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Football’s Forgotten Tragedy 34 Years Ago

It is now 34 years since the football industry and more importantly the fans of Bradford City suffered a fire that was to devastate the Valley Parade Stadium, reducing the old wooden main stand to rubble in a matter of minutes.

Whereas the broader issues surrounding Hillsborough are never far from our screens and the supporters of Manchester United insist on remembering those involved in the Munich Air Crash, the Bradford City Fire rarely appears to get a mention despite the fact that 56 lives were lost that day and 265 suffered non-fatal injuries.

When we think back to our early training in a football stewarding operation, one of the first things we concentrated on was a stadium evacuation in the event of a fire. Indeed we still brief this out today at whatever venue we work at, be that a stadium, an arena or even an outdoor green field site. Quite often we forget that it was this event at Valley Parade that gave rise to that training even though when stewarding became the”new way” to manage crowd safety it was largely on the back of Hillsborough where the need to effect a controlled evacuation was different.

I’m sure my safety officer colleagues will join me and the FSOA in remembering the 56 and passing on our good wishes to the families and loved ones.

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