THE IBROX DISASTER, 1971 – A SON’S STORY

These are the poignant words of Craig Smith, whose father  George was one of the 66 football fans who died in the Ibrox Disaster of January 2nd 1971.   

My father was a kind and loving man who always had a smile on his face. In fact he he was smiling the last time I saw him, on the day of the Old Firm game in January 1971. As he put his coat on to go to the game I asked if I could go with him. He laughed and told me I was ‘too wee’ (I was only four) but promised me that he would take me to another game instead.My dad kissed us all goodbye and walked out the door. At about ten to five there was a news flash on TV saying there had been an accident at Ibrox. There was no suggestion of the scale of what had happened, just that some people had been injured.My mother looked worried but not concerned, but as the night wore on she started to get more anxious. They had arranged to go to the golf club dance, so she was concerned that dad hadn’t called. She started to call round friends and family but no one had heard anything.

Then suddenly, the doorbell rang. My brother, Stephen, went to answer it, and I heard a scream from my mum. Stephen and my other brother George were standing with tears pouring down their faces.

He went to the game with his younger brother John, brother-in-law Alex, and two others. They all left together and headed for Stairway 13. As they got to the top they were separated from each other by the mass of supporters trying to leave the ground.

My dad was forced round to the first stairway nearest the wooden fence. John and Alex were forced apart and down the next two stairways. John was unable to move and passed out. My dad was trapped, penned in, between bodies, dead and alive, against the wooden fence, the life being squeezed out of him.

John was passed over a sea of people and over the fence. As he came to, still groggy, he looked up to see his brother, my dad, standing upright, crushed to death, his face resting on the wooden fence.

I will never forget my mother’s scream, the sound of people coming down the stairs of the house, my uncles hugging me and my brothers, saying your ‘Daddy’s dead son, your daddy’s dead.’ I remember thinking ‘They must have got it all wrong, how can he be dead? He was at a football match – people don’t die at football matches’.

After the disaster we received lots of support and comfort from friends and family. But the most touching thing that arrived was a envelope through the door. Inside was £30 and a simple note read ‘Sorry. I hope this can help. From a Tim.’

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