The blaze that killed 56 football fans at Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground in 1985 was just one of at least nine fires at businesses owned by or associated with the club’s then chairman, according to extraordinary evidence published for the first time.
The revelations are contained in a book written by Martin Fletcher, a Bradford fan who lost three generations of his family in the stadium fire. Fletcher believes the fire was not an accident and says he and his family are no longer willing to “live the myth”.
The disaster at Valley Parade came at a time, according to Fletcher’s evidence, when the businessman was in desperate financial trouble, unable to pay his workforce beyond that month. Heginbotham had learned two days before the fire it would cost £2m to bring the ground up to safety standards required by Bradford’s promotion from the old Third Division that season. Yet this has never been reported and did not feature in the Popplewell Inquiry, chaired by the then high court judge Oliver Popplewell, which held its investigation only three weeks after the fire.
Now that Bradford is majority Muslim, we can play the “Can you imagine if…?” game.
The English Establishment likes to equate white working class males (especially football fans) with neo-Nazis.
So it’s weird (ok, not really…) how often English authorities seem to be thinking: