At the weekend in Britain football grounds across the country fell silent in memory of the 56 supporters who lost their lives at Bradford when there was a fire in the main stand. It was good to once again see football fans unite as one, all knowing that it could so easily have been them or their loved ones.
What is hard to believe is that this was the first time in 30 years since the fire that the country as a whole has united in its silence.
Bradford was very different to Hillsborough, but it was just a big a tragedy for a city. It was just as devastating to those families who lost loved ones. Not surprisingly, some people have been angry that it has taken 30 years for their pain to be acknowledged; surely it had nothing to do with the profile of the club? Fans are fans, no matter which team they support, a human life is a human life.
What may make the pain even harder is the news that there is conjecture that the fire may not in fact have been a mistake as was originally declared. Author Martin Fletcher who lost three generations of his family in the fire, has in his book “56” concluded from forensic evidence that it may not have been a mistake. This has understandably opened old wounds in Bradford. It has however also raised the disaster to the nation’s conscience and that it too should be commemorated like Hillsborough.
Australia has been lucky that it has never had such an incident, but it should be careful dedicating round after round of a national league competitions to various worthy causes; as slowly there is less impact or interest in the event being promoted. Australians are known for their generosity but moments where sport can pull together and have an impact should be limited and not abused to score points in terms of public relations.