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Remembering The Busby Babes

Today is the 64th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. The Busby Babes might be gone but they will never be forgotten.

In you want to learn more about Munich and the Busby Babes, then check out Munich58.co.uk and United Front. There also is a movie that is available on Netflicks called United.

Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson spoke to BBC Sport about the Munich disaster back in 2014 and how he is still affected by the Munich air crash, 61 years on from the disaster.

‘I’ve been affected since a young boy. It was a sad time,’ Ferguson told BBC Sport.

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

Ferguson paid tribute to those who helped rebuild the club, which went on to win the European Cup 10 years later.

‘How we rose to get over that is remarkable in terms of (manager) Sir Matt Busby and (assistant manager/temporary manager) Jimmy Murphy and all the staff at the time,’ he said.

‘It was a fantastic group of young men who were destined to be great and that was the tragedy of it in how it was taken away from them.’

And Ferguson says the event is one that should not be forgotten.

‘When you were caught up in the aftermath of it and the publicity, and when the papers detailed what had happened, you couldn’t help but feel that enormous loss for anyone football-minded,’ he added.

‘That has carried on for a long, long time and every year you have to remember that.’


The tragedy is an indelible part of United’s history, as is Sir Matt Busby overcoming his injuries to build another great team which won the European Cup 10 years later.

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) all died, along with club secretary Walter Crickmer, trainer Tom Curry and coach Bert Whalley. While Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower were among the survivors, they never played football again.

The Busby Babes had who won the league championship in 1955–56 and 1956–57 with an average age of 21 and 22 respectively and you wonder how European history would have been different if Munich had never happened.

United were on the way back from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade, which saw them reach the semi-final stages of the competition. They needed to refuel in Munich.

There were two failed attempts to take off and on the third the plane crashed into slush at the end of the runway before going through a fence. The left wing was torn off after a house was hit.

Eight journalists died – Alf Clarke, Tom Jackson, Don Davies, George Fellows, Archie Ledbrook, Eric Thompson, Henry Rose, and Frank Swift who was a former Manchester City player. Plane captain Ken Rayment perished, as did Sir Matt’s friend Willie Satinoff. Travel agent Bela Miklos and crew member Tom Cable also died.