This is a serious post about a very tragic event in the history of Rangers Football Club.
Very sadly this wasn’t the first time this thing happened. It was in exactly the same place 69 years before when the first stadium disaster of it’s kind happened in a British football ground:
“The first disaster at Ibrox occurred during a 1902 home international match between Scotland and England. The back of the wooden West Tribune Stand collapsed due to heavy rainfall the previous night, causing 25 deaths and 517 injuries.
During 1963, concerns were raised about the safety of the stairway adjacent to passageway 13 (colloquially known as Stairway 13), the exit closest to Copland Road subway station. On 16 September 1961 two people were killed in a crush on the stairway, and there were two other incidents – in 1967 and 1969 – where several people were injured. Rangers had by then spent a total of £150,000 on improvements to Ibrox, a very significant sum of money for the time.”
And then on Saturday 2nd January 1971, near the end of an Old Firm game when 66 people were crushed. It was once again on Stairway 13 where these people lost their lives…
There’s also a 1 hour documentary.
In the 90th minute of that match Celtic took a 1-0 lead and some fans began to leave the stadium. But then Colin Stein got an equaliser for Rangers in the very last moments. There was speculation that those fans heading out suddenly turned back again when they heard the cheering for Stein’s goal and collided with other supporters leaving. The investigations afterwards though found no evidence of this. All those who died because of compressive asphyxia. There were bodies piled up in the one area and more than 200 others injured.
At the resulting inquiry the board heard about the two other incidents that happened before this one (mentioned above) and Rangers FC were found to be at fault and relatives of the dead or injured were awarded damages. After this there was a huge redevelopment of the ground with three quarters of the ground being replaced by modern all-seater stands.
Not long after the disaster the late Matt McGinn composed this song with all profits going to the Ibrox Disaster Fund:
In 2001 on the thirtieth anniversary of the disaster a monument which contains blue plaques displaying the names of each person killed in all three incidents was unveiled. Atop the monument stands a statue of John Greig, the captain of the Rangers team that day in 1971.
These plaques were replaced later with bricks that had the names of every person who lost their life.