Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bradford remembered

I wanted to post about this in more detail but unfortunately time simply got away from me.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Bradford Fire. 56 people lost their lives at Valley Parade on 11 May 1985.

Here's an excerpt from an article that Two Hundred Percent republished today (please follow this link and read the full post):
On the 11th of May 1985, there was something of a party atmosphere around Valley Parade. Bradford had been crowned the Third Division champions a few days beforehand, and their captain, Peter Jackson, was prevented with the trophy before the kick-off. The crowd of a shade over 11,000 people was their best of the season, and more than double their average for the season. The match itself seemed to be taking second place to the celebrations. Just before half-time, though, Yorkshire TV commentator John Helm spotted smoke coming from one end of the stand. Within minutes, the stand’s bitumen and tar roof had caught fire, and the whole construction had become engulfed in a flash fire. Many of the crowd had already come onto the pitch, several of them on fire. The majority of deaths came at the back of the stand, where fans had rushed for the fire exits, only to find them locked to prevent people without tickets from getting into the ground. Fifty-six people died.
It is often referred to as the "forgotten" football tragedy. Perhaps it is. For most football fans the day is seared into the memory, along with the other tragedies that have shaped our shared experience of doing nothing more than supporting our clubs.

This is an excerpt from Sporting Reflection's post:
Today, 25 years to the day after the fire which devastated the community, memorial services are being held at Bradford's Centenary Square, Bradford Cathedral and at the Valley Parade ground.

More complete details of the tragedy, along with stories and tributes, are plentiful both online and in the broadcast media today. If you are not familiar with the events, they are worth a look, if only for a reminder of how far stadium safety has progressed in the past 25 years.

For those of us who are old enough to recall the images and emotions associated with that tragic day, the mere mention of the Bradford fire is more than enough. We remember.
Football has changed a lot. It had to. But we can never forget the darkest moments.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."