Following the Bradford City Fire, Oxford United Chairman, Robert Maxwell, wrote to Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to ask that the Sports Minister widen the discussions with the Football Authorities to include the safety of sports grounds as well as the problems with hooliganism which were high on the agenda at that time.
Interestingly, with the letter, Robert Maxwell included the minutes from a Civic Reception that was held on May 12th 1985, where he sought to reassure the public and fans of Oxford United about what safety improvements would be put in place so a similar tragedy could not occur there.
Below are several of the points raised in the meeting, to read the minutes in full and the letter to the Prime Minister, click the link at the bottom of this post.
Points made by Mr Robert Maxwell at the Civic Reception given by the City of Oxford at the Town Hall on Sunday, 12 May 1985 to celebrate the double: winning the Second Division Championship of the Cannon League and promotion to the First Division.
1. He asked the meeting for a minute’s silence in commemoration of the dead and the bereaved at the tragedy that has occurred at the Bradford game which cost so many lives.
2. He assured the public and the supporters of Oxford United that the tragedy that occurred at Bradford cannot occur at the Mannor Ground, Headington because of the measures that the Club plans to take before the next season opens. Naturally this is subject to the Sports Ground Improvement Trust and the City of Oxford combining with the Club to make available up to £1 million to pay for the improvements to safety and to provide basic amenities.
3. The measures he announced for Oxford United’s ground are as follows:
(i) All plastic seats to be replaced with non-inflammable material.
(ii) Stand doors which are at present locked to prevent unauthorized entry during the game to be manned by stewards and to be unlocked in case of emergency or to be replaced with electronically operated gates which enable the public to get out and prevent anybody from coming in. If this safety measure had been taken at Bradford, both panic and casualties would have been very much reduced or avoided.
To read the full minutes from the meeting and the letter sent to the Prime Minister, please click here: Robert Maxwell Letter