what she did to industry, to the miners and their communities which suffered immensely under her.

"To then ask for a minute's silence at a game of football is the wrong thing to do.

"I think the FA and Premier League have acted pragmatically and correctly.

"It's a pragmatic decision they could not control the fans if they decided not to respect the minute's silence, as would almost certainly happen at some grounds."

Aviva Premiership rugby club Saracens have announced they will hold a minute of silence to "respect the memory of Baroness Thatcher" ahead of their game against Worcester at Allianz Park on Sunday.