The date of 6 February will forever be circled on the calendars of everyone connected with Manchester United.On that day in 1958, the darkest day in United’s history, 23 people – including eight players and three members of the club’s staff – suffered fatal injuries in the Munich Air Disaster.
The team had been travelling back from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade when their aircraft stopped in Germany to refuel. The first two attempts to take off from Munich airport were aborted; following a third attempt, the plane crashed.
The eight players who perished were Geoff Bent (aged 25), Roger Byrne (28), Eddie Colman (21), Duncan Edwards (21), Mark Jones (24), David Pegg (22), Tommy Taylor (26) and Liam Whelan (22). Edwards, considered by many to be the finest player of his generation, died 15 days after the accident.
The three club officials who were killed were secretary Walter Crickmer, trainer Tom Curry and coach Bert Whalley.
Eight journalists died – Alf Clarke, Donny Davies, George Follows, Tom Jackson, Archie Ledbrooke, Henry Rose, Eric Thompson and former Manchester City goalkeeper Frank Swift.
Aircraft captain Ken Rayment, fellow crew member Tom Cable, travel agent Bela Miklos and supporter Willie Satinoff, a friend of United manager Sir Matt Busby, were also victims of the terrible tragedy.
The Munich Air Disaster is an indelible part of United’s history, as is Sir Matt overcoming his crash injuries to work alongside his assistant Jimmy Murphy and build another great team which won the European Cup 10 years later.
We will never forget.
OLD TRAFFORD PAYS TRIBUTE
A short commemorative service will be held on the stadium forecourt this afternoon (Wednesday), enabling supporters and club staff to gather and pay their respects under the Munich memorial clock.
The service, which has been organised by the fans behind the munich58.co.ukwebsite, will be led by Reverend John Boyers and will feature poems, prayers and songs including the famous folk anthem, The Flowers of Manchester.
The ceremony is due to start at 14:40 GMT.