By Mark Dingwall
Fifty years has gone by in the blink of an eye.
On the night of the Disaster I sat on the floor in front of the TV with a school jotter and two dice – as the results were read out I threw the dice and concocted my own results and resultant league tables. I remember closing the curtains and noting the thick fog enveloping the city.
My dad came home from the pub – he never went to Old Firm matches – and gave my mum and I the news that something had happened at Ibrox and as the night went on the death toll rose. Apart from that I have no memories of the funerals, or the Inquiry and no connection to any of the dead.
Having experienced the old Ibrox in all it’s huge magnificent grandeur I still hanker for the vast sweep of the terraces and the running track. The changes which Willie Waddell and the directors would bring in over the next ten years changing the ground to a nearly all-seated 44,000 capacity were unimaginable then.
Growing up the Disaster was always in the back of your mind but in my case, and in the case of many others, you didn’t think it would happen again and so being lifted over into Hampden or other grounds was done without a second thought. It was just how things were. We had to wait for the aftermaths of Hillsborough for things to really change. I can still recall the loud slap of noise at games in Hampden when the crowd swayed forward as bodies hit the barriers.
When I assisted to mark the 30th and 40th anniversaries one thing I noted was the complete absence of fault-finding against the club amongst the families, it simply wasn’t an issue. In one of the documentaries a nurse got the attitude – she explained that the dead and their families were brought up with memories of the Depression, the pre-NHS era and the Second World War where tragedies were simply common place and accepted as a fact of life.
Ibrox has changed and football has changed – but remember the dead of the Ibrox Disaster – take that little bit of extra time and calm your jets in and around football stadiums. That person next to you is somebody’s husband and somebody’s son. And there, but for the grace of God, go you.