Soccer Hooligans Erupt in UK

Published: 1985
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Dennis Daly: May was the month that a rising tide of hooliganism among British soccer fans would erupt into a tide of death and destruction. In early May, someone apparently tossed a firework or smoke bomb into the soccer stands at Bradford, England. The prank led to 53 deaths. In just minutes, the entire stands were afire. A radio reporter covering the match was swept up in the panic …

Unknown Speaker: "Let's get all those people out of there! Let's get those people; just take your time, don't rush! Go down there; take your time going down there. Don't pull on the wires! Keep your legs fixed over there. Keep the -- take your time! Don't rush, don't push! We are going to have to disconnect very shortly, because it really is taking all the time. We're taking a break. We're getting out of here, too."


Dennis Daly: Later that month at an international game in Brussels, Belgium, British fans kill more than 30 people, mostly Italians. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's reaction was immediate …

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "It used to be our pride that we really were a nation of sportsmen-like people. That is in danger."

Dennis Daly: For a time British soccer teams were prohibited from participating in international games, and there were strict controls put on the use of alcoholic beverages at sporting events in Great Britain.


Dennis Daly: 1985, the Year in Review. A look back at the major stories of the past year continues on UPI Radio Network.