The 5 Worst Soccer Stadium Disasters Ever

The 5 Worst Soccer Stadium Disasters Ever

In this feature on soccer scoreboards, I will talk about the worst disasters that soccer stadiums have ever seen.

1. The Ibrox Disaster
This is one of the first disasters recorded in soccer history. On April 5th, 1902, not long before a match between England and Scotland was going to start, the West Tribune Stand, which had been newly built, collapsed right onto the fans. Hundreds of people fell to the ground below the seats, some almost 40 feet. The death toll was 25 and 500 people suffered injuries. The stand was said to have collapsed because of heavy rain the night before.

2. Burnden Park Disaster
On March 9, 1946 in Bolton, Manchester, England, the wall of Burnden Park collapsed onto spectators, causing a stampede to start and ended up killing 33 people. 400 more were injured. This disaster is presumed to have begun as a result of some 20,000 fans that were locked outside the stadium, who then proceeded to break down the stadium gates to see the Stoke City vs. Bolton Wanderers match.

3. Orkney Disaster
On January 13, 1991 at the Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney, South Africa, during a pre-season game played between the Orlando Pirates and the Kaizer Chiefs, one of the Pirates’ fans attacked a supporter of the Chiefs with a knife. All hell broke loose after that and a major stampede erupted, which ended up killing 42 people. The saddest part is that the match played on the stadium was a “friendly”.

4. Bradford City Fire Disaster
On May 11, 1985, fire broke out on the Valley Parade Stadium in Bradford, England. Bradford City (the home team) was playing Lincoln City at the time, when the fire began under the wooden stand. It is believed to have been caused by a lit cigarette that had been discarded under the stand and had fallen onto a rubbish pile that had been under that stand for over 20 years! 56 people were killed in this tragedy, and 450 were injured.

5. The Hillsborough Disaster
On April 15, 1989, on the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, the main gates were opened by the police, and a significant number of fans entered the stadium. It was so quick and sudden, that many of the Liverpool fans were crushed against the fencing. There had already been a massive buildup of fans right outside the turnstiles. Some people were refused entry, but because of the bottleneck that developed, they could not leave. Some 5,000 more fans were trying to enter as well. The police then decided to open another gate, which had originally been the exit. This resulted in a stampede going in the opposite direction. As a result, 95 people were killed, and 766 were injured.

For more information on the Hillsborough disaster, go to:

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