The Burnden Disaster

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On the 9th of March, 1946, 33 people died in an overcrowded Burnden Park. Here, Tony Topping looks at the tragedy and its effects on football

On the morning of Saturday the 9th of March 1946, Bill Hughes left his home at 28, Byrom St, Poolstock to attend a football match. The 56yr old would never return to his Wigan home, he died along with 32 others on the concrete terracing at Burnden Park Bolton.

Three other Wiganers were amongst the dead that day, W. Braidwood aged 40 from 96, Green Lane, Hindley, Harold Mc Andrew of 13, Sharp St, Wigan and Thomas Robey aged 65 from 118, Up Holland St, Billinge.

They had all travelled to watch Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City in the 2nd leg of the F.A. Cup 6th round. Many neutrals in the crowd had travelled far and wide to see one man, Stoke City’s Stanley Matthews. England International Matthews could add thousands to a gate and Bolton were well supported anyway, the indications were that the crowd would be huge and it was.


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