2 January 1971

The second Ibrox disaster kills 66 fans at a Rangers-Celtic association football (soccer) match

Ibrox Disaster, 1971
The 1971 Ibrox Disaster Memorial (geograph 5756553).jpg
A memorial to those who died in the disaster, including a statue of then-captain John Greig, unveiled in January 2001
Date2 January 1971 (1971-01-02)
LocationIbrox Park, Glasgow, Scotland
Coordinates55°51′13″N 4°18′25″W / 55.853727°N 4.306996°W / 55.853727; -4.306996Coordinates: 55°51′13″N 4°18′25″W / 55.853727°N 4.306996°W / 55.853727; -4.306996
Deaths66
Non-fatal injuries> 200

The 1971 Ibrox disaster was a crush among the crowd at an Old Firm football game, which led to 66 deaths and more than 200 injuries. It happened on 2 January 1971 in an exit stairway at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow, Scotland. It was the worst British football disaster until the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, England, in 1989.

The stadium's owner, Rangers F.C., was later ruled to be at fault in a sheriff's judgement on one of the deaths.[1] Rangers did not dispute this ruling, and was sued for damages in 60 other cases brought by relatives of the dead.[2]

Background

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.[3]

Ibrox Park in 1910, with the Copland Road exit at the far corner of the stadium. An equivalent staircase can be seen descending the nearest corner.

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.[4] It was documented that the stairs provided very little freedom of movement due to crowd pressure; many were lifted off their feet by the crowd and had no choice in which lane they were going to use, or at what pace.[5]

On 16 September 1961, two people were killed in a crush on the stairway, and there were two other incidents, in 1967 and 1969. In 1967, eight spectators were injured when leaving the stadium. In 1969, 26 were injured in an accident on Stairway 13 during egress.[6] No steps were taken to consult a professional firm to discuss the potential dangers from crowds on Stairway 13 following these events. Subsequent to the 1961 accident, Rangers had by then spent a total of £150,000 on improvements to Ibrox, a very significant sum of money for the time[7] (£2.3 million in 2018 money).

Events

The disaster occurred on Saturday, 2 January 1971, when 66 people were killed in a crush as supporters tried to leave the stadium. The match was an Old Firm game (Rangers v Celtic) and was attended by more than 80,000 fans.[8][9][10] In the 90th minute, Celtic took a 1–0 lead through Jimmy Johnstone and some Rangers supporters started to leave the stadium. However, in the final moments of the match, Colin Stein scored an equaliser for Rangers.[11]

As thousands of spectators were leaving the ground by stairway 13, it appears that someone may have fallen, causing a massive chain-reaction pile-up of people.

The loss included many children, five of them schoolmates from the town of Markinch in Fife. The youngest child to die was Nigel Patrick Pickup of Liverpool, age 9. Most of the deaths were caused by compressive asphyxia, with bodies being stacked up to six feet deep in the area. More than 200 other fans were injured.

Initially there was speculation that some fans left the ground slightly early when Celtic scored, but then turned back when they heard the crowd cheering when Stein scored the equaliser, colliding with fans leaving the ground when the match ended.[12] The official inquiry into the disaster indicated that there was no truth in this hypothesis, however, as all the spectators were heading in the same direction at the time of the collapse.[12]

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, then a Celtic player, was in the stands when the tragedy occurred.[13] Dalglish would also be present at the Heysel and Hillsborough disasters in 1985 and 1989, respectively.[14]

Consequences

The disaster spurred the UK government to look into safety at sports grounds. In February 1971, Scottish judge Lord Wheatley was asked to conduct an inquiry.[15] His findings, published in May 1972, formed the basis for the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide), first published in 1973.

Exterior view of all-seater Ibrox Stadium, with Stairway 13 corner in the foreground (2008)

A fatal accident inquiry had been held in Glasgow which opened on 15 February 1971.[16] It lasted 7 days, although the jury of four men and three women had been instructed not to make recommendations around safety precautions at football grounds, because an inquiry led by Lord Wheatley would be examining this.[17]

The 1971 disaster led to a huge redevelopment of the Ibrox ground, spearheaded by the then-manager Willie Waddell, who visited Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion for inspiration.[18] After three years' reconstruction work, three-quarters of the ground being replaced by modern all-seater stands, Ibrox was converted to a 44,000-capacity stadium by 1981.[19] Further work in the 1990s increased the stadium capacity to 50,000, and Ibrox was subsequently awarded UEFA five-star status.

The Scottish folk singer-songwriter Matt McGinn (1920–1977) wrote a song called "The Ibrox Disaster" as a tribute to the people who died in the tragic event.

For some years after the 1971 disaster, there was only a small plaque at the corner of the ground where it happened. However, in 1995, Rangers announced plans to commemorate the 66 fans killed in the 1971 disaster.[20][21] On 2 January 2001, the 30th anniversary of the tragedy, a larger monument was unveiled at the corner of the Bill Struth Main Stand and the Copland Road Stand. The monument contains blue plaques displaying the names of each person killed in all three incidents. A statue of John Greig, the Rangers captain at the time of the 1971 disaster, stands atop the monument.

In 2011, the 40th anniversary of the disaster was commemorated before the Old Firm game on 2 January 2011 when a one-minute silence was observed before the game. Both teams wore black armbands as a sign of respect and were led out by John Greig and Billy McNeill – the respective club captains at the time of the disaster (although Billy McNeill had not played due to injury).

Damages claims

Sheriff James Irvine Smith, in his damages statement, ruled: "The said accident was due to the fault and negligence of the defenders, Rangers F.C.".[1] Smith found Rangers F.C. guilty on four counts in the case of the death of Charles Dougan, a 31-year-old boilermaker from Clydebank who died, as did 56 others, from traumatic asphyxia.

After hearing of a series of accidents on Stairway 13 including September 1961 when there were 70 people injured and two deaths, September 1967 when 11 people were taken to hospital, and January 1969 when 29 people were injured, Sheriff Irvine Smith stated,

So far as the evidence is concerned, the Board never so much as considered that it ought to apply its mind to the question of safety on that particular stairway [...] and would appear – I put it no higher – to have proceeded on the view that if the problem was ignored long enough it would eventually go away [...] Indeed it goes further than this because certain of their actions can only be interpreted as a deliberate and apparently successful attempt to deceive others that they were doing something, when in fact they were doing nothing.

— Sheriff Irvine Smith, damages statement.[1]

In the case of Charles Dougan and a further 60 cases brought by relatives of the dead, Rangers F.C. did not dispute the findings of Sheriff Irvine Smith and instead merely disputed the calculation of the damages as can be seen from the appeal judgement of the Sheriff Principal.[2]

In his book, Irvine Smith states that 30, and nearly 40 years after his decision, he is viewed with disapproval by some Rangers-supporting friends, who accuse him of "disloyalty".[22]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Source: National Records of Scotland, Ref: SC36/1972/1/3 Interlocutors (viewing by appointment only).
  2. ^ a b Source: National Records of Scotland, Ref: SC36/1972/1/3 Interlocutors (viewing by appointment only)
  3. ^ (November 1998). "The fatalities at the Ibrox disaster of 1902" (PDF). The Sports Historian. British Society of Sports History. 18 (2): 148–155. doi:10.1080/17460269809445801. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
  4. ^ "OS 1:1,250, 1944–1967". Explore georeferenced maps. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ Dickie, JF (1995). "Major Crowd Catastrophes". Safety Science. 18: 315.
  6. ^ Dickie, JF (1995). "Major Crowd Catastrophes". Safety Science. 18: 315.
  7. ^ Murphy, James (23 February 1971). "Directors evidence on stairway safety". The Glasgow Herald. p. 5. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  8. ^ Harris, Daniel (4 September 2014). "The forgotten story of … Rangers' 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup win". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Rangers 1 — 1 Celtic, Scottish League (02/01/1971) [Rangers team]". Fitbastats. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Rangers 1 — 1 Celtic, Scottish League (02/01/1971) [Celtic team]". Fitbastats. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  11. ^ "On this day — 2 January — 1971: Disaster at Ibrox". BBC. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  12. ^ a b "1971: Sixty-six die in Scottish football disaster". BBC. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Kenny Dalglish: Hillsborough families are magnificent". Liverpool Echo.
  14. ^ "Kenny Dalglish on Liverpool – the club, the fans, the city, and Hillsborough". BBC.
  15. ^ "Wheatley heads safety inquiry". Glasgow Herald. Glasgow. 5 February 1971. p. 1"."
  16. ^ "Ibrox disaster inquiry opens to-day". The Glasgow Herald. 15 February 1971. p. 1. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  17. ^ Murphy, James (24 February 1971). "Rangers urged to seek advice on stairway". The Glasgow Herald. p. 5. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  18. ^ Crampsey, Bob (22 December 1999). "Imperious Ibrox is a ground for celebration". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  19. ^ Inglis, Simon (1996). Football Grounds of Britain. Collins Willow. p. 468. ISBN 0-00-218426-5.
  20. ^ "Memorial to Ibrox disaster planned". The Herald. 21 December 1995. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  21. ^ Ryan, Paul (29 November 2000). "Rangers plan memorial to victims of Ibrox disaster". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  22. ^ Law, Life and Laughter; A personal verdict. Black & White publishers. ISBN 978 1 84502 356 0

External links

2 January 1833

British sovereignty is reasserted over the Falkland Islands.

In 1765, Captain John Byron explored Saunders Island, which lies 1.5 miles off the coast of West Falkland. He named the harbour Port Egmont, and claimed this and other islands for Britain, on the grounds of prior discovery. The next year Captain John MacBride established a British settlement at Port Egmont. The British presence in the west continued, until interrupted by Spain, during the Falkland Crisis from 10 July 1770 to 22 January 1771. Economic pressures led Britain to unilaterally withdraw from many overseas settlements in 1774.

On 20 May 1776 the British forces under the command of Lieutenant Clayton formally took their leave of Port Egmont, leaving a plaque asserting Britain’s continuing sovereignty over the islands. The Falkland Islands remained an important outpost for whalers and sealers who used the islands to shelter from the worst of the South Atlantic weather. By merit of their location, the Falkland Islands have often been the last refuge for ships damaged at sea. Most numerous among those using the islands were British and American sealers, where typically between 40 and 50 ships were engaged in hunting fur seals.

In 1823, after its war of independence against Spain, the United Provinces granted land on East Falkland to Luis Vernet, who first travelled to the islands the following year. That first expedition failed almost as soon as it landed, and a second attempt, in 1826, sanctioned by the British, also failed after arrival in the islands. In 1828, the United Provinces government granted Vernet all of East Falkland, including all its resources, with exemption from taxation if a colony could be established within three years. He took settlers, some of them British, and before leaving once again sought permission first from the British Consulate in Buenos Aires. After receiving consent, Vernet agreed to provide regular reports to the British consul and expressed the desire for British protection for his settlement should they decide to re-establish their presence in the islands.

On Vernet’s return to the Falklands, Puerto Soledad was renamed Puerto Luis. The United Provinces proclaimed Luis Vernet as governor of the islands in 1829. British diplomatic protests at the appointment and declarations of sovereignty were ignored. The United Provinces also granted Vernet exclusive rights to seal hunting in the islands. This too was disputed by the British and US consulates at Buenos Aires but once again the diplomatic protests were ignored. Vernet continued to provide regular reports to the British consul throughout this period.

In 1831, Luis Vernet seized three US vessels hunting seals in Falklands waters, confiscating their catch and arresting their crews. Vernet returned to the mainland, bringing senior officers of the US vessels to stand trial for violating restrictions on seal hunting. The US consul protested violently against the seizure of US ships and the USS Lexington sailed to the Falklands. The log of the Lexington reports only the destruction of arms and a powder store, though in his claim against the US government for compensation Vernet stated that the settlement was destroyed. The Islands were declared free from all government, the seven senior members of the settlement were arrested for piracy and taken to Montevideo, where they were released without charge on the orders of Commodore Rogers.

This latter incident finally convinced the British Foreign Office to reassert its sovereignty claim over the islands. Throughout much of 1832, the United Provinces did not have a government representative in the islands. The Buenos Aires government commissioned Major Esteban Mestivier as the new governor of the islands, to set up a penal colony, but when he arrived at the settlement on 15 November 1832 his soldiers mutinied and killed him. The mutiny was put down by Major José María Pinedo, commander of the United Provinces schooner Sarandí. Order was restored just before the British arrived.

Under the command of Captain John James Onslow, the brig-sloop HMS Clio, previously stationed at Rio de Janeiro, reached Port Egmont on 20 December 1832. It was later joined by HMS Tyne. Their first actions were to repair the fort at Port Egmont and affix a notice of possession.

Onslow arrived at Puerto Louis on 2 January 1833. Pinedo sent an officer to the British ship, where he was presented with the following written request to replace the Argentine flag with the British one, and leave the location.

I have to direct you that I have received directions from His Excellency and Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic Majesty’s ships and vessels of war, South America station, in the name of His Britannic Majesty, to exercise the rights of sovereignty over these Islands.

It is my intention to hoist to-morrow the national flag of Great Britain on shore when I request you will be pleased to haul down your flag on shore and withdraw your force, taking all stores belonging to your Government.

Pinedo entertained plans for resisting, but finally desisted because of his obvious numerical inferiority and the want of enough nationals among his crew. The British forces disembarked on 3 January and switched the flags, delivering the Argentine one to Pinedo, who left on 5 January.

Recognising Vernet’s settlement had British permission, Onslow set about ensuring the continuation of that settlement for the replenishment of passing ships. The gauchos had not been paid since Vernet’s departure and were anxious to return to the mainland. Onslow persuaded them to stay by paying them in silver for provisions and promising that in the absence of Vernet’s authority they could earn their living from the feral cattle on the islands.

The British vessels did not stay long and departed two days later, leaving William Dickson in charge of the settlement. Dixon was provided with a flagpole and instructed to fly the British flag whenever a vessel was in harbour.

Argentina claims that the population of the islands was expelled in 1833; however, both British and Argentine sources from the time, including the log of the ARA Sarandí, suggest that the colonists were encouraged to remain under Vernet’s deputy, Matthew Brisbane.

2 January 1967

Ronald Reagan become the Governor of California.

Ronald Reagan was the Governor of California for two terms, the first beginning in 1967 and the second in 1971. He left office in 1975, declining to run for a third term. Robert Finch, Edwin Reinecke, and John L. Harmer served as lieutenant governors over the course of his governorship.California Republicans were impressed with Reagan’s political views and charisma after his “A Time for Choosing” speech,and nominated him as the Republican party candidate for Governor in 1966.

Reagan’s campaign emphasized two main themes: “to send the welfare bums back to work”, and regarding burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at UC Berkeley, “to clean up the mess at Berkeley”. He was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown by nearly a million votes, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967 at ten minutes past midnight.In 1988, Reagan explained that this time was chosen because his predecessor, Governor Brown, “had been filling up the ranks of appointments and judges” in the days before his term ended. Professor Marcello Truzzi, a sociologist at Eastern Michigan University who studied the Reagans’ interest in astrology, regarded this explanation as “preposterous”, as the decision to be sworn in at that odd time of day was made six weeks earlier, and was based on advice from Reagan’s long-time friend, the astrologer Carroll Righter.

Reagan was elected to his first term as Governor of California on November 8, 1966 with 57.65% of the vote.