Football fans pay respects 37 years on from Bradford fire disaster

Image: @hilarymotteram/ Twitter

THE football community has joined together to pay their respects 37 years on from the Bradford fire disaster that claimed the lives of 56 football fans.

Former Bradford City player Chris Kamara has led tributes for the 56 football fans that lost their lives in the Bradford fire disaster 37 years ago on May 11.

The Bradford City stadium fire occurred during a Football League Third Division match between Bradford City and Lincoln City on Saturday, May 11, 1985, at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, killing 56 spectators and injuring at least 265.

The 64-year-old, who recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with ‘Apraxia of Speech’, said on Twitter: “Today we remember the 56 football fans who tragically lost their lives in the Bradford fire disaster 37 years ago. 54 Bradford City fans & 2 Lincoln City fans went to watch a football match! Gone but never forgotten #RIP56″.

Bradford City tweeted: “The 56 lives we lost in the Valley Parade Fire Disaster 37 years ago today will be forever remembered.”

Football fans also paid tribute, with one person writing: “Today we remember the 56 fans that tragically lost their life in the Bradford City fire disaster, on this day in 1985. Nobody should ever go to a football match and not return home.”

“Today marks the 37th anniversary of the Bradford disaster when, on 11th May 1985, 54 Bradford City fans and 2 Lincoln City fans lost their lives in the fire that consumed the Valley Parade main stand in a matter of minutes. RIP the 56. You’ll never be forgotten,” another person wrote.

The Bradford Bulls rugby league team wrote: “On the 11th May 1985, 54 Bradford City supporters and 2 Lincoln City supporters tragically lost their lives in the disaster – with hundreds more injured. 

“Chairman Nigel Wood and Chief Executive Jason Hirst will today attend a Memorial Service at the Bradford City Fire Memorial Sculpture in Centenary Square – which takes place from 11am to mark the 37th anniversary.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bradford City Football Club and all those affected by the tragic events that unfolded.”

The fire broke out at the stadium – known for its antiquated design and facilities, which included the wooden roof of the main stand – during the final game of that season, which saw Bradford City presented with the Third Division championship trophy before the game.

However, at around 3.40 pm, a small fire broke out in the main stand, as infamously pointed out by television commentator John Helm.

The fire soon developed into a blazing inferno and engulfed the whole stand. It took less than four minutes from Helm’s words to the devastating scenes that unfolded.

Fans flooded the pitch as they tried to escape while others at the back of the stand tried to break down locked exit doors to escape.

Tragically, many were burnt to death at the turnstiles gates, which had also been locked after the match had begun.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at