Remembering Busby Babes: Manchester United honour 23 lives lost in Munich air crash disaster

By Oliver Rhodes & Alex Bysouth

Manchester United are remembering the 23 people – including eight players and three club staff members – killed in the Munich air disaster 55 years ago today.

The ‘Busby Babes’ who tragically died were Roger Byrne (28), Eddie Colman (21), Mark Jones (24), David Pegg (22), Tommy Taylor (26), Geoff Bent (25), Liam Whelan (22) and Duncan Edwards (21).

Club secretary Walter Crickmer, trainer Tom Curry and coach Bert Whalley were also killed and current manager Sir Alex Ferguson said United’s darkest day continues to haunt him.

“I have been affected since a young boy. It was a sad time,” Ferguson told BBC Sport.

“For many it is probably long forgotten but for someone like me who remembers the day, you won’t forget it.”

Along with the boss, Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand is calling for supporters to honour the 55th anniversary of the crash.

Ferdinand tweeted: “Remembrance for the #MunichDisaster / anniversary today 06/02/1958. #BusbyBabes.”

Veteran winger Ryan Giggs explained the importance of the Busby Babes, who formed one of United’s most exciting and attacking teams, and the history of the day that shook football.

“We all watched a DVD about Munich recently. It was really important for the squad to watch that and learn about what happened,” the Welshman told the club website.

“Not only about the crash itself but also the success they had before it and how the team moved forward in the aftermath, from winning the next game to winning the European Cup 10 years later.”

Sir Bobby Charlton, who survived the crash, gave a presentation to United players on the 50th anniversary of the crash, and Giggs spoke of his admiration for Charlton and manager Sir Matt Busby.

“Sir Bobby also spoke that day as someone who witnessed everything first hand,” he added. “It was great to hear him speaking about his experiences of playing in Europe at the time and how different it was then.

“He gave us a picture of how the players prepared for games – if we’re playing in a big game like a Champions League semi-final, we’ll watch videos and know everything about the opposition.

“The Babes couldn’t see videos of the players they were up against and the system they used, once Sir Matt went to watch Real Madrid.

“When he came back, his players asked him what they were like, he didn’t want to tell them because Real Madrid were that good!

“It was great to hear stories like that from Sir Bobby, his talk was a real insight into how football has changed and how good that team was.”

As England prepare to face Brazil tonight in an international friendly to mark the FA’s 150th anniversary, manager Roy Hodgson remembers the emotional impact that resonated throughout Europe.

“I remember that night extremely well,” said Hodgson.

“I remember sitting at home as an 11-year-old and hearing the news and being absolutely devastated.

“So many great players, and a footballing generation in Manchester lost their lives.

“It is a sobering thought but it is important to remember those things.”

Picture courtesy of PeeJayK23, with thanks.

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