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 Busby Babes gone but never forgotten

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Rahul
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PostSubject: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:36 pm

On the Saturday morning, 1 February, there was a good deal of activity inside United’s hotel. It was established later that morning that Mr. George Whittaker, one of the club’s directors, had been found dead in bed in his hotel room. It was another event that would have significant implications for the future of Manchester United Football Club.

Travelling with the United party that day was a fan who was a close friend of Matt Busby. His name was Willie Satinoff. Satinoff was a successful businessman, who had made his money in the ‘rag trade’ in Manchester. He was a devoted family man, and his main leisure pastime was following Manchester United. He was a fanatical supporter and had travelled widely, to league games and throughout Europe, with the official Manchester United party. It was well known in Manchester sporting circles, and especially amongst the press boys, that Willie was on the verge of becoming a Manchester United director. Louis Edwards was around the scene in those days, but was looked upon more as a ‘hanger on’ than anything else. George Whittaker disliked Louis Edwards, and had thwarted him a number of times when he attempted to become a board member. It was Willie Satinoff who was the firm favourite.

As a mark of respect for Mr. Whittaker, United wore black armbands at Highbury, and a minute’s silence was observed before the kick-off. I doubt very much whether anybody who entered that famous old ground that afternoon could have imagined the game they were about to witness. Here is an abridged description of the game by Geoffrey Green[1]:

At Highbury, Manchester United gained quick ascendancy. After only ten minutes they snatched the lead through their powerful wing half Duncan Edwards. A neatly laid-off pass from Viollet found Edwards a few yards outside the penalty box. In this position he was irresistible. His shot was driven too powerfully for Kelsey to handle and United were one up. The goal was typical of Edwards’ shooting power.

Next, on the half hour, United were two up with a goal that was a model for the quick counter-attack. At one moment Gregg was saving superbly under the United crossbar; seconds later, straight from the clearance, Scanlon sprinted seventy yards down the left flank and Bobby Charlton crashed in the centre with all the explosive power that was to become his hallmark.

United's magnificent performance was, of course, a team effort, but the contribution of their wing halves stood out above all else. There can have been few pairs of wing halves with more contrasting styles and appearances as Edwards and Colman, but both shared a belief in the old dictum that attack is the best form of defence. Each complimented the other to perfection; the one the aggressive dreadnought, the other the pocket Napoleon; they prompted and prodded the forwards into unceasing action. As the rhythms and directions of the attack were changed in midfield, the attack itself blossomed in response. Morgans, Charlton, Taylor, Viollet and Scanlon moved like one man.

A third goal was to come before half time. Scanlon crossed from one wing, Morgans returned the ball from the other and Tommy Taylor slotted the ball past Kelsey in the centre to complete a goal of symmetrical precision. At half time the rest of the game looked to be a formality.

The second half did indeed look to be a formality, but football was then a good deal less predictable than it is now. For it was an era when even the payers with the technique and know-how of ‘putting up the shutters’ invariably lacked the inclination to do so when the alternative was to move on yet again with attack. The unexpected was in store. With half an hour left, phase two of the game exploded on the crowded scene. In a dazzling space of two and a half minutes, Arsenal were level. One moment United were free-wheeling to victory, the next they were hauled back to level-pegging.

The goals tumbled out against a solid wall of noise. The breathless recovery was started by Herd, when he volleyed in a clever lob by Bowen. Gregg could only have heard that one. In another minute the score was 2-3, as Groves headed down Nutt’s centre for Bloomfield to score. The cheers were still ringing as the match became all-square. Nutt’s cross was low and precise and there was Bloomfield, diving forward to glance the ball into the net off his eyebrows. Highbury was a big top spinning madly; the stands nearly took off in the pandemonium.

Having turned the game on its head, Arsenal burst every blood-vessel to push home their initiative. At that point Bowen had become an inspiration at wing half; Tapscott, Herd and Groves threatened danger every time the stylish Bloomfield threaded the ball through to them with pin-point passes.

Where others would have sagged and died, United, however, as so often over the years, refused to wilt at the crisis. They trimmed their sails, steadied the boat with a firm hand on the tiller and rode out the storm. Step by step over the last twenty minutes they took charge again like champions. By sheer force of character and will-power they superimposed their skill to dominate events once more.

A flowing passage between Charlton and Scanlon saw Viollet, an exceptional player before the Munich crash, head the ball sharply past Kelsey to give United a 4-3 lead. Yet another sinuous attack by Colman and Morgans sent in Taylor to score a remarkable goal from an acute angle. Even then Arsenal refused to admit defeat. Tapscott, always a great competitive spirit, burst clean through United’s middle to score from a clever opening by Bowen and Herd, and a see-saw match of nine goals finally drew to a close with the score at 4-5.

By the end the thermometer was doing a war-dance. Spectators and players alike were breathless as the teams left the field arm in arm. They knew instinctively that they had created something for pride and memory. Yet, in the event, the match was to become an obituary.

It was the last time most spectators were to see the great Duncan Edwards. He had made his debut for United at the age of fifteen; at eighteen he was the youngest player to win an international cap. He was a player of immense stature; the embodiment of all that was best in professional football. Jimmy Murphy, assistant manager at Old Trafford, felt that he was ‘the one player who, had he survived, would have made the rebuilding of United so much easier’. Beside Edwards, four others [who played at Highbury] were killed: Tommy Taylor, a remarkable centre forward who, with his unselfish running off the ball anticipated the like of Hurst at a time when the battering-ram role of the centre forward was only just beginning to lose ground; defenders Roger Byrne and Mark Jones, and the midfield player Eddie ‘Snake-hips’ Colman, of whom Harry Gregg said, ‘When he waggled his hips, he made the stanchions in the grandstand sway’.

The teams that day were:

Arsenal: Kelsey; S. Charlton, Evans; Ward, Fotheringham, Bowen; Groves, Tapscott, Herd, Bloomfield, Nutt.

Manchester United: Gregg; Foulkes, Byrne; Colman, Jones, Edwards; Morgans, Charlton, Taylor, Viollet, Scanlon.

Let that game stand as an epitaph for a side that the gods loved too much.

We now know, of course, that this would be the last time this dashing young team would perform on the English stage. The 63,000 present at Highbury that day were left with the memory of a beautiful young team, a wonderful bunch of young men and a team that played the game in the right way and in the right spirit. They had witnessed a marvellous and historic game of football between two great clubs.

As the train headed back north that evening, the players were elated. Although they had conceded four goals, Busby didn’t seem to be too concerned. What was worrying him most was that his skipper, Roger Byrne, had picked up a strain and initially was thought doubtful for the Belgrade game the following Wednesday. The players were in high spirits, and eventually arrived at London Road station just after ten thirty in the evening. For the married men it was off home to their wives and families, but the single lads wanted a night out, so went into Manchester city centre to explore the nightlife. They found themselves in a club named The Costa, where they were unaware of the presence of a fair-haired boy from Aberdeen, sitting just opposite them. The lad would play such an important part in reviving Manchester United’s fortunes in the coming years, writing his own name into the folklore of the club. For the time being, however, he was a promising player with Huddersfield Town, and his name was Denis Law.


[1]Geoffrey Green in There’s Only One United: The Official Centenary History of Manchester United, Hodder and Stoughton, 1978, pp 68-71.



-------------------------------------------------------

The above is from a lifelong Manchester United supporter Tom Clare.


Amazing read this....I recommend every United fan to read it. Even a muppet/puppet/glory hunter etc etc.......just link them to this amazing read.


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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:58 pm

Amazing =D>
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PostSubject: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:56 pm

Munich Remembered -and Never Forgotten


On 6th February 1958 the airliner carrying players and backroom staff of Manchester United, plus a number of journalists and supporters, crashed in a blizzard on its third attempt to take off from Munich airport. United were returning from Belgrade where they had just beaten Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup and had stopped off at Munich for re-fueling. Twenty-three of the forty-four passengers on board the aircraft lost their lives.

Victims and Survivors

Twenty-three people on board the Elizabethan charter aircraft G-ALZU lost their lives in the Munich air crash on February 6, 1958. There were 21 survivors.


Players

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


Journalists


Alf Clarke
Don Davies
George Follows
Tom Jackson
Archie Ledbrooke
Henry Rose
Eric Thompson
Frank Swift
Also killed

Walter Crickmer - club secretary who was in charge of the side during the war.
Bert Whalley - Chief Coach. Former left-half at Old Trafford.
Tom Curry - Trainer. Joined United in mid-30s and regarded by Matt Busby as "best trainer in Britain.''
Capt Kenneth Rayment - Co-Pilot
Bela Miklos - Travel Agent
Willie Satinoff - Supporter
Tommy Cable - Steward

Survivors

Crew

• Margaret Bellis, stewardess (died 1998)
• Rosemary Cheverton, stewardess
• George William "Bill" Rodgers, radio officer (died 1997)
• Captain James Thain, pilot (died 1975)


Passengers


Manchester United players

• Johnny Berry (never played again, died 1994)
• Jackie Blanchflower (never played again, died 1998)
• Bobby Charlton
• Bill Foulkes
• Harry Gregg
• Kenny Morgans
• Albert Scanlon(died 2009)
• Dennis Viollet (died 1999)
• Ray Wood (died 2002)

Manchester United staff

• Matt Busby, manager (died 1994)

Journalists and photographers

• Ted Ellyard, Daily Mail telegraphist (died 1964)
• Peter Howard, Daily Mail photographer (died 1996)
• Frank Taylor, News Chronicle reporter (died 2002)

Other passengers


• Vera Lukić and baby daughter Venona, passengers saved by Manchester United player Harry Gregg. At the time of the accident, she was pregnant with her son Zoran, who also survived.
• Mrs Eleanor Miklos, wife of Bela Miklos
• Nebosja Bato Tomašević, Yugoslavian diplomat.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:56 pm

The Flowers of Manchester



One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Seven great football stalwarts conceded victory,
Seven 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 and the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take her up and twice turned back again.

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was ice upon the wings and the aircraft never rose,
It ran upon the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned.
And seven of the team were killed when the battered aircraft 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,
Before the blazing wreckage went ploughing through the snow.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
and one of them was Big Swifty, we never will forget,
the greatest English 'keeper who ever graced a net.

They said that Duncan Edwards had an injury to his brain,
They said that Jackie Blanchflower would never play again,
Matt Busby he was lying there, the father of the team
Six months or more did pass before he saw another game

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


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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:58 pm

[img][/img][img][/img]





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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:58 pm

1. Harry Gregg. Born: Magherafelt 27 October 1933. Debut: v Leicester City 21 December 1957.

2. Bill Foulkes. Defender. Born: St Helens 1 January 1932. Debut: v Liverpool 13 December 1952.

3. Dennis Viollet. Born: Manchester 20 September 1933. Debut: v Newcastle 11 April 1953.

4. Johnny Berry. Born: Aldershot 1 June 1926. Debut: v Bolton Wanderers 1 September 1951.

5. Albert Scanlon. Born: Manchester 10 October 1935. Debut: v Arsenal 20 November 1954.

6. Ray Wood. Born: Hebburn 11 June 1931. Debut: v Newcastle 3 December 1949. Died 9 July 2002 Aged 71.

7. Jackie Blanchflower. Born: Belfast 7 March 1933. Debut: v Liverpool 24 November 1951.

8. Kenny Morgans. Born: Swansea 16 March 1939. Debut: v Leicester City 21 December 1957.

9. Bobby Charlton. Born: Ashington 11 October 1937. Debut: v Charlton Athletic 6 October 1956.

10. Roger Byrne. Born: Manchester 8 September 1929. Debut: v Liverpool 24 November 1951.

11. Geoff Bent. Born: Salford 27 September 1932. Debut: v Burnley 11 December 1954.

12. Tommy Taylor. Born: Barnsley 29 January 1932. Debut: v Preston North End 7 March 1953.

13. Liam Whelan. Born: Dublin 1 April 1935. Debut: v Preston North End 20 March 1955.

14. Eddie Colman. Born: Salford 1 November 1936. Debut: v Bolton Wanderers 12 November 1955.

15. David Pegg. Born: Adwick le Street 20 September 1935. Debut: v Middlesbrough 6 December 1952.

16. Mark Jones. Born: Wombwell 15 June 1933. Debut: v Sheffield Wednesday 7 October 1950.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:59 pm






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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:59 pm

After the Munich Air Disaster United rivals and haters termed Manunited as Man Utd to make fun of the deads of the Munich Air Disaster..

West Brom fans: “Duncan Edwards is manure, rotting in his grave, man you are manure- rotting in your grave”. The origin of “ManU” is a song to insult the dead Duncan Edwards.

Liverpool and Leeds fans copied this with their own man you /u versions to insult all of the lads who died at munich.

“ManU Man Utd went on a plane Man Utd Man Utd never came back again”

and..

“ManU Never Intended Coming Home” (if you combine the first letter of each word you get the word “munich”).


As a result, the term Man Utd entered in the chants of the United fans as Man Utd is supposedly used as a short form for Manchester United. But the roots of the term Man Utd evolved from a disrespect towards the busby babes and United fans should make it a must not to use it as i feel somehow their souls are hurt and we are ourselves disrespecting the very Dynasty that unjuslty perished..

6 February 1958... Busby Babes Gone and Never Forgotten... RIP Busby Babes... Forever Loved Forever Cherished for many many many and many more generations to come untill the world comes to an end Busby Babes will always be loved cherished and adored :'( We promise never
to let your memories fade Never let your sacrifices in vain and never let your inspiration unknown...
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:01 pm

Source : A Facebook note


Last edited by Rahul on Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Removed the smiley)
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:10 pm

Always a sad week for all the United supporters around the world. I can't comprehend what emotions must have the supporters and the people at the club gone through during those few days.


This was the moment which truly defined Manchester United and our rise from this in about 10 years is almost like a miracle and just goes to shows how great a man Sir Matt Busby was along with all the survivors and people at the club along with the supporters who brought us to the top once again.




PS: Please refrain from using smilies in this thread. This is a very emotional thread by all accounts and I don't want it turned into the usual thread. And useless spams will be deleted at once.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:16 pm

Yeah true man.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:21 pm

An excellent piece on what a supporter felt after the Munich air disaster.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Munich – The Aftermath

Although I was just 13 when the tragedy happened, my memories of that time have never dimmed. Britain had recently emerged from the post-war period, rationing had not long ceased, most people were employed in some capacity or another. Food tasted just as it was meant to (not like the crap we eat today), t.v. was still in its formative years, and for the majority of males, and a small percentage of females as well, weekend meant going to the match - be it cricket or football. Sundays were Sundays - a day of rest, whether you liked it or not!

The tragedy happened on a Thursday afternoon, and I can remember that day vividly. It was cold, and bleak, and some areas of the city experienced snow that afternoon. It was dark before 4p.m. After school, I had trudged down Ardwick Green, schoolbag on shoulder, and crossed Downing Street, into Rusholme Road. On the corner of that junction was a pet shop named Wyman's, and I was fortunate to have a job there, which was delivering pet food to various outlets in the area. I delivered what was really nothing more than horsemeat which was minced and used as dog food. I delivered it mostly to business outlets in the Fairfield, City Centre, and local areas. Jean Wyman, and her husband David, who owned the business, always had a flask of Oxo prepared for me in those winter months, and I would take this with me, and devour it as I walked the beat in the winter cold, delivering the dog food to their customers. My spirit that day was so good - the reason- Well, the previous day, United had put on a marvelous performance in Belgrade to draw 3-3 with Red Star, the Yugoslavian Army team. They were into the semi-finals of the European Cup again, and the large majority of United supporters, wanted them to draw Real Madrid so that they could gain revenge for the narrow defeat in the competition the previous season.

As I walked my delivery round, I can remember that the banter between the customers, and myself, was terrific. They all knew that I was United daft, and they were all pulling my leg as they paid their debts to me - we used to have threepenny bets on United's results! The first time that I had any foreboding, and sensed that something was wrong, was when I walked down Store Street, under the long railway arch, above which was London Road LMR Station (now Piccadilly) and out onto London Road. I used to deliver to a Wilson's pub across the road on the corner of Whitworth Street, facing the Fire Station, named The White Hart. There was a newspaper man there every night, selling the Evening News, and the Evening Chronicle. As I crossed over to his side of the road, he had just finished putting up a poster with the headline " Stop Press -United Plane Crashes at Munich." The "Stop Press" was a column on the right hand side of the newspaper, which contained a late headline for any breaking news that had not been in the wires before publication time. It looked as though the newspapers had been run through a Gestetner machine in order to include these headlines, after the newspaper had actually been printed. I hurriedly paid my tuppence for the Chron, but all it said was "Manchester United's Plane has crashed at Munich Airport - more to follow in later edition." At first, we all thought that it was just something minor, and nothing to worry about. I delivered to various people in the old Fires Station, but as I got further down London Road, and into Downing Street, the news had started to filter through about the crash on the wireless. The publican at the old Gog and Magog was the first to tell me that there had been fatalities, although he couldn't say who they were. It was almost 6p.m. by the time that I got back to Wyman's, but Jean and David knew nothing of the unfolding tragedy. I ran all the way up Rusholme Road, until I reached Royle Street, where I lived, and I ran into the house, to find my father, sitting besides the fireplace, with tears streaming down his face. He'd come home from Henshaw's Blind School which used to be situated close to Old Trafford, where he was training to be a joiner after losing his sight, and he had heard the news on the wireless.

By this time, more and more news was filtering through, and we sat there together, for the next few hours as the names of those lost became confirmed; Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Geoff Bent, Billy Whelan, Tommy Taylor, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Walter Crickmer, Tom Curry, Bert Whalley, Alf Clarke, Tom Jackson, Henry Rose, Archie Ledbrooke, Don Davies, and then finally, Frank Swift.

The hours passed, and it was as if we were all in a trance, as though time had stood still. Mum was at home, my sister was at home, but there was little or no conversation - we just sat there in the dim firelight, listening, waiting, praying, a heavy sadness enveloping the whole house. For me, a 13 years old boy, it was unthinkable that I would not be seeing my heroes play Wolves at Old Trafford in a vital league game on the following Saturday afternoon. I cried so much that evening, and went to bed hoping that it was all a horrible dream, and that I would awake the following morning to find that all was well. Unfortunately, when I did awake, I was to find out about the harshness and reality of life. Dad didn't go to work that morning, as did hardly anybody else in the City. The reality was all there before us in the morning editions of the newspapers and on the durther news bulletins given out on the wireless . Pictures, stories, tales of heroism, but starkly, the the story of the decimation of a team of wonderful young boys, backroom staff, and the cream of the British Sporting Press.

The atmosphere in the City during the days that followed was surreal - a great pall of mourning was constantly there. Adults openly shed tears. I can remember that each day I cried so much, could not eat, and had no interest in playing out, or doing anything much at all that young boys of that age do. So much so, that Mum had to keep me off school for some time. In hindsight, and something my parents agreed with me about years later, was the fact that I was in shock. I'd known a number of those boys, played with them during the summer months at the Galleon Open Air Swimming Pool in Didsbury. They were my idols, my heroes. During the previous three and a half years, I'd hardly missed a match at Old Trafford - in effect, I'd been growing up with them. It was beyond my comprehension that I wouldn't be seeing Tommy Taylor, David Pegg or Billy Whelan again - players I had got to know. If there was a light, it was that Duncan was surviving, and things looked optimistic for his recovery.

A few days after the tragedy, the coffins bearing the bodies of those that perished, returned home, and on a cold, wet, dark evening, a long convoy of black hearses, brought them from Ringway Airport, back to Old Trafford, where they were placed in the gymnasium to remain overnight, before being released to their respective families. Huge crowds lined the routes and I stood in Warwick Road, with my Mum, as those vehicles passed by - not a sound could be heard , except the rumble of the tyres on the cobbled road, and the quiet sniffles and sobs, as people's emotions got the better of them.

Funerals were held in the week that followed, and still, the mourning was so prevalent throughout the City. Attention became more focused on those that had survived, and the daily bulletin's concerning Duncan's recovery. Jimmy Murphy had traveled out to Munich and had returned back to Manchester with Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes. Matt Busby had told him to keep the flag flying at Old Trafford, and he now had to go about the business of putting a team together to play Sheffield Wednesday in an F.A. Cup 5th Round tie on the evening of February 19th. The FA had allowed the club to postpone the game the previous Saturday, due to the closeness of the funerals that had taken place earlier that week. To get the patched up young team out of the way of the all the media interest, he took them away to the Norbreck Hydro in Blackpool. People back in Manchester were trying to get some normality back into their lives as they came to terms with the shocking event that had happened. That second week after the tragedy, Duncan's condition began to yo-yo. Professor Georg Maurer, who had worked so hard at the Rechts der Isar Hospital, in Munich, had said, that any lesser mortal than Duncan, would never have survived, given the injuries that he had suffered. Oh! how I wanted him to live!

On February 19th, together with Mum, and her friend from Ardwick, Mary Donohue, we attended the first game after the tragedy. I can remember that although it was a 7:30p.m. kick off, we got to the ground at 4p.m as we wanted to be sure of getting in. It was no surprise then, that at that time, there was already long lines outside each turnstile. It was a bitterly cold, afternoon/ evening, with a very clear sky. The turnstiles opened early, and people flooded into the ground. We stood on the "popular side" on the half way line, underneath the old shed, with the Glover's Cables factory immediately to the rear of the stand. There was a muted murmuring sound as the ground began to fill – it was eerie – not like a normal match day at all. People spoke quietly to each other, and there were still tears of sorrow being shed as people spoke to each other about the loss of so many young boys.

As the old steam trains drew into the station on the opposite side of the ground, the clouds of smoke came over the top of the main stand, opposite, making it look as though a fog had descended inside the ground. The programme was unique, and has since become a collector's item - United's teamsheet bore no names at all - just eleven empty blank spaces. At 6:45p.m. it was announced that they were having to close the gates - Old Trafford was jammed packed full - a far cry from my previous visit on January 25th, when I had watched my beloved "Babes" beat Ipswich Town 2-0, in the 4th round of the FA Cup. At 7p.m. came the announcement we had been waiting for - the team - I can hear that announcer even today as he at last announced United’s line-up; "In goal, Harry Gregg, Number two and Captain, Bill Foulkes; Number three Ian Greaves; Number four Freddie Goodwin; Number five Ronnie Cope; Number Six, and please welcome our new signing from Aston Villa, Stan Crowther - there was gasps when this was announced; Number seven Colin Webster; Number eight, another new signing, Ernie Taylor; Number nine Alex Dawson, Number ten, Mark Pearson; Number eleven Seamus Brennan.

Ernie Taylor had been signed from Blackpool the previous week. It was a great signing because little Ernie was so gifted and experienced having played a full career with Newcastle and Blackpool, winning Cup Winner's medals with both of them. Stan Crowther's signing was the surprise, as it had taken place just an hour before the kick off, and had been specially sanctioned by the FA. Stan, had in fact played in a previous round of the FA Cup that season for Villa, and is still the only man to play for two different teams in the same season in the FA Cup competition.

I can remember the roars of the crowd suddenly erupting like a giant geyser does as Bill Foulkes led United out from the player’s tunnel. Wednesday's skipper that night was Albert Quixall, who was later to join United the following year. Albert recalls the moment that he emerged from that tunnel, at the head of the Wednesday team. He said the wall of noise that met them, was like nothing he had heard before. In effect, poor Wednesday were on a loser whichever way that the game went - public opinion was dead against them, and God knows what would have happened that night had they won the game. They would have taken a slating publicly. As it happened, roared on by the crowd, United won 3-0. Towards the end of the first half, United got a corner on the left hand side at the Scoreboard end, and Seamus Brennan whipped in an in-swinger, which Jim Ryalls, the Wednesday keeper, could only help into the net. Shay scored again in the second half, and then big Alex Dawson, scored near to the end. The atmosphere was electric throughout the game and roars could be heard all over the city. Even the people who were locked out of the ground earlier that evening, did not go home - they stayed outside of the ground!

To win that match 3-0 was beyond people's wildest dreams, and as the crowds filtered out, and the ground emptied, there was a kind of eerie silence again on the way home. People had expended so much nervous energy in the preceding five or six hours, they were absolutely drained.

Sadly, the elation, and jubilation, of the Wednesday evening, was to turn to tears once again, on the following Friday morning. I can recall my Mum coming upstairs to my bedroom, waking me with gentle shakes, and telling me quietly that Duncan Edwards had died in the early hours of that morning. Once more, my world was shattered. The one player that I idolised more than anybody else, was now gone. No more would I witness the boyish exuberance of the man, as he emerged from the tunnel taking those great bounding leaps onto the pitch. No more would any of us hear him shout to his colleagues just before a match started; "Come on lads, we 'aven't come 'ere for nuffink!" The Giant was gone, and the Legend had just begun.

I used to find it difficult to talk about the tragedy - especially as I went from adolescence into manhood. There is no doubt that it left a big scar on me - and to be honest - not only me, but hundreds of kids like me. I was difficult to control for a while, and both Mum and Dad were so worried, that mentally, something had happened to me. As I said iearlier, in hindsight, they both realised that they were having to deal with somebody in deep shock. Even my schoolteachers voiced their concern to my parents, as I became disinterested, difficult, very introverted, and was only happy out on the sportsfield. I would play "wag" (truant) from school, and walk up to Weaste Cemetery just to stand in front of Eddie Colman's grave, as his was the only one that I knew how to get to. I wrote lots of stuff about the team, and the players as individuals - I only wish that I had that stuff today. It was a micabre pattern of behaviour. But I had known a number of those boys, and I was grieving. For a young boy, it was hard to come to terms with, losing heroes that I absolutely adored. At that age, knowing that I would never see them again had a profound effect upon me. I was United "daft" in the truest sense of the word!

I think that the main reason that the tragedy affected so many people in the way that it did, was because those players, staff, reporters, etc, were all part of the local community. In those days there was a very close proximity between players and fans, club and local community. It's hard to relate to today, and some of the younger readers may find this unusual, but all those boys, men, were just ordinary, every day guys. There were no prima donnas, no pretentiousness. They wer "stars" - yes, but in the nicest possible way. They were literally, "the boy next door." Just every day Joe's who happened to have the gift of being able to play football, and played for the club that they really loved - Manchester United. They were so accessible – to everybody! If you waited long enough after a match, you could travel home with one of them on the bus; meet them in the shops, and always at The Locarno in Sale on Saturday evenings after home games. I have a few mates in Sale who are a little older than me, but who have related to me tales of how they used to sit with them in the Locarno, and the United lads would have a lemonade on top of the table, but half of mild underneath it! Some of them would walk from Stretford to the city centre just to go to the cinema. They wouldn’t travel on the bus because in their own words; “to do that was boring!” Many of them could be found in the local parks during afternoons throughout the week watching the school kids playing football, and there would always be banter and laughter with them. They always had time of day for ordinary every day people – the fans! They never lost sight of where they all came from.

It was also a time when they had awakened the imagination of the British sporting public. Up and until around 1955, football teams had an average age of somewhere towards the very late 20's. All of a sudden, here was this team of really youthful young men, winning their first championship with an average age of 22, playing the most outrageous brand of attacking football. Sir Matt's long term vision and plan had been proved right, and the doubters, and there was many of them, were being proved wrong. Sir Matt, Jimmy, Bert Whalley, Tom Curry, had schooled them all in the correct way - the foundations of the Club that we know today, were laid by these great men, in those years immediately after Busby's appointment in 1945. Like the players, the staff were just as accessible - Walter Crikmer would walk around the outside of the ground on a match day, chatting with the fans. For the big matches that had to be "all ticket", the tickets were always sold on a Sunday morning. People would start queueing in the early hours, and by the time that the turnstiles were opened for sales (yes, they were sold at the turnstile!) at 10a.m. the queues used to stretch from the ground, down the bottom end of Warwick Road, then all the way down Trafford Park Road, and into Ashburton Road - some line I can tell you! But invariably, Busby, and Jimmy, would find time to walk down the lines, chatting here, chatting there - Crikmer would stand on the canal bridge on Warwick Road as if he was counting the fans! After ticket purchase, when you were leaving the ground, it wasn't unusual to see players either arriving at the ground, or leaving because they had had to be in for treatment to injuries, or strains, suffered in the matches played the previous day. It's also interesting, that although it was the era when the maximum wage of twenty quid was in force, not many of those players, even Roger Byrne the captain, was on that amount as a flat rate! They used to get two quid for a win, and a quid for a draw! But you never heard the slightest moan, groan, whisper, about money! Those lads just lived to play football, and would have played every day! They were unusual in a lot of ways, because socially, they were also a very close knit set of guys, and were all mates together. Byrne was a great, great, captain and leader, and was Matt's mouthpiece in the dressing room. He was also the route to "the boss" for the players. Roger kept everybody in line. It’s my honest opinion that Roger was being groomed by Sir Matt to eventually take over as the next Manchester United manager after himself.

It's true to say that because they played the game so well, and in the right way, in capturing people's imagination - more people wanted to see them, and this was when attendances started to increase. BBC had limited coverage of games around this time - they used to show clips of several matches on a Sunday afternoon - and those families that had television used to invite the less fortunate kids around to watch the programme. This enabled more exposure for them, and of course, then came Europe, and that really did capture people's imagination - especially after that first game against Anderlecht at Maine Road, on that wet, late summer evening, of September 26th, 1956, when they demolished the Belgians 10-0. There is no doubt, that the whole of England's football fans, (apart from City's!) at that time were really behind United in their push for the European Cup. The two epic games against the mighty Real Madrid in early 1957, also enhanced their reputation, especially after some dubious methods and tactics were used by the Spaniards in both of those games. The "Babes" were considered such great ambassadors for their Club, their city, and their country, and were held in such great esteem everywhere that they traveled.

Yes, even today I can get very emotional when talking about those times. And I'm certain that it's the same for most of the people that were around at that time. But in my opinion, these stories have to be told. The story of the "Babes" is such an important part of United's history - not so much the actual accident - but the story of those tremendous young men who lost their lives pursuing not only Matt's, and their own dream, but the dream of all of the fans as well. Their memory and legend must never be allowed to die. They were a very extraordinary group of young men, blessed with tremendous abilities, who conducted themselves impeccably, and played the game in the right way and in the right spirit - what we know of today as "The Manchester United Way." It's why our traditions are so strong, why mediocrity is not accepted, and why those traditions have to be passed on from generation to generation. It's why a lot of other clubs are jealous of us now, because we have always been there at the forefront, and they cannot compete with our history. It's why Manchester United is the FAMILY that it is, because when you are born into that tradition, it's there for life. When United bleeds, we all bleed. We can disagree with each other, curse each other, fight with each other, but at the end of the day, we all agree on one thing - THERE'S ONLY ONE UNITED!

----------------------------------------------------------------

Taken from the MUST website forum. This piece is written by Tom Clare - a life long United supporter.


This piece is was posted in 2006 on the MUST forum
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:44 pm

Amazing
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:49 pm

I had heard him (Tom Clare) on a podcast too where he talked about the Busby Babes and Munich. Will have to find it. If I do...I'll post it here in that google player.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:04 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:08 pm

United's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded all our Munich dead,
Before their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their heart's blood dyed it's ev'ry fold.

Then raise United's banner high,
Beneath it's shade we'll live and die,
So keep the faith and never fear,
We'll keep the Red Flag flying here.

We'll never die, we'll never die,
We'll never die, we'll never die,
We'll keep the Red flag flying high,
'Cos Man United will never die
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:53 am

Where others would have sagged and died, United, however, as so often over the years, refused to wilt at the crisis.

Amazing.
Good read.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:08 pm

Touching story.
They pain and the agony they must have gone through.
RIP Busby Babes.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:07 pm

Vishal16 wrote:
Touching story.
They pain and the agony they must have gone through.
RIP Busby Babes.

There is more from that poster. I'll keep posting as and when I find his stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:12 pm

I made a goof-up merging that 1st Feb, 1958 thread into this thread leading into the OP being given to my post in that thread instead of Sai who actually created this thread.

Apologies Sai for the goof-up.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:18 pm

February 3rd, 1958

Early on Monday morning, 3 February, the players gathered at Old Trafford to take the coach to Ringway Airport for their charter flight to Belgrade. Their departure was delayed because, uncharacteristically, Mark Jones was late. It was a misty, foggy morning, and at Ringway their departure was delayed for at least an hour. The players broke off into their various groups, some playing cards, others just having a brew. The spirit amongst them was good, especially after the win at Arsenal.

There were no Manchester United directors on the flight as they were all committed to attend Mr. George Whittaker’s funeral on Wednesday, 5 February – the day of the match in Belgrade. In their place, and representing them, was Mr. Willie Satinoff, who was obviously much more than just a fan, a description which belies the importance and significance of his presence on that trip to Belgrade. The flight to Belgrade took just over six hours, with a re-fuelling stop en route at Munich. As the plane approached Belgrade there was snow and poor visibility. It circled the city a few times before it managed to land safely. Looking back, it is rather ironic that the records show United’s charter flight to have been the only aircraft that managed to land in Belgrade that day.

Entering the airport arrivals hall, the players were surrounded by pressmen and photographers from news agencies all across Europe. The media interest in the forthcoming game was immense. By the time the party reached their hotel, The Majestic, it was early evening and already dark. Their rooms were on the fourth floor, and the players were surprised but not alarmed to see armed guards on each floor. Much to their disappointment, the evening meal at the hotel was cold. Some of the players had taken their own supplies and so retired back to their rooms to supplement what they had eaten.

After dinner, a number of the players decided to have a walk about in the city. They donned their overcoats and off they went. It was a culture shock for all of them. Their eyes opened wide as they witnessed the poverty, and long queues at all the shops. Tommy Taylor stared in disbelief, pointing out that a number of people were wearing shoes made from old car tyres. They came across what they thought was a skating rink, which upon closer inspection was found to be a small park lake that had frozen over. Tommy Taylor and Jackie Blanchflower decided to give it a try while the others stood back and watched. The management team would have had palpitations had they witnessed what these two international players were doing! After the skating episode, some of the players did a little late night shopping and bartered with chocolates, cigarettes and toothpaste, instead of using cash.

---------------

Again an excellent piece by Tom Clare. Credit to Tom and redcafe.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:19 pm

February 4th, 1958

Upon arrival in Belgrade it had been rumoured that the game was in danger due the pitch being frost bound. But Red Star officials assured United that the pitch would thaw out in time for the Wednesday afternoon kick off. On the Tuesday afternoon the United party, along with the press lads and the aircraft crew, went to the stadium, where and the players trained. With the air crew was a steward, Tommy Cable. Tommy was a United nut and he had managed to change duties with the person originally selected to serve the United flight. He just wanted to fly with United and see the game. The surface of the pitch was still hard and under a covering of snow and there were patches of ice. Roger Byrne took a fitness test and declared himself fit to play. The party returned to the hotel, and trainers Tom Curry and Bert Whalley got busy with the players’ boots, making sure that they had studs of the correct length for the conditions.

The players were still in great spirits, and that evening they decided on a visit to the cinema. Much to their surprise, as they entered the cinema, the first two rows were cleared of people and the United party were given preference. The players felt sorry for those poor people that had paid their hard-earned money, though they may not have been able to understand the film, which was in English. With the film over, the players retired back to their rooms at the hotel and had an early night – the following day was going to be a huge test for them. Back in Manchester, we were all nervous and anxious about how this game would go.

----------------------------

Credit to Tom Clare
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:43 pm

Wednesday February 5th, 1958

Wednesday 5 February dawned, and several of the players slept in. At lunchtime they had a light snack, then were told of the team selection and briefed by manager Matt Busby in one of the hotel’s dining rooms. As they boarded the coach for the stadium, there were hundreds of singing and dancing Red Star fans outside the hotel. It was the same all the way to the stadium. The stadium was packed to capacity, many of the spectators being servicemen.

The pitch was still not in the best condition, but from the very first whistle United had decided to take the game to Red Star. Within two minutes United were rewarded. Red Star had an attack broken down just on the United 18 yard line and the ball was swiftly played up the channel on the right hand side of the pitch. Tommy Taylor had moved wide to collect the ball just inside his own half. Turning quickly, he was away down the right as the Slav defenders retreated. Dennis Viollet made a run inside Taylor, and as the big Yorkshireman bore down on goal, he slipped a short ball inside to Viollet who made no mistake in putting it past Beara and into the net.

The goal should have given United more breathing space, but they continued with their strategy of attacking the Slavs, and after 14 minutes thought that they had increased their lead when Charlton had the ball in the net only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

The Austrian referee was spoiling the game, as he whistled so often. It frustrated the United lads, who only had to go near a Red Star player to be pulled for a foul. The game was stop-start, and even the most innocuous of challenges was penalised. Big Duncan Edwards vented his feelings to the referee only to find himself booked for his audacity!

But on 15 minutes Bobby Charlton picked up a loose ball in central midfield just inside the Red Star half. He drove forward until he was some 25 yards out, and let fly with a blockbuster of a shot that hardly got off the ground. It was hit with such venom that once again Beara got nowhere to it. Leading 2-0, 4-1 on aggregate, the tie was virtually over and the Slav crowd was silenced.
It got even better just two minutes later when on 17 minutes, after United had been awarded a free kick, there was a melee in the Red Star goalmouth. The ball fell to Edwards who miscued a shot which rebounded from Beara to Bobby Charlton who made no mistake from such short range. With United 3-0 up, 5-1 on aggregate, after just over a quarter of an hour, things couldn’t get better. To all intents and purposes, this tie was over.

For the remainder of the first half United were content to play the ball around, keep possession, and keep it safe at the back. The Red Star team looked demoralised and downhearted as they made their way to the dressing rooms at half-time. But whatever was said by the Red Star management team in their dressing room during that break, it certainly had an effect!

Within two minutes of the restart inside forward Kostic had pulled a goal back, and then just 10 minutes later there came an incident that is still talked about today. Bill Foulkes was marking Zebec tightly, and the ball was played into the young Slav’s feet. He was blatantly backing into Foulkes, and as he did so they both went tumbling inside the penalty area. The United players were furious when Keitl, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. It was a very suspicious decision, but one that allowed Kastic to score. Red Star were back in the game at 2-3, and 3-5 on aggregate, with over half an hour still to go.

United had to fight a hard rearguard action now, and for the remainder of the game Edwards and Byrne marshalled their defenders magnificently. They did breakaway on a few occasions, and after carrying the ball some 40 yards or more, young Kenny Morgans was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the inside of a post and out to safety. The Yugoslavian fans were now very noisy and as the minutes ticked away they upped the atmosphere.

Somehow United hung on until in the very last minute, when Harry Gregg had to come racing out to the edge of his area to smother a through-ball destined for the feet of Sekularac. The big Irishman made sure that he got there first, but the impetus of his dive took him outside of the area and he was penalised. From the free kick, Kostic lifted the ball over United’s wall and into the net to make the score 3-3, and 4-5 on aggregate. The crowd were in raptures, but unfortunately for them the referee blew to end the game almost as soon as play had re-started.
Tom Curry and Bert Whalley ushered the players off the pitch as some of them were bombarded with lumps of ice from the disappointed Red Star fans.

Once inside the dressing room there was relief. United were through, and could now look forward to the semi-final draw. Busby’s reaction was one of elation, and his words to the players were, “Well that’s another one out of the way, and we’re there again.” Afterwards, when the players met the press, and were asked about the second half, Roger Byrne told them, “We had to stop tackling because the referee was blowing up for anything and everything. We had to be careful and keep our composure. We just dared not go in.” However, the Red Star players were generous in their praise for United after the game, and admitted that the best team over the two legs had won through.

The United party returned to the Majestic Hotel, and after a few hours rest they made their way down to one of the state rooms, where a reception was hosted by the British Ambassador. There was a great deal of respect and camaraderie between the two sets of players, and as the evening wore on they just wanted to get away and enjoy themselves.

Beforehand, Matt Busby had told Roger Byrne, the United skipper, that he would allow the players to leave the reception once the formalities and presentations were complete. As midnight approached the younger players were getting itchy feet, so Roger wrote on a table napkin, “You promised the boys that they could leave once the formalities were over. Permission to go?” The napkin was passed up to the top table, and upon reading it Matt looked towards Roger’s table and nodded his assent.

Before they left, the Yorkshire trio of Tommy Taylor, Mark Jones and David Pegg gave the diners a rousing rendition of On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘At. Then Roger rose and assembled his team together, and led them in a rendition of Vera Lynn’s famous war time song, "We’ll Meet Again."

Sadly, that was never to be. The players slipped out of the Majestic, and into the snow and darkness. For the majority their careers, their European adventures, and their journeys through life, were just a few short hours away from ending.

-------------------------------------------

Credit to Tom Clare once again.


Another excellent read.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:58 pm

Yeah you posted this on FB too
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:58 pm

Cut down in their prime,
In silence, on that day,
February 58, they got what they need,
From Belgrade and back home to sleep.

More than a name, to millions,
What could have been changed,
By all the boys leaving Munich on that day,
The snow came and sent them to sleep.

This, fall, was, greater than them all
News and tributes come leaking in
As all eyes turn to Rome,
I forgotten the sadness feel
Voices turn us towards.

Cut down in their prime,
In silence, on that day,
February 58, they got what they need,
From Belgrade and back home to sleep.

This, fall, was, greater than them all
News and tributes come leaking in
As all eyes turn to Rome,
I forgotten the sadness feel,
Voices turn us towards.
They're still singing despite the years
Sending them back into Rome,
There's a ringing in the ears,
That lasts them here to war.

News and tributes...

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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:00 pm

^ A song by the british band The Futureheads. The one whose verse is featured on our forum logo for the Anniversary.
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:37 pm

They Were My Heroes

1958 to 2008, a period of 50 years. To some, it may seem like an eternity. However, on Wednesday, 6 February 2008, when I and thousands of Mancunians from my era closed our eyes in those silent moments of reflection and remembrance, that 50 year period was recalled in just a fraction of a second. A kaleidoscope of memories flooded back. It was a bitter-sweet, but moving experience.

To be in Manchester and to follow Manchester United in the 1950s was a wonderful experience. Matt Busby had arrived when there was no ground for his team to play on, when training facilities were non-existent, when money for the transfer market was less than adequate, and the players in the team which he had inherited had lost six years of their careers to a little matter called the Second World War. Undaunted, he met the challenge head on, and as the years passed he built a club that became a family unit.

Busby embraced everybody into that family: players at every level within the club: staff; groundstaff; scouts; tea ladies; laundry ladies; and even the fans. He made people belong. Remembering his first tentative steps as a young professional player arriving in Manchester in the late 1920s to play for Manchester City, he was to tell that wonderful writer, Arthur Hopcraft (in The Football Man – People and passions in Soccer):

“To begin with I wanted a more humane approach than there was when I was playing. The younger lads were just left on their own. The first team players hardly recognised the lads underneath. There never seemed to be enough interest taken in them. The manager sat at his desk and you probably saw him once a week. From the very start, I wanted even the smallest member think he was a part of the club.”

That he succeeded is beyond dispute.

The club in the 1950s was vibrant with youth. It was such a wonderful place to be around. Everybody was so approachable. The Babes captured the hearts of fans wherever they played. They were stars, yes, and they knew it. But their feet were firmly planted on the ground.

The period between September 1950 and February 1958 gave me so much pleasure, as I grew up alongside this young team, watching them develop and mature. I shared their highs and lows – I laughed when they won, and was heartbroken whenever they lost a game. It seemed as though my happiness would go on forever – but that wasn’t to be.

I can still recall with great clarity that late Thursday afternoon in Manchester when the news began filtering through that there had been an accident at Munich. That memory never leaves me. The news that there had been fatalities made me experience, for the very first time in my life, that awful, gut-wrenching, churning feeling of loss. It was incomprehensible that I would never again see the young men who had become my idols. The sense of shock and loss is just so hard to describe. It has stayed with me throughout my life, and I would imagine it is the same for all my contemporaries. Even now, as I enter my old age, I still get so emotional about those dear young people. I have suffered loss and also tragedy in my lifetime, and I have been able to cope with it. However, the loss that was suffered at Munich is still there, and it never goes. That gut-wrenching, devastating feeling whenever I think back to that sad day will never, ever, go away.

At my home in Houston, Texas, I have a video about the lives and careers of the Busby Babes. There are often times, now that I am in the twilight of my life, and especially when I am on my own, when I’ll sit down and watch it in quiet reflection. It takes me back to those heady days of such carefree happiness. There are some wonderful moments in that tape which bring the memories flooding back; wonderful memories of a tremendous group of young people, who had time for everybody. Players who caught the bus on home match days and who would happily join in the banter with the fans who were going to watch them; players who gave up their time and their energy so willingly to the community; players who always remembered where they had come from; players who never became detached from who they were; players who just loved the game of football and who would have played every day if they could. No moans about tiredness or fatigue or the number of games that they had to play – they just wanted to get out there and perform.

The last part of the video relates entirely to the accident, and both Bill Foulkes and Harry Gregg relate their memories. It’s when I see this that my own hurt really begins, and it all floods back.

As I have often stated, I can never forget the pall of mourning that affected Manchester on that afternoon and evening, and which carried on into the next few weeks. Seeing the curtains of people’s houses closed for a week or more as a mark of respect. They even had pictures of the team put up inside those windows. Men and women were weeping, and showing their grief so openly in public. I’ll never forget the exact moment when I heard that big Duncan had passed away or the hurt and sadness that hit me so hard again.

Sadly, in the blink of an eye, it was all gone. The effect that it had on fans of all ages was plain to see for weeks, months, and even years afterwards. On some of the days, I played truant from school and would walk to Old Trafford, and just hang around the stadium all day. In my young head it made me feel closer to them. I still half expected to see some of them coming out of the players’ entrance after their training had been done. I still expected to see their smiling faces and hear them tease each other again. Often I would stand outside that entrance, the tears streaming down my cheeks as I recalled times when I had spoken to them, laughed with them, and had my hair ruffled by them. I often stood by the drain pipe by the old ticket office, and remembered the many times that I had watched the big fella tie his bicycle to that pipe with the piece of string he always had in his pocket. It hurt so much knowing I would never see him again, and I’m not ashamed to say that I wept openly. Whenever I think of him today, that still happens.

They were just so different. I would stand and think of Eddie’s cheeky chappy smile – that big black duffle coat that he always seemed to wear. I’d recall the gentleness of Mark Jones, and also of Billy Whelan, who I always had difficulty in understanding when he spoke. The trio that was Tommy Taylor, David Pegg, and Bobby Charlton. All three of them so happy, full of smiles and inseparable. Little Johnny Berry, Dennis Viollet, Bill Foulkes, Roger Byrne, Jackie Blanchflower and Ray Wood - the married lads who always seemed to want to get away quickly and get back home. The enormity of the loss was just so hard to take in, and even today it still is.

Other days I would meander along to Salford, and into Weaste Cemetery where Eddie had been laid to rest. At first his resting place was just a mound of earth with floral tributes upon it, and I would stand there for an hour or more willing him to be with me, smiling and joking. I was never the only one person there, as many other people would be visiting as well. The black headstone inscribed with gold lettering appeared some six weeks after the disaster and that brought home to me the permanency of Eddie’s passing. Everything seemed so unfair and so hard to take. How could they have gone just like that? How could they have left us with no goodbyes? It was, and always has been, one long and continuous heartache.

Whenever I return to the heart of my memories I remember the Babes with so much affection. They were my first love, and always will be. Michael Parkinson asked Sir Matt Busby the question, “If they had survived, what do you think they would have achieved?” I watched the great man as he paused to give his answer. His face betrayed the feelings that welled up inside him, and there was the hint of a small tear in his eyes. Emotionally, he responded, “I think that if they had entered it, they’d have even won the Boat Race.”

I agree with that statement because believe me they would have taken some stopping.

At the end of my video about the Babes, Harry Gregg comes out with some wonderful words about the young players with whom he played for so short a time:

“They say that they were the best team that we have ever seen. Well, maybe.

They say that they may have gone on to be the best team that we have ever seen. Well – again, maybe.

However, there is one thing that is for certain – they were certainly the best loved team that there has ever been.”

Such a powerful statement, and that love came from the humility of those dear boys, their sportsmanship, the way they lived their lives, and the respect they gave to their opponents whilst never fearing them. Although the hurt is there whenever I think of them, I do think of a group of young men who always had smiles upon their faces. They were such a happy bunch, and such fun to be around. They never considered themselves anything special, and as Wilf McGuinness once said, “We were just a great bunch of pals who happened to play football.”

I miss them just as much today as I did when I first became aware of the horror of what had happened on that sad, fateful day. Whenever I return to Old Trafford, before a match I close my eyes, and I can still see them. It is so easy for me to see Roger Byrne leading them out from the old tunnel, taking two taps of the ball up into his hands and then ballooning it up towards the Scoreboard End goal. I see Big Dunc emerging from that same tunnel, taking two giant leaps as he strides onto the pitch, heading an imaginary ball. I see the big smile of Tommy Taylor as he fires in balls at the goal, and the triangle of little Eddie, Mark Jones and the big fella moving the ball around in front of the Popular Stand. Those memories will never leave me.

Today I will pay my respects to a wonderful group of people who gave me, and thousands just like me, so much happiness and pleasure, and who lost their lives pursuing not only their dreams, but also our dreams as well.

Sleep on in peace dear boys. Your memory and legend will never die, and you will always live on as the definitive heartbeat of our great club.


-------------------------------

Another great read by Tom Clare
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Rahul
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:58 pm

The otherwise crap official site does have some good articles on the Munich Disaster:


Manutd.com - Munich Disaster
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:40 pm

Great video this though not pertaining only to the Busby Babes.


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ankit7
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PostSubject: Re: Busby Babes gone but never forgotten   Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:56 am

RIP busby babes,This team was on its way to greatness before this disaster took place sad

great work rahul ,it is a touching story
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Busby Babes gone but never forgotten

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