Lest We Forget

Idag är det 55 år sedan flygolyckan i München tog livet av åtta av Manchester Uniteds spelare, tre av klubbens ledare och ytterligare tolv personer.

Det var den 6 februari 1958. Manchester United hade varit i Belgrad och spelat 3-3 mot Röda Stjärnan i Europacupens kvartsfinal, ett resultat som tog United till semifinal. På vägen hem gjorde man en planerad mellanlandning i München. Efter två avbrutna startförsök fattades det ödesdigra beslutet att göra ett tredje försök. Planet lyfte aldrig. Manchester Uniteds historia skrevs om.

Tiden efter olyckan handlade om att bygga upp en klubb från grunden. Med ett hastigt sammansatt lag tog sig United mirakulöst till FA-cupens final. Tio år senare skulle United så äntligen vinna Europacupen.

Vi minns de som dog men vi minns också de som överlevde. Det var 23 personer som dog men olyckan berörde många fler. Barn förlorade sina föräldrar – Mark Jones och Roger Byrnes fruar var gravida – föräldrar förlorade sina barn. De överlevande spelarna förlorade i flera fall sina karriärer och tvingades leva med minnet av att de överlevde medan deras vänner dog.

On 6th February, 1958 an aircraft returning from Belgrade crashed at Munich Airport. Of the twenty-one passengers who died twelve were players and officials of Manchester United Football Club. Many others lie injured.

[—]

Although we mourn our dead and grieve for our wounded we believe that great days are not done for us. The sympathy and encouragement of the football world and particularly of our supporters will justify and inspire us. The road back may be long and hard but with the memory of those who died at Munich, of their stirring achievements and wonderful sportsmanship ever with us, Manchester United will rise again.

H. P. Hardman, Chairman

The Flowers of Manchester

One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Eight great football stalwarts conceded victory,
Eight men will never play again who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester.

Matt Busby’s boys were flying, returning from Belgrade,
This great United family, all masters of their trade,
The pilot of the aircraft, the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take off and twice turned back again.

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was slush upon that runaway and the aircraft never rose,
It ploughed into the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned,
And eight of the team were killed as the blazing wreckage burned.

Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor who were capped for England’s side,
And Ireland’s Billy Whelan and England’s Geoff Bent died,
Mark Jones and Eddie Colman, and David Pegg also,
They all lost their lives as it ploughed on through the snow.

Big Duncan he went too, with an injury to his frame,
And Ireland’s brave Jack Blanchflower will never play again,
The great Matt Busby lay there, the father of his team,
Three long months passed by before he saw his team again.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
And one of them Big Swifty, who we will ne’er forget,
The finest English ‘keeper that ever graced the net.

Oh, England’s finest football team its record truly great,
Its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate,
Eight men will never play again, who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester.

De som överlevde

Totalt var det 44 personer ombord på planet, 21 av dessa överlevde. Till de överlevande räknar vi nio av Uniteds spelare och managern Matt Busby. Idag är bara Sir Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes och Harry Gregg kvar. Sir Matt Busby avled 1994. Johnny Berry och Jackie Blanchflower spelade aldrig fotboll igen. Berry avled 1994, Blanchflower 1998. Kenny Morgans avled förra året. Albert Scanlon avled 2009, Dennis Viollet avled 1999 och Ray Wood avled 2002.

De som dog

Geoff Bent
Roger Byrne
Eddie Colman
Duncan Edwards
Mark Jones
David Pegg
Tommy Taylor
Billy Whelan

Walter Crickmer (sekreterare)
Tom Curry (tränare)
Bert Whalley (tränare)

Willie Satinoff (supporter)

Alf Clarke (journalist)
Don Davies (journalist)
George Follows (journalist)
Tom Jackson (journalist)
Archie Ledbrooke (journalist)
Henry Rose (journalist)
Frank Swift (journalist)
Eric Thompson (journalist)

Kenneth Rayment (pilot)
Bela Miklos (reseledare)
Tom Cable (flygvärd)

Vila i fred.


MANCHESTERGUIDE

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