Flowers of 1958

flowers of munich 1958, we will never die

Feb 6th, 1958 15:04. A minute that will always be inked in the history of Manchester United. 23 people lost their lives. 8 players. 3 stuff members. 8 Journalists. 2 air crew members. 2 more passengers.

Each one of them has a name, a family, a life story and some connection to the club. Manchester United were on their way back happily after qualified to the semi final of the European cup. Beating Yugoslav side Red Star Belgrade and ready to face AC Milan.

The Aircraft had to land in Munich to refuel. After 2 times of delaying the flight because of an engine problem the third attempt was their last one. Because of the heavy snow a layer of slush began to form at the end of the runway. When they were hitting the slush the plane went through the fence and the left wing was torn off. The plane got struck into a house and a fire started to show up. people were running out to save themselves while others came in again to save injured survivors that were stuck in the plane. 7 players lost their lives right away while Duncan Edwards survived the crush but died a few weeks after at the hospital in Munich.

These team was managed by Sit Matt Busby who survived the crush and therefore got the nickname of “The Busby Babes”.

Geoff Bent – lost his life at the age of 25. Left a wife and a daughter. Played as a full back. Used to be a backup for Roger Bryne and Billy Foulkes. In this match he played due to an injury of Roger Byrne. He had 12 appearances for the club.

Roger Byrne – lost his life at the age of 28. The oldest player to die in the crush. He left a wife and never got the news that his wife was pregnant with their child. He was a full back. 280 appearances for the club and 20 goals.

Eddie Colman – He was only 21 when he lost his life. He scored 2 goals for the club. One of them was on the first leg against Belgrade which helped the team to qualify to the Semi Final. Was the youngest player to lose his life in the crush. 108 appearances for the Midfielder.

Duncan Edwards – Was known as one of the best players in the world at the time. He succeed to survive the crush but lost his life later on. He was only 21 year old when he died. 177 appearances under his belt scoring 21 goals. Edwards also played with the English national team scoring 5 goals in 18 appearances.

Mark Jones – Was only 24 when died. Played as a Centre half. 121 appearances at the club and scoring one goal. Jones left a wife and 2 children, a girl and a boy. The latter one was born a few months after he died.

David Pegg – died in the age of 22 leaving a wife. played as an Outside left. His Career was cut with 150 appearances and 28 goals for the club. Reports are telling that Real Madrid were looking for a new left back only to fight Pegg in the future because of the problems he made to the Spanish side on the year before.

Tommy Taylor – Was one of a six children of the Taylor family. Lost his life at the age of 26. Was one of the best players in the world as the team. Providing 131 goals in 191 Appearances. An amazing conversion rate of 68%. Also played in the national team scoring 16 goals in 19 matches. Sir Matt Busby refused a huge offer of 65k from Internazionale which was supposed to be one of the highest football transfers fee at the time.

Billy Whelan – Died when he was only 22 years old. The Irish forward had 98 appearances at the club and 58 goals. He had 4 Capps for the Irish National team. He didn’t play in the match against Belgrade the day before but was a huge part of the team that won the league twice.

While Sir Matt Busby was trying to recover from his injuries, Jimmy Murphy, who was his assistant became now the Manager of the club. Helping the club to recruit new players and continue play in the competitions. The goal keeper Harry Gregg who survived the crush was the only member to continue play on that year. United finished 9th in the league and was eliminated by AC Milan from the European cup.

Murphy’s remarkable quote from that time stayed as a moto of the club. “Manchester United Will Never Die”.