1985: The Bradford City AFC Fire Remembered

Today marks the 32nd Anniversary of the awful events that led to 56 fans deaths. 54 Bradford and 2 Lincoln City fans were lost in the Blaze that consumed Valley Parade that day and injured many more. Today a memorial service will be held in Centenary Square in front of the Bradford City Fire Memorial to pay respect to those lost that day. At the bottom of this article I have posted the names of those who died, as taken from the Bradford City Fire website and would encourage you to take a moment to read them and give them a minutes’ silence.

For Bradford defender, Rory McArdle, this will be his fifth memorial service. He said to the Yorkshire Post,  “We have the memorial this week and, for a few of the lads, this will be their first time. They were asking about it recently. We went through it, making sure they understood. It brings everyone at the club together. The memorial is not an enjoyable time, it is a time to remember those not with us any more.”

The fire that day was started by a dropped cigarette which fell onto rubbish beneath the stand, resulting in flames engulfing the wooden structure. Before the match, Bradford had been presented the Third Division trophy before a jubilant 11,000 fans. But just forty minutes after the whistle, the blaze which injured over 250 other fans spread. The footballing world must send its thoughts today, to those who survived, and to the families and friends of those that did not.

32 years on Bradford find themselves on the way to Wembley to face Millwall. McArdle said, “I am hoping there will be smiles on people’s faces at the same time because the club is at Wembley. Getting to Wembley is a massive achievement. It is something we spoke about at the start of the season, the need to improve on last year and we have now done that. But it won’t count for anything unless we progress and win the final. We need that right result.”

Lincoln have already guaranteed themselves promotion, but on May 20th, it could be The Bantams marking this year with promotion as well. Today the whole of the football community bows it’s heads and sends it’s thoughts to those affected by the events of that awful day.

ACKROYD, John Douglas 32 Baildon

ANDERTON, Edmund 68 Bingley

BAINES, Alexander Shaw 70 Bradford

BAMFORD, Herbert 72 Bradford

BULMER, Christopher James 11 Burley-in-Wharfedale

COXON, Jack Leo 76 Bradford

COXON, Leo Anthony 44 Halifax

CRABTREE, David James 30 Bradford

CRABTREE, Harry 76 Bradford

DEMPSEY, Derek 46 Morley

FIRTH, Muriel 56 Baildon

FIRTH, Samuel 86 Bradford

FLETCHER, Andrew 11 East Bridgford, Nottinghamshire

FLETCHER, Edmond 63 Pudsey

FLETCHER, John 34 East Bridgford, Nottingham

FLETCHER, Peter 32 Gildersome

FORSTER, Nellie 64 Bradford

GREENWOOD, Felix Winspear 13 Denholme

GREENWOOD, Peter 46 Denholme

GREENWOOD, Rupert Benedict 11 Denholme

HALL, Norman 71 Bradford

HALLIDAY, Peter Anthony 34 Bradford

HARTLEY, Arthur 79 Bradford

HINDLE, Edith 79 Bradford

HINDLE, Frederick 76 Bradford

HODGSON, Moira Helen 15 Oakenshaw

HUDSON, Eric 72 Bingley

HUGHES, John 64 Bradford

HUTTON, John 74 Bradford

KERR, Walter 76 Bradford

LOVELL, Peter Charles 43 Bradford

LUDLAM, Jack 55 Bradford

McPHERSON, Gordon Stuart 39 Bradford

McPHERSON, Irene 28 Bradford

MASON, Roy 74 Silsden

MIDDLETON, Frederick Norman 84 Bradford

MITCHELL, Harold 79 Bradford

MUHL, Elizabeth 21 Leeds

NORMINGTON, Ernest 74 Shipley

ORMONDROYD, Gerald Priestley 40 Bingley

ORMONDROYD, Richard John 12 Bingley

ORMONDROYD, Robert Ian 12 Bingley

POLLARD, Sylvia Lund 69 Bradford

PRICE, Herbert 78 Shipley

ROBERTS, Amanda Jayne 20 Bradford

SAMPSON, Jane 18 Leeds

STACEY, William 72 Sleaford, Lincolnshire

STOCKMAN, Craig Albert 14 Bradford

STOCKMAN, Jane Ashley 16 Bradford

STOCKMAN, Trevor John 38 Brighouse

TURNER, Howard Malcolm 41 Bingley

TURNER, Sarah Elizabeth 16 Bingley

WARD, Simon Neil 18 Shipley

WEDGEWORTH, Robert 72 Guiseley

WEST, William James 78 North Hykeham, Lincoln

WRIGHT, Adrian Mark 11 Bradford

Read more at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport/football/special-bond-lies-behind-bradford-city-s-return-to-wembley-1-8537034

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