Manchester United players have for decades remembered their Flowers of Manchester, the eight players who died in Munich on 6th February 1958 on their way home from a European Cup quarter-final in Belgrade.
2024’s February 6, marks 66 years since the darkest day in Manchester United’s history, where 23 lives were lost during the Munich Air Disaster.
The Munich air disaster robbed the English football club of one of its greatest young teams.
Eight Manchester United players from Sir Matt Busby’s brilliant side were killed when the plane carrying them crashed.
The aircraft was a six-year-old Airspeed Ambassador 2, built in 1952. The pilot, Captain James Thain, was a former RAF flight lieutenant.
According to the Chief Executive of BEA, A. H. Milward, there was a heavy snowstorm in Munich and the pilot delayed departure because he was dissatisfied with one of the plane’s engines.
Despite their devastating losses, United still managed to play their FA Cup fifth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford less than two weeks after the February 6 incident.
They completed the season, even reaching the FA Cup Final.
Sir Matt Busby – who had been seriously injured in the crash – recovered to bolster the team’s squad into a team that won the League (twice), FA Cup and European Cup in the 1960s.
Players Lost in Munich Air Disaster
Eight United players were amongst the 23 who lost their lives.
England internationals Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor and David Pegg – along with Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, Geoff Bent and Liam Whelan – died in the crash. Duncan Edwards, already an England legend at the age of 21, died later in a German hospital.
United coach Bert Whalley, trainer Tom Curry and club secretary Walter Crickmer were also killed, as were eight journalists who included former Manchester City and England goalkeeper Frank Swift.
Johnny Berry, Jackie Blanch Flower, Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes, Harry Gregg, Kenny Morgans, Albert Scanlon, Ray Wood, Dennis Viollet, and Matt Busby the manager survived.
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Manchester United Before the Tragedy
Sir Matt Busby was the manager of Manchester United from 1945-1971, bar the 1969-1970 season, and developed such a successful team consisting of young players and academy products, and created superstars like Tommy Taylor, Bobby Charlton to name a few.
Such was the class and aura of the team that they made each and every football fan of that time admire their style of play and they won league titles in 1956 and 1957 and could have created even bigger legacy but met a fatal crash and remained a matter of the past.
“It’s something worth remembering because the origins of this football club as it is today, goes down to that time.” Sir Alex Ferguson has remembered them.