60 years since Manchester United lost 8 of their stars in Munich air disaster

first_imgFebruary 06, 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. In the tragic event, 23 people including eight members of England’s Manchester United Football Club lost their lives.These eight members were part of the then popular ‘Busby Babes’- a youthful and attacking Manchester team coached by Sir Matt Busby. The catastrophe is not only a dreadful chapter in the football club’s history, it’s also one of the biggest tragedies to take place in the history of a sporting institution.Every year fans and the club commemorate the members of the team, which was regarded as the one of the finest sides in England and were robbed an opportunity to conquer Europe.TIMELINEThe unfortunate accident took place on February 06, 1958 in Munich. The United team were returning after a European Cup quarter-final game against Red Star Belgrade from what was then Yugoslavia.The English club had won the first leg of the tie 2-1. Trailing 1-0 in the first half, Bobby Charlton and Eddie Colman scored a goal each in the second half to make the second leg super interesting.In the game at Belgrade, Charlton scored twice and Dennis Viollet added one to help Busby’s side to earn a 3-3 draw and win the tie 5-4 on aggregate. With the win, United qualified for the semi-final of the European Cup.The unfortunate incident took place during the team’s return journey in Munich, where they had stopped to refuel their plane.We will never forget. href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlowersOfManchester src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#FlowersOfManchester pic.twitter.com/YAC0Lmqq2Wadvertisement— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 6, 2018THE DISASTERThe team had travelled in Elizabethan class Airspeed Ambassador 2, built in 1952. The flight was captained by James Thain and his co-pilot was Captain Kenneth Rayment. The plane was known as ‘Lord Burleigh’.The flight from Belgrade had to take a stop in Munich for refuelling as a direct journey was out of Elizabethan’s range. The disaster struck during the take-off from Munich. The conditions were wet as it was snowing heavily.The first take-off was aborted by Thain after they noticed an unusual fluctuation on the pressure gauge and unusual sounds from the engine while accelerating. The second take off was also aborted for the same reason and passengers were asked to disembark as the engine had to be checked.But for some reason, the travelling party was called back to the plane for a third take-off. The pilots failed once again but this time the plane skidded off the runway, ripping through the fence at the end of the runaway and hitting a house. Twenty passengers died instantly.UNITED PLAYERS AMONG THOSE DEAD23 people lost their lives in the crash, 21 survived. Eight among the 23 were Manchester United players.Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, and Liam Whelan all died immediately after the crash.Duncan Edwards survived the crash but later died in hospital as a result of his injuries. Manchester United fans hold up banners in remembrance of the Munich air disaster. (Reuters)Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower’s career were cut short as they would never play again due to the injuries they sustained.The tragedy caused a ripple effect across Manchester and England. Thousands poured in to attend funerals of the players. Two minutes of silence were observed during football matches as a mark of respect.UNITED COMEBACKNow an extremely popular and massively successful club, Manchester are renowned for a never-say-die-attitude. In 1958 as well, the tragedy could not beat the club down. They participated in a FA Cup against Sheffield Wednesday later that month, winning 3-0.Their European Cup run, however, came to an end with a 2-5 loss on aggregate against AC Milan. Fans gather at the Munich Air Disaster Memorial. (Reuters)In 1968, a decade later United built another strong unit featuring George Best and Denis Law. Under the guidance of Busby they reached the final of European Cup, where they defeated Benfica 4-1 to become the first English club to conquer Europe.The chain of history didn’t stop there. In 1999, United once again became the European champions on what would have been Busby’s 90th birthday. They won it again in 2008, 50 years after the disaster.last_img read more

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