This is a Photo Blog with Photos from St Andrew's home of Birmingham City FC, Brummagem, Chelmsley Wood,football related pictures and a bit of other stuff for good measure. Feel free to post comments.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Blues v Leeds Riot 1985

Saturday 11th May 1985 saw one of the worst football riots in England take place at St Andrews between Birmingham City and Leeds United football hooligans. Sadly one young lad died when a wall collapsed on top of him at the away end. These are photos taken at the time from the Blues end.
















9 comments:

Steve said...

Carl, my name is Steve and I was at this game. I was a regular until I moved to Cardiff in 1992 (don't ask). Great photos, this day was just mad. I remember we'd beaten Cardiff at home the week before and we were already up, Leeds needed to win I think to get promoted. A mate of mine who supported Albion came with me and he was amazed, said it was best entertainment he'd seen in years. From memory I think it was after 6:00 pm when the game was finished. I was in a pub later on Long Lane, Blackheath when a load of Chelmsley Wood came in who hadn't been that day, they'd been working on a site doing some kind o demolition but I recognised them as ex-skinheads from The Trooper . . . happy days. KRO

Liam said...

O.K guys got to post a reply to this as it's not how we saw it from a Leeds fan point.
Birmingham City were promoted this year and it was their promotion party, not leeds's as our season was already over, this was just another end of season outing for us.
It also had nothing to do with Leeds v Brummy hooligans either, this was Leeds fans against our long time enemy the 'police oppression' and this is how it went.
On arival at the ground we were quite early and got off our coach in the carpark behind the away end, not that many there yet but we wern't the first.
we had to walk across to our turnstiles and noticed a small que of around 100, now about 150 with our coach load, ok this is were it all started getting tense, the police had a couple of officers stopping fans from getting to the turnstiles by blocking the pathway and only letting 10 through at a time as there was only TWO turnstiles in opperation :(.
This got out of hand when coach after coach turned up and there were now at least 1,000 fans trying to get past these cops, difficult with the narrowness of the pathway. To our left was a holding pen for away fans that was about 15ft high and we could see it was where the fans came out after the game, as you could see the top of the stand, this was a weak point for potential entry and was now a talking point from the Leeds fans, police on horses started to arrive in this area as Leeds fans had started to climb and tried to break into this area by now.
The tension was realy starting to gather pace, now hundreds were attempting to get in here as time was getting short for the kick off (game)
Still the noobs (sorry Officers were still stopping fans getting to the turnstiles, I think the club did open the other two but was too late to get us all in.
Well they broke into the holding pen and got into the ground much to the clubs loss of (no money paid) & the police for not keeping control.
The police and BCFC had only expected 1k to 2k Leeds fans coming to the game as it meant nothing to us but the last away game, oh dear what a mistake from the bill was that, someone hadn't done their homework had they, in years gone buy we ALWAYS had an end to the season party, not saying this was planned as a riot at all, just police underestimating the event.
It then kicked off at the front of the stand where the police standing in front of us came into the stand to get some fans out, but didn't get very far as they obviously didn't want to leave, and so on and so on.
what the Birmingham fans didn't know was it was us against the oppresive cops, not and I repeat NOT against your fans, It just seems your hooligans wanted a piece of us aswell, shame realy.

Travaling home after the game we were all sick to the stumach hearing about the young lad who got killed by the falling wall, a sad sad day all round.
Oh yes, and the Bradford fire too on the same day :'(

Giovanni said...

we had it off with Leeds all over city centre, for hours before kick off, you may have had trouble with ob inside the ground but as i say the trouble started hours earlier

parf said...

giovanni is right me and a few mates went to that game (we are leeds fans from somerset) our train from bristol got into birmingham about lunchtime and we met up with other leeds fans on the train and at new street s soon as we got out of the station we were sussed and for the next half hour got chased all around the bullring and the surrounding area. I am sure; the blues were that mean if they had caught any of us they would have killed us, i think the speed of my running proved this. crazy day!

ps
rip young lad that was killed.

Rich said...

Liam's comments are a good account, but I disagree when he says Leeds's season was over. I recall (and have checked) that a certain combination of results that day would have seen Leeds promoted with Oxford and Brum (ie a Leeds win, plus defeats for Man City, Pompey and Blackburn). Obviously Leeds lost1-0 and the other 3 all won, but the possibility of promotion was no doubt a factor as to why 7,000+ Leeds fan travelled.

Dave said...

I was at the game and although in todays terms what happened was nasty, relative to what was going on in the 80's the trouble wasn't that bad. It looked worse because all the Birmingham fans ran on the pitch and got a bit over excited but as far as actual fighting is concerned, well there wasn't that much. The stuff about fighting in the town center happened at every Leeds away game. The death of the lad was a total accident really. I was near the wall when it collapsed and it was just from people pushing past to get out, albeit being driven somewhat by the police. Now if you want an example of real football riots, which hardly gets a mention nowadays, was anyone at the Spurs Leeds FA cup game at white hart lane in 1982? That was thousands of fans fighting each other after the game for about an hour!
RIP the lad who died and to the Bradford fans who perished on the same day.

Karen said...

Kaz
This was my 25th birthday,I went with my mates,there was a lot of sickening things that happened that day. police were enticing trouble & that idiot who can over the speakers asking Leeds fans to get off the snack bar, well it was a red (sorry not white) rag to a bull more got on. Coming out of the ground we Leeds fans were like sardines in a can how more people weren't hurt I’ll never know. But on that day it was obvious that a lot of so call Leeds fans didn’t even know who are manager was as they were throwing things at him.
Anyway back on the bus it came on the radio that a young lad had been injured then died by a fallen wall, I felt sick & Ian Hambridge death stays with me every year & a big thankyou for the photo & letter his mother sent me sorry over the years I’ve lost them.
Back in Leeds well lets go drowned are sorrows in our local city pubs, all football fans were around the TVs and the Bradford disaster unfolded, alarms started ringing, because Bradford were celebrating promotion a lot of our friends & fellow Leeds Fans had gone to the Bradford match. We ended for the rest of the night ringing round & making sure everyone was fine god willing & I’m not religious at all.
It’s made me not plan anything just live life to the full.

Rok said...

Yes, I was there too with my mates aged 22. We were Brummies but just supported Leeds as had been fans since the 70's! Liam's account is fairly accurate and Rich is right as Leeds could get promotion depending on other results. My experience was got to the away end to be greeted by thousands of Leeds fans singing and being surrounded by some Cops on horses. Some Blues fans gathered and threw bricks at the Leeds but they picked or caught them and threw them back! The turnstiles were kicked through so we all got in for free! Once inside the burger stalls were looted. I remember the hut with fans throwing burgers! Atmosphere was tremendous from both sets of fans. A mate of mine was wearing a Bunny rabbit costume and it was a laugh!
When Blues scored, the Leeds fans started to riot and smashed the ad hoardings and flung em onto the ground. This gave the Blues fans the cue to run onto the pitch for the row! The Coppers were on horses and faced the Leeds fans. Someone threw a kettle on the pitch too! Probably from the hut! The Leeds fans threw stuff at the Blues and they tried to get at the Leeds but the Coppers stopped em. some Leeds fans were slagging off the nutters at the bottom and told em to "sit down Leeds!" All mayhem broke loose and some Leeds fans were fighting themselves which added to the crazy atmosphere. Some Leeds fans attacked the cripples in the stand and were beaten up by their own fans! Eventually the game finished and it was the Police who charged the Leeds fans and the wall collapsed killing the Leeds fan. Very sad and tragic. The Leeds fans including me and my mates were shepherded to New St Station. On the way the Blues fans were waiting for the row/fight by the Bull Ring but to be fair both sets of hardcore fans were contained by the Police and it was a relief for all after the days events, calm was restored! We heard on the radio Bradford was on fire so realised we were all lucky to be safe! May 11th, 1985! Crazy day! RIP to the Leeds fan and people who died in the fire.

sathya said...

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