Forty Years On: Remembering The Second Ibrox Disaster

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of what could, with justification, be described as British football’s forgotten tragedy. Whereas the disasters of Heysel and Hillsborough took place in front of the nation, live on the television, and the Valey Parade fire of 1985 took places in front of photgraphers and television cameras which ensured iconic images that became instantly part of our mental imagery of the decay of the game during the mid-1980s, the Ibrox Disaster remains obscure in the memory, but it claimed the lives of sixty-six people and had ramifications that would go on to effect the way that everybody in Britain now watches the game. The Ibrox Disaster is more correctly known as the Second Ibrox Disaster, as the ground had already tasted tragedy before in 1971. At a match between England and Scotland played there in 1902, a vast wooden terrace constructed by Archibald Leitch collapsed, killing twenty-five people. It was the first incident of this type at a British football ground of such a scale, and led to this type of wooden terracing rapidly falling from favour. Ibrox did, however, grow to become one of the three Glasgow super-stadia – along with Celtic Park and Hampden Park – with a capacity of 140,000 and which hosted what seems likely to be forever the biggest attendance for a British league match, with almost 119,000 people watching...

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