The Ibrox Disasters are the name given to two separate events that occured in 1902 and 1971 respectively, at Ibrox Stadium. These resulted in the loss of 92 lives in total and are commemorated by the the Ibrox Disaster Memorial.
First Ibrox Disaster
In 1902, during a Scotland V England game held at the stadium, a section of wooden terracing collapsed, tragically killing 26 people and injuring 587. A gaping hole appeared in the floor, and people were plunged into it. Despite this, the game carried on, as many crammed into the other sides of the stadium could not see what had happened. The match was replayed at Villa Park, and the £1000 raised was donated to the Ibrox Disaster Relief Fund.
Archibald Leith was then employed to design a safer stadium, as the board at the time felt it was essential the stadium was made safer and rebuilt. Ibrox began holding international matches again in 1909.
Second Ibrox Disaster
The traditional New Year Old Firm game began on the 2nd January 1971, as 80,000 crammed into Ibrox to watch. It was 0-0 up until the 88th minute, when Jimmy Johnstone gave Celtic the lead. As the Rangers fans headed for the exits, a dramatic late equaliser by Colin Stein raised the roof of Ibrox. Unfortunately, at Stairway 13 and 40, horrific scenes began to occur.
Fans started to sway and stumble down the incredibly steep stairs. Eventually, some lost their footing and began to fall. Those around didn't see it going on and their descent was continued. Suddenly it became a domino effect, with people falling down and crushing the steel barriers due to the weight of impact. These terrible scenes led to 66 deaths and over 140 injured, making it one of the biggest tragedies ever to occur in football. Out of those that died, 31 were just teenagers.
It has often been claimed that the crush happened because fans who were leaving heard the roar for Stein's equalizer and turned back. The official investigation did not support this theory. Instead, that report reached the conclusion that the stairway was too wide and steep and that too many people were exiting at the same time.
On the 30th anniversary the Club held a special service and a bronze statue of John Greig was unveiled on top of a memorial to the 66. Every year, at the home game closest to the date of the disaster, the club lays a special wreath at the memorial
There are many grim pictures and saddening tales of that day. This is one day the Rangers support will never forget.