Today’s Old Firm clash is about more than just football, as of course all Ne’er Day Derbies are.
January 2nd 1971 saw us lose 66 friends in that infamous collapse of Stairway 13 50 years ago today, in a horrible reminder of the mortality of life.
No one should suffer the nightmare of their loved ones not coming home from a football match, and while today’s match has a lot riding on it football-wise, it can’t be forgotten there are 66 families who still grieve to this day when their dad/son/brother/sister/mother you name it didn’t come back.
We always remember this, at this time of year, and it is especially poignant that on the 50th anniversary of the disaster, an Old Firm clash will take place as it did back then.
Of course safety measures have massively spiked since that happened, and in the 49 years since, mercifully no one has been lost like that again – and of course, as per the current crisis, no fans will be in attendance today anyway.
But we haven’t forgotten them and we never will, nor the 1902 disaster in which 25 lost their lives during a Scotland England match.
It’s just always a pointer that Bill Shankly was wrong, even if his heart was just about in the right place.
To Absent Friends.