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Bradford City memories

 



LondonBuck
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Feb 9, 2013, 1:57 AM

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Bradford City memories Can't Post or Reply Privately

I hope nobody minds me starting a thread on the forum relating to the tragic fire at Valley Parade in 1985.
It upsets me even now to look at the footage of it.
We used to be shown this as part of our fire training course for many years, hence it is embedded in my mind. I don't wish to go over the cause of it again all these years later, I just wanted to ask some questions.
Did any of you on here actually sit in that stand on your visit?
If you did go there what memories do you have of the place?
Which stand was the replacement for this? Is it the large main stand that is there currently on the opposite side to Midland Road?
Were any houses or nearby buildings demolished or is the surrounding area still unchanged?
Finally, does anyone know where the memorial is located, as I would very much like to see this on my visit.



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


(This post was edited by LondonBuck on Feb 9, 2013, 2:00 AM)


Bantam Cymraeg
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Feb 9, 2013, 8:49 AM

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Re: [LondonBuck] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I've seen more than 400 matches at Valley Parade, and yes, I was there on that day. As well as the seats under the main stand roof there was also a narrow strip of terracing called The Paddock, and that's where I was standing, not far from where it started. Very easy to get on to the pitch over a low wall from there, and being a young lad of 19 at the time I was one of the first ones to get out of the stand. Not so easy for those in the seats, especially the old or young, who had two walls to climb over (one into the Paddock, then another on to the pitch), which is why many headed for the back of the stand where the exit gates were locked. Enough of that, I'm still shaking after just writing about it after all these years.

The main stand is the replacement. It's been extended upwards since it was originally built, with the top tier being opened during our 2nd season in the Prem (and we're still paying for it Frown). The surrounding area is pretty much unchanged, although I think a few houses behind the stand were demolished to build a supporters' bar (which I think is now a gym). The stand was built over what was a larger car park than the one there today.

There are two memorials. One is on the back of the main stand, and lists all the names and ages of those who died. Incredible reading it, seeing boys as young as 11, and people in their 80s. Looking at the surnames it's obvious that there were fathers/sons, uncles/nephews, brothers, couples etc. Very moving. The other memorial is in the city centre, in a little garden in the new City Park area. Very small, and very apt. We don't go large on memorials, and that's just how we like it.

Anyroad, enjoy your visit, and thanks for taking the opportunity to research the history. If you want to know anything else about that day, or the history of the rebuilding of the ground just let me know.


LondonBuck
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Feb 9, 2013, 9:04 AM

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Re: [Bantam Cymraeg] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Oh I am sorry to hear that you were there, that is why I was reluctant to post about it. Frown
But thank you for your reply, I will certainly look for both memorials on my visit before going round to the away side.



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


(This post was edited by LondonBuck on Feb 9, 2013, 9:09 AM)


thowdreds
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Feb 9, 2013, 9:40 AM

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Re: [LondonBuck] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I sat in the stand on my visit to Valley Parade some years before the fire but watching the pictures on TV left me with a distinct feeling of that could have been me. A tragic day.


jrev61
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Feb 9, 2013, 9:49 AM

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Re: [thowdreds] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I went to Bradford City v.Walsall the same season as the fire and sat in the same stand.
The bag I had with me got covered in a creosote like substance that had been sprayed on the wooden base of the stand, I imagine this would be highly inflamable.
Yet I saw no mention of this fact in any of the reports.
Incidentally a girl who lived opposite me and who went to school with me, was actually at the Bradford v.Lincoln game with her boyfriend. For those who don't know me, I live in Northampton.



jrev61


Mishi
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Feb 9, 2013, 10:30 AM

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Re: [jrev61] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

i can't remember the name of it, I'm not at home to check, but there was a book published on the fire.



Grounds visited: 732
Last new ground:Old Rutlishians' FC; Poplar Road, Merton Park, London, SW19. (Surrey South Eastern Combination Division One)
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Matches watched this season: 73
2017/18-New English grounds: 9; & foreign: 2




Bantam Cymraeg
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Feb 9, 2013, 10:37 AM

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In Reply To
i can't remember the name of it, I'm not at home to check, but there was a book published on the fire.


This one -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...adford/dp/1903158737


PhilT
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Feb 9, 2013, 10:50 AM

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Re: [jrev61] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I too sat in that stand for a game against Posh in December 1981. Certainly got a feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I" when the fire happened. Just looked out the programme and I still have the ticket issued, which cost me 2.20. I remember quite a low covered terrace opposite the main stand, and a large open Kop to the left, but don't remember what was at the other end.

My only other visit was almost exactly 14 years later for another Posh match where I was in the current away end upper tier. I think that the rest of the ground had been redeveloped by then, but can't recall exactly.


Mr. T
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Feb 9, 2013, 11:28 AM

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Re: [LondonBuck] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

These photos (different photographers, different dates) were taken in the 70s from similar positions on the Kop. The Midland Road shed replaced an older grandstand (see 'bantamspast' link below).

Main stand:


Midland Road stand:


More here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluterrier955/sets/72157626076373267/detail/

And here: http://www.bantamspast.co.uk/history/rockbottom.html


LondonBuck
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Feb 9, 2013, 12:22 PM

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In Reply To

In Reply To
i can't remember the name of it, I'm not at home to check, but there was a book published on the fire.


This one -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/...adford/dp/1903158737

I have just bought said book in Bradford.



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


LondonBuck
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Feb 9, 2013, 8:15 PM

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Re: [Bantam Cymraeg] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Really enjoyed my visit.
Its such a big ground! Especially when viewed from the base of that old high wall at the rear of the Dallas stand.
The changing room area and steps of terrace next to it plus the wall by the turnstiles that end all look rather old, do they date from before 1985?
I was intrigued by the two traffic lights on the floodlight pylon in that corner too Unsure



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


(This post was edited by LondonBuck on Feb 9, 2013, 8:18 PM)


Bantam Cymraeg
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Feb 10, 2013, 9:40 AM

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In Reply To
The changing room area and steps of terrace next to it plus the wall by the turnstiles that end all look rather old, do they date from before 1985?
I was intrigued by the two traffic lights on the floodlight pylon in that corner too Unsure


Yes - that's the only part of the ground left from before the fire. As for the traffic lights - no idea, never even noticed them! Glad you enjoyed your visit, although I couldn't believe it when I got home from my match and saw the result and the scorer Unsure


LondonBuck
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Feb 10, 2013, 5:43 PM

Posts: 3982
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In Reply To

In Reply To
The changing room area and steps of terrace next to it plus the wall by the turnstiles that end all look rather old, do they date from before 1985?
I was intrigued by the two traffic lights on the floodlight pylon in that corner too Unsure


Yes - that's the only part of the ground left from before the fire. As for the traffic lights - no idea, never even noticed them! Glad you enjoyed your visit, although I couldn't believe it when I got home from my match and saw the result and the scorer Unsure

Thanks, yes there are two sets of traffic lights fixed to the floodlight pylon in that corner, I only saw them on green so I presume its a safety feature to alert the stewards of any incident?
Laugh Sorry about the result, we sometimes get days when everything falls into place perfectly on our trips and the outcome is inevitable, these days don't come round very often so we have to make the most of them Angelic
Seriously though I did enjoy Bradford and thought the stewards did a great job, one was even encouraging the away fans to cheer!
The location is very atmospheric, and now when I think of Bradford I feel I have taken away some good memories to recall alongside the sad ones that have been thought about for many years. Smile



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


(This post was edited by LondonBuck on Feb 11, 2013, 8:16 AM)


jon b
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Feb 10, 2013, 9:08 PM

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In Reply To
We used to be shown this as part of our fire training course for many years


One of the stewards training courses I attended included a full showing of the Yorkshire TV coverage of the fire. As the course was actually held at Valley Parade it felt all too close at hand.

I think one of the press photos shown was a close up of the very beginning of it all with (from memory) the club safety officer watching smoke rising between the seats a few yards from where he stood. It's frightening to think that there were only a few minutes between that picture of the first sign of there being a problem (but few people reacting), to the Stand being completely engulfed in flames. One photo, taken a little later, showed a policeman using his helmet to shield his face from the heat of the fire. He was stood in the centre circle at the time.

Back in 1985 the fire had made me suddenly realise that the nice warm old wooden John Street Stand at Bramall Lane where I used to have a season ticket, had all too many of the same features as that destroyed at Bradford. Standing terrace at the front, with wooden seats etc behind and an absolute warren of narrow stairs and passages to navigate to exit out of the seated areas.

It seemed to be almost straight away after the fire that steps were installed to allow people to exit forwards from the seated parts onto the terraces and, if necessary, then on to the pitch. A lesson learnt the hard way, as with Hillsborough a few years later.


yorkieexile
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Feb 11, 2013, 10:53 AM

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At that time I was hopping round League grounds, and on that day had a choice of 2 games to go to, at Oxford United or Bradford City, where each home team was being presented with the league trophy. As Oxford was closer to home in Cheltenham, that is where I went with my 3 sons.

Earlier in the season I had been to a game at Valley Parade, over Xmas, v Bolton Wanderers, and had sat in that main stand with one of my sons (who is now in Afghanistan)

Seeing the footage really brought it home to me, and the next time I was at my parents' house a couple of months later I went to pay my respects at the stadium - and was extremely moved by seeing a picture of twin boys who had died in the fire - all dressed up in City kits - and almost the same age as my twin sons - I admit to being in tears at that moment

On the Tuesday after the fire, I was at Bristol Rovers for a game against York City, with the minurte's silence beforehand, which was impeccably observed by all


Part-Timer
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Feb 11, 2013, 3:04 PM

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Re: [yorkieexile] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I spent my student days in Bradford and went to pretty much every home game during term time and almost always sat in the ill-fated stand. I remember my impressions of it on my first visit; I was stunned that such a rickety old wooden structure was allowed. I took 1985 off from university and was consequently not in Bradford on the fateful day. In fact I went shopping with my now wifeUnsure who I had met not long before (it wouldn't happen now Wink). As it was the days before mobiles etc when I got home I put teletext on to see the results and saw Bradford A-A Lincoln. I cursed about yobs ruining the promotion party as crowd violence was an automatic assumption for the abandonment in those days. A little later I saw the TV news and was stunned. I remember faces that I was familiar with from the crowd, but whose names I didn't know, talking about their experiences on the TV and I just sat feeling numb. Ever since I have wondered what other familiar faces lost their lives that day.

A few days later I went to the Freight Rover Trophy Semi Final between Brentford and Newport when a minute's silence was held. I simply broke down in floods of tears. A got a few embarrassed looks but then a lovely lady who I have never seen since started hugging me and making sure I was OK. After that an unbelievable number people patted me on the back, checking that I was fine, telling me not to be embarrassed and saying how awful it was. I had never experienced such friendliness in a football ground.

Although there were more awful tragedies in football grounds to come I look back at that day and think of it as the beginning of the end of football fans being treated like animals. In the aftermath they (we) showed ourselves to be compassionate, decent human beings not just mindless hooligans. Whenever I return I always look at the memorials and wonder how differently things could have turned out for me if I had not chosen to spend that year away from Bradford but for me the greatest memorial is the magnificent grounds that we now have around the country, and Valley Parade is one of them.


Mishi
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Feb 13, 2013, 1:58 PM

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I hope this doesn't sound to soppy, it's not meant to me, but reading your last post makes me realise how lucky we all are, really. Your post was extremely moving, & I'm genuinely holding back the tears on my own, sitting at my laptop in my kichen, reading it. I can only multiply that by a million, add another nought or two, to begin to imagine how you must have felt at the time.



Grounds visited: 732
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Matches watched this season: 73
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LondonBuck
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Feb 14, 2013, 2:28 AM

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In Reply To
I hope this doesn't sound to soppy, it's not meant to me, but reading your last post makes me realise how lucky we all are, really. Your post was extremely moving, & I'm genuinely holding back the tears on my own, sitting at my laptop in my kichen, reading it. I can only multiply that by a million, add another nought or two, to begin to imagine how you must have felt at the time.

I certainly know where you are coming from on this one.
Reading the book I purchased at the weekend is even more harrowing than watching the footage.
I'm having to stop after every few chapters to take it all in, there are some truly moving stories told in the 190 pages and I'm not ashamed to admit that a hanky will be required to finish this book.



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


LondonBuck
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Feb 15, 2013, 1:27 AM

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Now finished the book.
I am so glad I managed to get a copy.



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


oxpete
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Sep 10, 2016, 12:32 PM

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Re: [LondonBuck] Bradford City memories [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The afternoon play on Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Wednesday 14th September is 'The 56' by Matt Woodhead and Gemma Wilson, about the Valley Parade fire in 1985, and drawing on real-life testimonies of witnesses.





LondonBuck
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Sep 14, 2016, 10:59 AM

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In Reply To
The afternoon play on Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Wednesday 14th September is 'The 56' by Matt Woodhead and Gemma Wilson, about the Valley Parade fire in 1985, and drawing on real-life testimonies of witnesses.

Excellent, I will listen, thank you.



620 GROUNDS - Buckingham Athletic (57/92)
569 WETHERSPOONS - Bletchley
1 WETHERSPOONS HOTEL


oxpete
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Sep 14, 2016, 5:40 PM

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It is now on the BBC radio listen-again...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v2mds

By Matt Woodhead, Gemma Wilson and the FYSA Theatre Company.





alan hindle
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Feb 13, 2017, 11:23 PM

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Have only just now noticed this subject.


I always remember that I sat in the very part of the stand where the fire started and was there just four months before watching my team Wigan Athletic in the then Division Three v top of the table Bradford City, who actually went on to win the League at the end of that season. We lost the game 2-4. I did go to see the Bantams play West Brom in Division Two at Odsal Stadium on 12th Dec '86 in season 1986-87 where they were playing while Valley Parade was being re-built. A certain Garth Crooks was playing for Albion in that game. Albion won the game 3-1, but actually finished below the Bantams at the end of the season.
I did go to the newly built Valley Parade later, but that was a very sad happening and is still remembered clearly.


yorkieexile
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Feb 14, 2017, 7:50 AM

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Like you, Alan, I had been to Valley Parade earlier in the season for an Xmas game v Bolton Wanderers, with 2 of my 3 children.. We sat in the stand where the fire started, and I think very close to where it started.

On the day of the fire I chose between Bradford City or Oxford United, as both home sides had won their respective leagues. Thankfully I chose Oxford.

The next time I was at my parents' house in Gomersal, I went to Valley Parade, to pay my respects. There was a picture of twins, wearing their City kit, who along with their father perished in the fire. The twins were the same age as my twins, and I am not ashamed to say I burst into tears then.


TroubleAtMill
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May 11, 2018, 9:16 AM

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33 years on

May they continue to RIP

 
 


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