Nostalgia: Glossop man talks of football disaster at cup game

A Glossop man, at what was then Britain's worst football disaster, said he only realised what had happened when he heard it on BBC News.

Mr H Sparling, of Manor Park Road, was at the FA Cup tie at Burnden Park between Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City in 1946, in which 33 spectators died. Hundreds of fans were injured in what was described as a ‘human crush’.

Along with two workmates from Meadow Mills, Glossop, he was one of 66,000 fans who were crammed into the stadium. Fortunately for them they were on the opposite end of the ground to the scene of the tragedy.

Mr Sparling said: “We had seen the crowd spill onto the field but did not realise that anything serious had happened. The general opinion was that people had fainted as often is the case at large football matches. We only heard what had happened when we heard it announced on the six o’clock news.”

In those days fans did not need tickets to get into a football match, you just turned up at the turnstiles, paid your money and went in.

Amazingly the match was not abandoned, most of the players had no idea of the severity of the situation.

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