Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lessons not learned (Part god knows how many now)

This is one of those rants that I get tired of having to repeat at regular intervals. I get tired of having to say it till I'm blue in the face. I get tired of once again having to point at the emperors news clothes and state something so obvious. I will though, because it needs saying.

Despite all the lessons of Hillsborough, despite those 97 tragic deaths, lessons have still not been learned and despite shiney new all seater stadiums having been built, many of them are simply not safe. This time I need to add Stamford Bridge to that list.

I was there last night to see Chelsea v Burnley in the Carling Cup. The last time I was there was 1994 to see Barnet play there and at the time it was about half the size it is now and very different indeed. This time the crowd was double what it was then and I simply don't understand how so many people are being allowed in and out of that stadium with such blatantly inadequat access and egress areas.

Stamford Bridge is located in a rabit warren of residential streets, hemmed in by houses and with only two main approaches off the Fulham Road and a further one, I understand, to the North just off some very narrow streets indeed. Through these three gates some 42,000 people are expected to pass. If one of these was to have serious incident there would quite clearly be problems, and that's before we even get to the turnstile areas.

These were absolute bloody chaos. 6000 Burnley fans (who I was in with) were asked to pass through just 6 turnstiles. That is totally inadequate. In addition queing for these broke down because the police (in their infinite wisdom) hurded evereyone into one queue not bothering to say that there were seperate entrances for the upper and lower tier which were seperated by a metal fence. End up on the wrong side of it and you were in trouble. Fence to one side, mounted police the other, wrong turnstile in front and a huge queue behind you.

Nice one inspector knacker.

One harrassed steward (who did not appear to speak English) was trying to sort this mess out.

Piss poor organisation like that is how accidents happen.

I wont go into detail about the tiny corridors and exits, I'm sure you get the picture by now.

Many stadiums are so much safer than they were 20 years ago, there is no doubt about that. Wembley, Old Trafford, Villa Park at the top end and examples all the way down. But death traps do still exist and I believe it is only a matter of time before some one gets seriously hurt.


Putz said...

everything in your country is old....i lived in a stable in newmarket where the floor was waving from putting linoleum on uneven ground..not safe either...stumbled arond incessantly

Akela said...


I've thinked you've missed the point on this one. The stadium I was talking about is new! It was completely rebuilt, like many others in the UK following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 97 people were killed due to a mixture of a totally unsafe stadium and utter incompetence in terms of policing and stewarding.

Given that this stadium was rebuilt following this there is simply no excuse for its inadequacies.