As always Aston Villa will pay respect to our captain Stiliyan Petrov in tonights Semi-Final against Bradford City and I have been asked by a Bradford fan if I could spread the word and ask if we could spread the word to pay respect in the 56th minute to remember those who lost there lives in the Bradford Fire 25 years ago!
Dan Addy sent me the following email:
Although before my time, this is an event which affected family members who attended the game. My Grandad is still unable to talk of the event to this day, and only attended the memorial for the 25th anniversary.On the 11th May 1985, Bradford City were due to play Lincoln City in front of a record crowd, celebrating winning the Division 3 title.After 40 minutes the game was said to be a drab affair, and was locked at 0-0. With 5 minutes to half time, the first small signs of fire became noticeable. This was located in the main stand, next to what is now the North West corner (and home to the Sky box tomorrow evening).The cause was said to be a lit match, cigarette or similar. The fire spread rapidly, engulfing the entire main stand in a matter of minutes. The stand itself was wooden, and was said to be inadequate for modern safety. Due to be replaced the following Monday, the stand which had stood for decades was just 60 minutes from human demolition. What followed became the worst fire disaster in the history of English football.Some supporters rushed to the back of the stand, hoping to leave via the exits. These quickly became blocked, leaving supporters trapped. at 3:43pm, just 3 minutes after the first signs of fire, the entire stand was in flames, with the commentator of the day stating the intense heat from his position in the opposite stand.”They came to celebrate the clubs first promotion to the second division for 50 years, and now they’re running for their lives.”56 fans died in the fire, 54 from Bradford City and 2 from Lincoln.As a mark of respect Bradford fans now chant ”Never Forget the 56” in the 56th minute of the game.If Aston Villa could join with this tomorrow evening it would be a fantastic gesture. The city moved on from the fire, unlike Hillsborough the subsequent report suffered no cover up, and safety changes implemented immediately with the Sir Oliver Popplewell Inquiry. Some of those went to watch a game of football, only never to return. Others went and witnessed horrific injuries and loss of life. They will never be forgotten in this city.