A heartfelt plea regarding the inquiry

By “Mark”

15 years old I had experienced a wonderful season following all the home games and had even been on my first away day to Bolton, the old Burnden Park, a few days previous to witness the win that gave Bradford City the third division championship.

And so it came that I was in the old Bradford End on Saturday 11 May, 1985, my dad elsewhere in the ground. School mates all around us bouncing, singing, sharing the 10p bag of sweets we used to get from the ramshackle old tea bar in the corner by the players’ tunnel. Proud as punch, we were champions.

I remember then the panic, the fear and the nightmarish experience of witnessing what happened that afternoon. I remember seeing things unfold in front of me that no-one, never mind a 15 year old should witness. I remember walking across the field and seeing a man badly burnt, propped up against the midland road advertising boards, looking at his own damaged hands in shock. And I remember how, as I stood waiting for the bus 20 minutes later, that the recognition came that the burned man I’d seen was my Dad.

There are a thousand other recollections of that afternoon, evening and following weeks and months that I could go into but won’t. Although my Dad recovered physically after many operations and weeks in hospital, he has never been back to a game at Valley Parade since. I remember the tears, the anguish and the pain of the weeks and months that followed and the mental scars that I’m sure he still harbours but doesn’t share. I know he saw and experienced worse than me, and mine are sometimes hard to bear.

This is a personal note to the powers that be – I’m sure this isn’t an isolated story. Leave history where it belongs, in the past. We can only look forward and recover, looking back is not going to help the hundreds like my Dad. Whatever happened, happened. Leave it alone, and let us continue to move forward.

We don’t need vengeance, we are not vindictive. We merely need to heal.

Categories: Opinion

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11 replies

  1. Amen to that

  2. Unfortunately whilst Fletcher still has his book to sell this isn’t going to happen.

  3. Totally agree best left alone this will not help the healing process.

  4. I can’t fine anyone who thinks differently and i’m still waiting for an email back from my MP Naz Shah which I sent on Saturday evening.
    The message needs hammering home to these people, we’ve had enough.

  5. Great piece Mark and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Leave this history alone – there is nothing positive to be gained by any other action. Great idea to lobby our MP’s.

  6. Whilst not everyone has as moving a story as yours to tell about that fateful day we are virtually all at one in not wanting any further recriminations. We can but hope and pray that common sense prevails

  7. Just leave it plz people just want to be left aloan it still hurts why drag it all back up

  8. Echo all the above. Those of us there that day will never forget…what on earth is to be achieved by re-visiting?

  9. we carry our own personal demons from that day and deal with them on our own way. We are Yorkshiremen, we move on.

  10. This piece is both powerful and emotional. Well done Mark for writing it, I imagine that it can’t have been easy.

  11. Thank you for sharing this and agreed . . We need to keep on moving forward not looking over our shoulders at an unchangeable past.

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