Formers players from Lincoln City FC will face Bradford City Veterans in a charity match commemorating the victims of a tragic fire that claimed the lives of 56 people. The two teams will play each other at the LNER Stadium at 2pm on Saturday, October 8, with proceeds going towards several charities including a burns unit in Bradford.
The fire broke out at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford during a Division Three match on Saturday, May 11 1985, claiming the lives of almost 60 people and injuring at least 265 others. With the 40th anniversary approaching, Cllr Biff Bean, the mayor of Lincoln, said the organisers felt it was the right time to ‘keep the memory alive’ and to let their loved ones and friends know that ‘the people of Lincoln will never forget them’.
The blaze started out a small fire in the main stand but it quickly spread through the stadium, engulfing the entire stand in less than four minutes. Among those who died were Lincoln supporters Bill Stacey and Jim West, for whom the Stacey West stand at the Imps’ LNER Stadium is named.
Cllr Bean added: “It is a fitting tribute to them that this historic game is being played while the redevelopment of the Stacey West stand is underway.” He added: “A massive thank you to the Bradford City Veterans and the people of Bradford who have travelled to Lincoln for today’s game.
“You are, and always will be, welcome.” Gavin Gordon, the chairman of Lincoln City Former Players Association, said both teams have a ‘wealth of league experience’ in their sides and that he hoped it would be the start of a regular series.
The Imps will be wearing the retro blue away shirt to commemorate the fateful away game, with Mr Gordon adding: “Lincoln City played in the kit on the day so I thought it would be good to play in it [again].”
A few of the match-worn shirts will be auctioned after the game to raise money for the Bradford Burns Unit, which was set up in the wake of the fire.
Tickets are on sale for adults at £10, for children at £5, and a family of four can get in for £20.