Friday, 11 May 2007

Bradford Fire

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the Bradford fire. 56 people died when the main stand at Valley Parade caught fire during the last match of the season in 1985. It's strange how proximity in place can make you closer in time and emotion to an event too. I'm in Bradford today where a minute's silence marked several work places and in a few places I've been the talk is of people that died. The footage is shocking (as well as subject to much controversy- Yorkshire TV have worked hard to prevent it from being circulated on the web). The commentary is particularly poignant as you can clearly hear the change in emotion in the commentator's voice as well as the broader change from surprise to panic in the crowd as a whole. It makes me realise how much things have improved since then but, having read some of the reports and comparing it to Hillsborough, it also engenders a sense of anger at how it could have happened in the first place. It's stuff like this that really makes me angry though. From the Guradian article below: 'It was the deaths of 66 supporters at Ibrox in 1971 that led to the introduction of the first piece of legislation that offered protection to sports fans, the 1975 Safety of Sports Grounds Act. Government staggered the legislation's introduction; international and First Division grounds were designated first, with lower division grounds to follow later. Only they did not. After lobbying, the Thatcher government indefinitely postponed further designation on the basis that lower division grounds were not attended in sufficient numbers even though any proposal that public safety legislation be abandoned at other public buildings that held thousands less would have brought uproar.'

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~dboocock/fire.htm

http://football.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9753,1480946,00.html

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