Flowers of Manchester | A tribute to the victims of the Munich Air Disaster

Flowers of Manchester: the main tragedy in the history of English football

On February 6, 1958, a plane with players, employees of the football club Manchester United, journalists and other passengers on board got into a plane crash. 60 years have passed since the tragic event, however, to this day, fans of the club and just football fans remember the Munich plane crash.

The era of Sir Matt Busby

In 1945, the new head coach of football Sir Matt Busby was appointed to Manchester United club. Even then, the team was quite old, so everyone expected the new coach to start buying new famous players. However, Matt Busby chose a different path. By the 50s, Busby began to slowly renew the roster and release young pupils of the club onto the field.

It was a young and strong team, which got better and better every year. Many players have played for the England youth team, and some have made their debut in the main team. Due to the fact that there were a lot of youth in the media, and then the fans, the players were christened Busby Babes (Busby Babes). Despite the young age of the players, Matt Busby's team were able to win the England Championship in the 1955-56 and 1956-57 seasons.

The Busby Babes were one of the most memorable and promising teams. The club started the 1957/58 season confidently, both in the home championship and in European tournaments. The team played in the European Champions Cup (Champions League) and reached the quarterfinals, where they were supposed to play against Belgrade's Crvena Zvezda. In the first home match, the Red Devils won with a score of 2: 1. The return match took place on February 5 and ended in a draw. However, on aggregate, Manchester United was able to reach the semifinals of the tournament. As it turned out, this game and victory was the last for many Busby kids.

February 6 1958 year. Munich-Rome Airport, flight 609

As you know, the top players of the clubs always have a very busy and busy schedule. Especially when they are competing at home and international tournaments at the same time. So it was with Manchester United in 1958. After playing in the European Cup with Crvena Zvezda, the players had to urgently return to Manchester in order to catch the game in the English Championship. The day after the game, the plane with the football players and club staff, as well as other passengers, took off from Belgrade, but later got to refuel at Munich airport.

Sir Bobby Charlton : I thought: why me? Why am I here and nothing happened to me, and my friends died? Felt it was unfair. Of course, it took me a long time to feel better nafter the plane crash.

After refueling, the plane was ready to fly, but the first attempt to take off was unsuccessful. The takeoff was canceled twice, after which the passengers left the plane. Due to the weather conditions, many thought that the flight would already be canceled. But despite the weather conditions and previous unsuccessful attempts, the plane made a third attempt to take off. As a result, the liner was unable to gain the required altitude and speed for takeoff, which is why the pilots lost control. The plane reached the end of the runway and crashed into a residential building.

On board there were 44 people in the plane crash, 23 were killed. Among them were 8 club players and three people from the coaching staff: Duncan Edwards (21 years old), Eddie Coleman (21) , David Pegg (22), Liam Whelan (22), Mark Jones (24), Jeff Bent ( 25), Tommy Taylor (26), Roger Byrne (28). Club secretary Walter Crickmer , coach Tom Curry and Bert Whalley . In addition to the players, eight journalists did not survive in the crash - Alf Clark, Tom Jackson, Donnie Davis, George Follows, Archie Ledbrook, Eric Thompson, Henry Rose and Frank Swift . Also co-pilot Kenneth Rayment and crew member Tom Cable , friend of Matt Busby Willie Satinoff and travel agent Bela Miklos .

Aftermath of the plane crash

After the crash, Matt Busby's team was left almost without the main composition. The head coach received many injuries and even thought that he would no longer coach. While Sir Matt Busby was recovering, his assistant James Jimmy Murphy served as head coach. He assembled a team of reserve players and was able to get with it to the FA Cup final.

Sir Matt Busby and his assistant James Murphy were able to do the incredible - to revive the club after the tragedy. They had to build a new team of players who, fortunately, managed to survive the plane crash - Bobby Charlton , Harry Gregg , Bill Fulkes . Busby also bought several famous footballers, and continued to release young players on the field. During this period, the legends of the club began to play - George Best and Denis Lowe .

It was Charlton, Best and Lowe who subsequently brought many awards to Manchester United. A monument to the Great Trinity United stands near Old Trafford Stadium. The legendary Bobby Charlton ended his career as the last of the Busby kids. But even now, the legend of the club continues to attend the matches of the red devils.

Despite all the difficulties, team survived, ManchestEp United was able to win the English Championship already in the 1964/65 season. And on May 29, 1968, 10 years after the Munich plane crash, Sir Matt Busby and his team still managed to win the European Cup.

Memory. The Flowers of British football, The Flowers of Manchester

In memory of the victims of the plane crash, one of the tunnels at Old Trafford stadium was renamed Munich. A memorial plaque and a memorial clock are installed on the territory of the stadium. The arrow on them indicates the time and date of the plane crash. Every February 6, Manchester United fans around the world remember one of the most tragic days in the club's history. Millions of people from all over the world post in memory of the victims of the plane crash, and those who can leave flowers near the plaque.

The club certainly does not forget one of the saddest events in the history of Manchester United. The Old Trafford Stadium hosts an annual event dedicated to the February tragedy. This year the club is also going to honor the memory of those killed in the plane crash.

February 3rd before the start In the match between the Red Devils and Huddersfield Town, there was a minute of silence in memory of the victims. On this day, each fan received a special book and program, which were dedicated to the tragedy. An annual commemoration ceremony was held under the memorial clock at Old Trafford, which culminated in the song The Flowers of Manchester, written in memory of the victims of the plane crash.

On February 6, on the day of the tragedy, a ceremony will be held inside the stadium, to which some of the club's fans will be invited.

The Munich Air Disaster: A film about Manchester United's darkest day

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