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Fifty-Six The Story of the Bradford Fire by Martin Fletcher

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Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2015.

This book tells the gripping, extraordinary in-depth story of a boy's unthinkable loss following a spring afternoon at a football match, of how fifty-six people could die at a game, and of the truths he unearthed as an adult. This is the story - thirty years on - of the disaster football has never properly acknowledged.


Fifty-Six The Story of the Bradford Fire by Martin Fletcher

On May 11 1985, fifty-six people died in a devastating fire at Bradford City's old Valley Parade ground. It was truly horrific, a startling story - and wholly avoidable - but it had only the briefest of inquiries, and it seemed its lessons were not learned. Twelve-year-old Martin Fletcher was at Valley Parade that day, celebrating Bradford's promotion to the second flight, with his dad, brother, uncle and grandfather. Martin was the only one of them to survive the fire - the biggest loss suffered by a single family in any British football disaster. In later years, Martin devoted himself to extensively investigating how the disaster was caused, its culture of institutional neglect and the government's general indifference towards football fans' safety at the time.


'Some have tainted him as a laptop vigilante, but really, they should read his book and weep' The Times

'A heart-wrenching read' FourFourTwo

'Incredibly moving and brilliantly understated... lays bare the culture of institutionalised neglect that all English football-goers in the 80s came to expect, which by the end of the decade would claim more than 150 lives' Daily Mirror

'Heart-rending before it is controversial' The Times

About the Author

Martin Fletcher was 12 years old when he survived the Bradford fire in which his father, brother, uncle and grandfather were all killed. As an adult he has devoted himself to investigating and seeking the truth about the disaster, and this book is the culmination of his extensive research. During that time he has also obtained a BA in Politics with International Studies and MA in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick, together with both the LPC and ACA. He lives in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Martin Fletcher

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