Saturday 6 February 2016

The darkest day in United's history they will never be forgotten

The date of 6 February will forever be circled on the calendars of everyone involved with Manchester United.

On that day in 1958, the darkest day in United's history, 23 people- including eight players and three members of the club's staff- suffered fatal injuries in the Munich air crash.

Flying back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade against Red Star, the team plane stopped in Germany to refuel.

The team had just secured their place in the semi-finals of the tournament and were widely tipped to go all the way until the tragic crash- later found to be a result of slush on the runway- cut them down in their prime.

The first two take off attempts from Munich airport were aborted, and, following the third take-off, the plane lost power and skidded off the end of a runway, through a fence and into a house.

Twenty one people died instantly.

The aircraft's captain, Kenneth Rayment died a few weeks later from the injuries he sustained in the accident while Duncan Edwards- one of the eight victims from the team- lost his life 15 days after the crash.

Team captain Roger Byrne (28), Eddie Colman (21), Mark Jones (24), David Pegg (22), Tommy Taylor (26), Geoff Bent (25), Liam Whelan (22) all died along with club secretary Walter Crickmer and coaches Tom Curry and Bert Whalley.

Eight journalists died- Alf Clarke, Tom Jackson, Don Davies, George Fellows, Archie Ledbrook, Eric Thompson, Henry Rose and former City keeper Frank Swift.
Passengers Bela Miklos, Willie Satinoff and crew member Tom Cable were also killed. 

The tragedy is an indelible part of the club's history, as is Sir Matt Busby overcoming his injuries to lead his rebuilt side to European Cup glory 10 years on.

The 58th anniversary of the disaster was remembered before Tuesday's home game against Stoke- the closest match to the date of the crash, and commemorations continued at Old Trafford today.

A minute's silence was held at 3.04pm- the exact time that the plane went down- and the laying of flowers, wreaths and the signing of the "Flowers of Manchester" took place at the memorial to the victims next to the clock at the entrance to the Munich tunnel in the East Stand. 

We will never forget. 

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