John Bowden’s story: ‘Then all of a sudden the heat hit you’

I was 15 years old on that fateful day of 11th May 1985 when we lost 56 brothers & sisters to the fire. I remember meeting my mates on Tong Street in the De-Lacy pub at 12.00 for a beer!

bradford_delacyIt was one of them boozers in them days that let you have a sneaky beer (even though they knew you weren’t old enough), then we caught the 617 bus that came up from Holmewood into town to call at the old crown to see the stripper before making our way up to the ground.

In them days we were Bradford-enders but for some reason we ended up in the paddock in the main stand by G block where the fire started. The atmosphere was great, the Bradford end was full and singing its heart out the kop was doing the same and the paddocks in the main stand were doing the same even the midland road broke out into “we love you city we do”.

The match kicked off and it was party time, we had just won the third division, we were champions. For some reason we decided 10 minutes before half time to move towards the Bradford end as City would be kicking that way in the second half when all of a sudden Bradford City’s history would be changed forever.

At first I saw people jumping on the pitch up towards G block from where we had moved, I thought they were jumping on to attack the Lincoln fans in the Midland Road. None of us had a clue what was going on until the police and players started coming towards us telling us to get on the pitch.

My first reaction was to go towards the gates at the back of the stand but my friend Chris Price pushed me towards the white wall at the front of the stand, it didn’t look big from pitch side but in the stand I bet it was a good 5 or 6 ft to climb over.

Chris gave me a leg up, and over I went, we were pulling people over as we realised the stand was now on fire then all of a sudden the heat hit you.

It’s hard to explain how it felt, but if you have ever stood in front of a fireplace or a bonfire and you can feel your clothes scorching, that’s how it was but you couldn’t move away from the heat… it just got more & more intense as the fire spread across the stand.

Of course people were on the pitch, they were singing “We love you City we do”, then all of a sudden the mood and atmosphere changed.

We could see people still in the stand surrounded by flames, we were helpless, then it happened!

A man started to walk across the pitch with his clothes and face ablaze. People pushed him to the ground and tried to smother the flames. He looked as if he was just going for a stroll. He was completely on fire and it looked as though he simply did not know what had happened to him.

People were hitting him with their coats as he walked towards the goal at the Bradford end before collapsing, still trying to put the flames out. I know because I was one of those people.

I remember after leaving the ground and walking onto Manningham Lane, going to a phone box to ring home it must have been 3 hours later but time didn’t matter, it seemed to go so fast just like the 4 minutes it took for the stand to be engulfed in flames.

I remember my mum answering the phone and when I said “hi Mum it’s John, there’s been a fire at City”, she burst into tears crying down the phone saying “oh god thank you thank you Lord”.

That’s when my life changed forever the moment my Mum said “thank God you’re ok son, please come home people have died in the fire”.

Now 27 years later that day is as clear is my mind as if it was yesterday and the brothers & sisters who perished that day will always be a part of me my family and Bradford City.

We will never forget them.  We will always remember them. I was lucky enough to grow up and get married and have children and my boys have grown up respecting the 11th May as our anniversary, to visit the memorial and pay our respects and now I have grandchildren they will do the same.

Bradford City is our team. Bradford City is our family. We win as one, we lose as one. BUT WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER. YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE. Goodnight god bless and sleep tight xxx

48 thoughts on “John Bowden’s story: ‘Then all of a sudden the heat hit you’

  1. Great blog right here! Additionally your web site rather a lot
    up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink for your host?

    I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  2. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog.
    Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?
    A small number of my blog audience have complained about my site not operating
    correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

  3. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of
    volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once
    again.

  5. This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  6. Hi my family member! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and come with almost all vital infos.

    I would like to see more posts like this .

  7. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it ;
    ) I may come back once again since i have saved as a favorite it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  8. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Whats up this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting
    to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.

    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to
    get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails
    with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

    Bless you!

  11. Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  12. May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover a person that really understands what they’re discussing online.

    You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people have to look at this and understand this side of the
    story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

  13. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing
    problems with your blog. It seems like some of
    the text on your content are running off the screen. Can someone else
    please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This could be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had
    this happen previously. Kudos

  14. You can certainly see your expertise within the work
    you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are
    not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  15. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website.

    I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as
    well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

  16. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and
    thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following
    you. Look forward to exploring your web page
    repeatedly.

  17. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog.
    You have some really great articles and I think I would be
    a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off,
    I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link
    back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.

    Many thanks!

  18. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your
    website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text
    for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it
    out better?

  19. Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is simply nice and i could assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.

    Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  20. excellent points altogether, you simply won a new reader.
    What may you suggest about your put up that you just made some days ago?

    Any positive?

  21. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but
    I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making
    my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have
    any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

  22. What’s up colleagues, how is all, and what you wish for to say about this article, in my view its genuinely amazing in support of me.

  23. excellent put up, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do
    not notice this. You should proceed your writing.
    I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  24. Hello There. I found your weblog using msn. That is a
    really well written article. I will make sure to
    bookmark it and come back to learn more of your useful information. Thank you for the post.
    I’ll certainly return.

  25. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.

    There has to be a way you can remove me from that service?

    Kudos!

  26. Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble
    with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to no back up.

    Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  27. When someone writes an paragraph he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand
    it. Thus that’s why this paragraph is great. Thanks!

  28. Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would
    be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new
    updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>