Thursday, January 12, 2012

12 January 1980 - The Ayresome Park Collapse

On 12 January 1980, a portion of Middlesbrough's Ayresome Park collapsed, killing two people. It was the start of a terrible trend in football for the coming decade.

Boro season-ticket holders Irene and Norman Roxby were exiting the ground (pictured) by the South East corner after a 1-1 draw with Manchester United when a brick pillar crumbled, bringing two gates down with it. The Roxbys were crushed by the debris. Some witnesses to the event blamed it on a group of visiting Manchester United supporters, saying they rushed the gates after the match, triggering the collapse. In their defense, however, the United supporters claimed that the rush was sparked by efforts to get away from an over-excited police horse.

Subsequent reports revealed that Middlesborough's safety certificates for the stadium had not been kept up-to-date, though the club claimed that any violation was merely technical and that all safety requirements were either met or exceeded at the time of the incident.

The deaths of the Roxbys were soon dwarfed by larger football-related disasters, including massive losses of life at Moscow's Lenin Stadium in 1982, Bradford City's Valley Parade ground in 1985, Belgium's Heysel Stadium in 1985, and Hillsborough in 1989. The Taylor Report followed the latter in August 1989, recommending the elimination of standing areas in favor of all-seater grounds. That requirement ultimately doomed Ayresome Park, which made way in 1995 for Middlesbrough's new Riverside Stadium.

15 comments:

  1. i was at that match .it was man utd fans going crazy .my dad chucked me over the wall .then he followed me he broke hes foot .then the lott came crashing down .cops on horses were all over them doors what fell and hundreds of fans .we didnt no untill the papers were out.ill never forget that 8 year old at the very front were it all happend.getting chucked over that wall .

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  2. Footballs forgotten tragedy.

    United fans were a disgrace that day, as they were all the time.

    Their behaviour led directly to the deaths. There should be an inquest and prosecutions.

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    1. I agree that was my mother's family and the year I was born

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  3. United fans were a disgrace that day.

    After they pushed the wall over they ran riot, whilst people were crushed and dying underneath the wall.

    An absolute disgrace this is never remembered!

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  4. United fans were a disgrace that day.

    After pushing the wall over they rioted whilst people lay dying & injured underneath.

    It's terrible that this is not remembered

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  5. Id just like to clear a few things up from a United fans prespective who was there that day. When the match finished, we were all kept behind by the police in the concourse area in the Clive Rd corner. After a few minutes, missiles, stones, bricks, bottles etc came flying over the wall from outside the ground into the United fans. Boro fans were outside, chanting and goading the United fans. I openly admit, United did charge at the big gate to get out and fight with the Boro fans and the big brick pillars holding the hinges of the gates, and a section of the wall collapsed, crushing the Boro fans outside, many of who were innocently queuing up for FA Cup tickets for a game against Alverchurch if I remember correctly. I don't remember any fighting taking place once both sets of fans realised there were people trapped under the rubble and United and Boro fans were all helping to clear the bricks off the trapped fans. There was no 'Rioting' whilst people lay dying and injured and whilst I admit that United fans rushing the gate did cause the wall to collapse and our behaviour was far from innocent, the Boro fans who bombarded us with missiles in the first place must take some responsibility for what followed. Theres two sides to every story....RIP Mr & Mrs Roxby

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  6. Can't believe the post above.

    Its almost as if it is exonorating blame from the Utd fans. No witnesses to any provocation from Boro fans except this.

    The deaths of Norman & Irene Roxby needs to be investigated, those Utd fans responsible for killing them need to be brought to account.

    And what about MUFC? Every year we hear about Munichs terrible events, caused by a tragic accident, but the club themselves don't even recognise the deaths their fans caused.

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    1. What part of this line from my above post dont you understand?....'whilst I admit that United fans rushing the gate did cause the wall to collapse and our behaviour was far from innocent',... Also, you doubt my eye witness account of the provocation from Boro fans because its the first post on here to mention it? You think I've made that up? You want the deaths of Mr & Mrs Roxby investigating and those United fans 'responsible' for killing them brought to account 35 years after the event? I'm sure Teesside Police and Magistrates will have dealt with it at the time. Were you at this match in 1980? Were you outside the ground when the wall collapsed? What is your eye witness recollection of the events that day? You obviously, for whatever reason, don't believe my version so I'd like to hear yours. I may well be wide of the mark here and please accept my apologies if I'm wrong, but I've got a feeling you weren't even born when it happened. RIP Mr & Mrs Roxby

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    2. As you say, United fans were far from innocent (basically an admittance if guilt?)

      We see the Hilsboro disaster now being investigated so why not this & those fans responsible brought to justice? Time shouldn't be a detterent. ...it isn't for hilsboro?

      Also, United fans use Heysel as a way if goading Liverpool fans yet that went to court. Whilst I feel the verdicts were lenient at least they had their day in court!

      Also, disgusting how Utd fans sing about Heysel yet most don't even know their own murderous past.

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    3. You seem very desperate to discredit Manchester United fans behaviour in this very sad and tragic incident but very reluctant or unable to discuss the role the Boro fans played, You also seem adamant that the fans responsible are brought to justice. Does this include the Boro fans who provoked the incident or is it just the Manchester United fans who retaliated who you want punished?

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  7. I was also in the away section on the day. My recollection was that United fans were not told that they were going to be kept in so they proceeded to exit over the back of the terrace down into the corner behind the gates. This lead to crush behind the gates. Then as mentioned above missiles WERE thrown over the gate which caused both anger and panic. After the gate collapsed and the crush abated I don't remember much trouble as word soon got round that someone had been hurt. Whilst neither set of fans were innocent the real culprit was yet again the way that football grounds, stewards and the police used to treat football fans as cattle. The crumbling state of many grounds was also a consideration. It's unfortunate that it took Heysel, Bradford, Hillsborough and this event to change the face of football.

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  8. United fans showed their true colours in the UEFA Cup game against Liverpool. Vile chants about the deaths of 96 people but hide behind Hysel being the reason, like that's any better? Never heard a whole end of supporters singing such bile for 90 minutes. Should try supporting their own team instead of obbsessing over Liverpool, whether their playiny them or not. Munich hasn't been sung about on mass for 15, 20 years or more, just a few individual morons. BT putting microphones in front of the United support showed them for what they really are.

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    1. United fans are never guilty, didn't you know that? They're never to blame for anything that happens, and any time there is chanting about Hillsborough/Heysel, it's always from "a vocal minority" who "aren't proper United fans", yet somehow have still managed to get tickets to one of the biggest European away days in their history.

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  9. I was at Ayresome Park that day and there was fighting in that corner throughout the game. The tragedy was symptomatic of the awful state of football grounds prior to the Hillsborough disaster. I follow United and I was caught in a terrible crush in Leppings Lane at Hillsborough in 1985. That ground was inadequate for occasional full houses and it was only fortune that smiled on Utd fans that day and smote those poor Liverpool fans a few years later. However, only immediately after this did the Liverpool fans stop their vile Munich chants, and this behaviour is why there is so much ill feeling from United fans to Liverpool fans

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