In Depth

Flowers of Manchester: Man Utd’s Busby Babes are forever remembered

It’s 62 years since 23 people lost their lives in the 1958 Munich air disaster

Manchester United Football Club and their supporters are today paying tribute to the 23 victims of the 1958 Munich air disaster. 

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the tragedy in which eight United players and three club officials died. Eight journalists and four other passengers were also killed.  

Man Utd’s “Busby Babes” had been travelling back from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade and stopped in Munich to refuel the plane. Following two aborted take-offs the plane crashed on the third attempt. 

The disaster claimed 23 lives but team manager Matt Busby and England legend Bobby Charlton were among the 21 people who survived the crash. 

Ten years after Munich Busby’s rebuilt team went on to win the 1968 European Cup. Charlton scored two goals as United beat Benfica 4-1 after extra time at Wembley Stadium in London. 

Who were the 23 victims? 
  • Players: Geoff Bent (aged 25), Roger Byrne (28), Eddie Colman (21), Duncan Edwards (21), Mark Jones (24), David Pegg (22), Tommy Taylor (26), Liam Whelan (22) 
  • Club officials: Walter Crickmer (secretary), Tom Curry (trainer), Bert Whalley (coach) 
  • Journalists: Alf Clarke, Donny Davies, George Follows, Tom Jackson, Archie Ledbrooke, Henry Rose, Eric Thompson and former Man City goalkeeper Frank Swift
  • Crew and other passengers: Ken Rayment (aircraft captain), Tom Cable (crew), Bela Miklos (travel agent), Willie Satinoff (supporter)

3.04pm on the darkest day

At United’s Old Trafford stadium a clock marks the moment when the plane crashed in Munich: 3.04pm on 6 February 1958. 

In their tribute United said: “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 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.”

The club is holding a commemorative service on the stadium forecourt at Old Trafford this afternoon.

‘A City United’: tributes to the Flowers of Manchester

It’s not only United officials, players and fans who are remembering the Flowers of Manchester today, but also rival clubs and supporters from around the world. Here we look at the Twitter tributes.

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