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Bradford City chairman son defends father over fire allegations

The son of the former chairman of Bradford City has defended his late father over allegations that the fire disaster at Valley Parade was not an accident

56 fans died 30 years ago next month, in the worst ever fire tragedy at a football stadium. The most likely cause was a discarded cigarette.

A new book by survivor Martin Fletcher, who lost four members of his family, claims the former chairman Stafford Heginbotham was connected to a number of buildings which burned down before the disaster.


New claims over 'coincidence' of Bradford City fire

A new book claims the 1985 fire at Valley Parade in which 56 people were killed may have been an arson attack.

It is alleged in Fifty-Six - The Story of the Bradford Fire that the fire was just one of at least nine fires at businesses owned by or associated with the club's then chairman Stafford Heginbotham, who died in 1995.

Stafford Heginbotham, left Credit: Press Association

The author, Martin Fletcher, was 12 when he escaped from the disaster with his life but lost three generations of his family; his father, grandfather and younger brother.

The book, being serialised in The Guardian, does not make any direct allegations but Fletcher says Heginbotham's history with fires, which he claims resulted in payouts totalling around £27 million in today's terms, warranted further investigation.

An inquiry at the time by high court judge Mr Justice Popplewell concluded that the fire was an accident.

West Yorkshire Police says the force would consider any new evidence about the fire.

The jury at the inquest in 1985 delivered a verdict of misadventure. However should any evidence come to light which was not available to Her Majesty's Coroner at the original inquest, then we will consider its significance and take appropriate action.

– Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team

Former QPR chairman linked with Bantams move

Former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini is in talks with Bradford over a possible takeover, according to Bantams joint-chairman Mark Lawn.

Paladini left QPR in 2011, following the takeover by Tony Fernandes, and has previously been linked with moves for Birmingham and Millwall.

Lawn told the Telegraph and Argus: "We have signed a confidentiality undertaking and we are talking to him."

Paladini's previous attempt at a takeover was reported to be at Millwall, but chairman John Berylson played those down in January 2014.

Berylson said: "I have absolutely no interest in selling Millwall to Mr Paladini, who I have never even met nor have any intention of meeting, or anyone else."

Bradford are currently 11th in the Sky Bet League One table following Tuesday's 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Bristol City, which sealed the Robins' promotion to the Championship.

Bradford City confirm takeover talks

Bradford City are in negotiations about a possible takeover, it has been confirmed.

Bradford City co-chairman Mark Lawn Credit: Press Association

Co-chairman Mark Lawn has confirmed that talks have begun with former QPR chairman Giovanni Paladini about a possible takeover.

We have signed a confidentiality undertaking and we are talking to him.

– Mark Lawn

Paladini, 69, is the former agent of Benito Carbone.


Bantams break flat cap world record to raise money for burns unit

Despite defeat to Preston, hundreds of Bradford City's fans stayed behind after the game to help recreate an old black and white photograph from the 1920s and break a world record.

City supporters were encouraged to wear flat caps to yesterdays game to raise money for the Burns Unit at the University of Bradford ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Valley Parade Stadium fire.

Chris Dawkes reports:

Bradford City fire memorial tournament to take place

A tournament to mark the 30th anniversary of the fire at a Bradford City game is to take place this weekend.

A tournament to mark the 30th anniversary of the fire at a Bradford City game is to take place this weekend.

The fire at Valley Parade on 11 May 1985 killed 54 Bradford City fans and two fans of the opposition team, Lincoln City.

The tournament hosts teams from across Bradford as well as teams from Lincoln, Liverpool and the German city Hamm.

Twenty junior teams take part in a competition, as well as veterans' games and a game between Bradford City Disability Football Club and Liverpool Disability Football Club.

Even though the tournament was born out of tragedy it still shows how much sport can bring people together even 30 years on.

– Steve Hartley, Interim Strategic Director for Environment and Sport
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