Twentieth Edition - 50 Years On Feb 5, 2008 23:58:26 GMT
Post by Scott on Feb 5, 2008 23:58:26 GMT
The Voice of Mancunia is published late this month in order to coincide to the momentous occasion of today, the 50th anniversary since the Munich Air Disaster. The crash which claimed the lives of eight of our players, ripping apart what is referred to by some as the greatest team ever, long before they had chance to reach their full potential. Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan were the Busby Babes who lost their lives that night in Munich.
The disaster has shaped our club in immeasurable ways and is an event which seems unimaginable to the modern day footbal fan. Can you imagine what it would have been like if following the 95-96 season, the likes of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, the Nevilles, Butt and the like lost their lives after booking their place in the European Cup semi finals? The Busby Babes had won the title the past two years on the trot and were chasing the Treble. They were the future of football, not only in Manchester, but in England, and arguably, the World over. They were on the brink of establishing themselves as the European force and it was cruelly taken away from them, the club and the fans.
Following the disaster, Manchester United had to continue and chairman Harold Hardman had made this clear in his message on the front cover of the Sheffield Wednesday programme: "United will go on .... the club has a duty to the public and a duty to football. We shall carry on even if it means that we are heavily defeated. Here is a tragedy which will sadden us for years to come, but in this we are not alone. An unprecedented blow to British football has touched the hearts of millions. Wherever football is played United is mourned".
It is this touching sentiment, United will go on, which the club has clung on to ever since. Manchester United will never die.
There has been an overwhelming amount of press coverage in the past few weeks, with some quality articles being printed to remind most of us what we already knew, as well as giving a fresh insight from the survivors. The Guardian and The Times amongst the broadsheets that gave a good account of themselves in reporting on the tragedy. Feel free to add any noteworthy articles you’ve stumbled across over the past few days in this thread.
Numquam Moribimur – Never Die.
MancuniaMerchandise.com has added some designs in memory of the Babes, which as you could expect, will not earn any profit.
We ran a competition on the forum for tributes to the Babes and the winner will receive a "Republik of Mancunia" hoodie.
Join me in congratulating Soapy as the winner. His entry follows.
An echo carved in stone
A snow-covered runway in Munich was not the plan, much less the burning wreckage of British European Airways Flight 609. Three attempts at a take off that was never to be, and the team that was pioneering English football in Europe was gone. Eight players, eight sons, eight loved family members, eight heroes.
Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Liam ‘Billy’ Whelan, Mark Jones, Tommy Taylor, Geoff Bent and Roger Byrne. A roll call of players who, by the football they played and by virtue of their comparatively young age, had captured the imagination of football fans from all corners of the globe.
Fifty years later we remember that day as the great tragedy it was, but beneath the sombre tones and sad reflection that will touch the crowds on that day; the prevailing mood should be one of celebration. A celebration to the memory of those great men, and all they had achieved prior to their deaths. And what better way to celebrate than by acknowledging that our own, modern day United, shares the same will to win, and fearless attacking potential that made this 1950’s team such a mouth watering prospect to the average fan.
You see, strip away the modern day veneer of celebrity and wealth that adorns the current crop of United players, and you have a group of young men, blessed with the talent to entertain, and the ability to win. Perhaps it might be fanciful to suggest that, within the confines of our beloved Old Trafford, the spirit of those now long gone days resonates and fills the atmosphere and its players with magic but it’s a notion that would hardly be more appropriate during our game on February 10th.
This is a day we can honour our fallen and show the world that their legacy has become the beating heart of every United side since. This is a day we can allow ourselves to imagine, for one small moment, that Big Dunc is still there, right in front of us, bullishly taking the ball from defence into attack before lashing a shot into the top corner. This is a day when we can imagine Eddie Colman, weaving his magic on the flanks with his customary style and panache. Most of us never saw the Babes play but that should be no hindrance, simply read about them, read about the awe they inspired in all who played against them and allow those shared memories to play on for one final game.
This is our day, fellow United fans, this is our day to remember and rejoice at the spectacular history that our club has provided us with. After the silence has been observed, we can unfurl our flags and our banners, and we can sing. Sing their names loudly. Whether you are in the stadium, or watching the game in a downtown bar thousands of miles away, let the world know that these boys will never be forgotten, never be allowed to become a distant memory of a time long past. We owe it, not only to them but to ourselves.
So here’s to you lads, here’s to the success you achieved while alive, and to the current side, so richly steeped in your hallowed names.
Play on boys, play on…
Now let us begin:
Member of the Month
This month’s winner goes to a member who joined at the beginning of January this year and has gone on to make an average of six posts a day, immersing themselves in the RoM community. Also a regular on the blog. So, I’m sure you’ll all join me in congratulating Jak as this month’s winner.
Time for the member interview. Vidic’s Bitch has been a regular on the forum for some time now and has given you a bit of insight on himself.
Real name:Keith O'Brien
Where are you from:Wicklow in Ireland
Who is your biggest inspiration:Don't really have any particular person but if i had to pick someone it would be my Dad
What would you like to be better at:Going to the gym and actually working out,i usually just sit around and talk lol
What is your all time favourite film? Shawshank Redemption
Favourite Quote? "Its a celebration bitch hahahaha"
If you won the lottery, how would you spend it? Booze,cars,women and i suppose i'd give a bit to my family and charity.
One job in the world, what would it be? Footballer or Euro millions winner :Peither one works for me
Your dream girl/boy?Probably Gemma Akinson
What’s your biggest ambition in life? Not to get stuck in a boring job i hate for the rest of my life
What’s your greatest ever achievement?Winning 500 euro in a game of texas holdem one day in school,pretty poor but i never really achieve stuff,i give up
What’s your biggest regret?Can't think of any #huhuh#
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Floating around somewhere,maybe Australia
Who do you hate most: City/Liverpool/Leeds/Arsenal/Other: Liverpool
How did you celebrate us winning the title? Stayed in the pub for two days straight,the owner is a huge united fan lol didnt close the pub for a week
Whats the best game you've ever been too?I've been to a few good games,Ac Milan was probably the best in terms of quality of football but my first game at old trafford was my favorite.We played everton and drew 1-1 but it was just the excitement i got being at my first game,and when giggsy scored the equalizer i went crazy,i'll never forget that goal as long as i live ;D
Who's your favourite member on the forum?Wouldn't beable to pick one really
Anything else you want to tell us?i like cheese ;D
Was He United’s All Time Greatest Striker?
This month’s article is by me.
When United fans are asked to name the all time greatest striker at the club, players like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Mark Hughes, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke or Eric Cantona might spring to mind. You ask an older fan and you might find Denis Law, Jack Rowley or Stan Pearson might get in the short list. The name Tommy Taylor is often overlooked.
When reflecting on the Munich Air Disaster, it is Duncan Edwards who often gets a mentioned. Those who watched him claim he was the greatest player ever, despite losing his life when he was just 21. Sir Bobby Charlton always speaks favourably of this lad, 'the complete player'. "He was incomparable, I feel terrible trying to explain to people just how good he was, his death was the biggest single tragedy ever to happen to Manchester United and English football," he said. "I always felt I could compare well with any player - except Duncan. He was such a talent, I always felt inferior to him. He didn't have a fault with his game." Former United manager, Tommy Docherty, said he was the best. "You can keep all your Bests, Peles and Maradonas, Duncan Edwards was the greatest of them all," he said. Jimmy Murphy, who trained the Busby Babes, said, "When I used to hear Muhammad Ali proclaim to the world he was the greatest, I used to smile. You see, the greatest of them all was an English footballer named Duncan Edwards."
With the Munich reports popping up all over the place over the past week or two (the most ridiculous coming from BBC's 'The One Show', with Ulrika Johnson taking up the red position, talking about the disaster from her 'Man U' supporting background), Tommy Taylor has seen more of the limelight he deserves. As one of the older players who lost their lives that day, aged 26, Taylor had proven to be an incredible player for United. Worthy of becoming the World's most expensive player at £30,000, Sir Matt opted to sign the Barnsley lad for £29,999, to relieve him of the pressure from becoming the World's first £30,000 player. The extra quid was given to the tea lady. Four years later, Sir Matt rejected a massive £65,000 bid from Inter Milan to keep him on our books.
In his five year career with United, he won the title twice, in the two years leading up to Munich, the first of those seasons, scoring 34 goals in the league. He scored an incredible 112 goals in 166 league matches. He also had an impressive 5 goals in 9 FA Cup games and 11 goals in 14 European games. In total, he bagged 131 goals in 189 games, an average of two goals every three games, a record unsurpassed by any of the great strikers that have followed in his footsteps. His goalscoring record for England was equally impressive, scoring a goal almost every match he played, with 16 goals in 19 games.
He was renowned for his happy nature, his unselfish attitude, his ability in the air, and he quickly became known among United fans as ‘the Smiling Executioner’.
Survivor Kenny Morgans reflected on his memories of Taylor. "Tommy Taylor lived three doors away from me and the three of us, Tommy, Duncan Edwards and me, used to go down for training together every morning. The boss always said that there wasn't a player living worth £30,000 so he only paid £29,999 for Tommy. He used to say to me: 'Dai, you hit those crosses as hard as you like but just remember this — make sure they're nine-foot high'. So every time I beat my full back, I'd look up to see where Tommy was and put it where he wanted — on his head." He went on to talk of Taylor's character. "Tommy Taylor and Jackie Blanchflower had a party piece where they used to fight each other," he said. "It used to be real! Tommy said he used to work down the mines so he would get under the table and show us what he did down the mine. It was a scream." He continued, praising Taylor's ability. "Tommy was one of the best centre-forwards in the world. Before I got in the first team I can remember United playing Real Madrid and I was in the stand. They were supposed to be the best team in the world. Real had Gento, Puskas, Di Stefano and Luis del Sol. Di Stefano was supposed to be the best centre-forward in the world — but my mate Tommy was just as good as him.”
Cricket umpire, Dickie Bird, grew up with Taylor, and has fond memories of their childhood and playing football with his friend. "Tommy and I used to practise on very rough ground. There would be broken glass and rubble everywhere, but that didn't stop us. We practised for the love of the game," recalled Dickie. "I would float the ball across and he would head it. To me, Tommy Taylor remains the finest header of a ball that I have ever seen. The finest. I like to think I may just have played a small part in his development. He had the gift of being able to rise in the air and hang there, waiting for the ball to come to him and then heading it with tremendous power. And nor was it heading the plastic-coated balls of today. This was a heavy leather thing, with the bladder sticking out in a large blob where the stitching had burst. We couldn't afford a new one. When we played with the rest of the lads, it was usually 38-a-side on a strip 30 yards long. Chaos. It was a case of 'next goal wins' when it got dark. And it was usually Tommy who won us the game. There was none of today's players who can only play with one foot. Tommy was two-footed. He had it all. And he got it from playing every day after school. That's what we did in them days. Stayed out of trouble, went to church on a Sunday and got on with our lives." Dickie reflects on Taylor later on in life, now playing for United. "He may have shared digs with the likes of Bobby Charlton, but the fame did not change him. He always came home after a game and supped a pint in The Woodman. You used to in those days; players were close to their roots. Not now. And Busby rated him. I talked to Sir Matt at the cricket after Munich. 'Dickie', he said. 'Your friend was a great player'. To me, you couldn't have asked for a higher compliment from a higher man. That said it all. Tommy Taylor was the humblest of the very humblest, a gentle giant."
Tommy Taylor is just one of the eight men who never were able to really fulfil their potential, never able to really leave their mark on World football, as they deserved, but today, more than any other day, he should be remembered as United's all time greatest striker.
Match of the Month
This month’s write up is by me.
In January, United scored sixteen goals, brushing aside the likes of Portsmouth and Newcastle without breaking in to a sweat. For our match of the past month, it would be easy to pick the 6-0 win over Newcastle as our best of the month, where the players put on a show of blinding football, and Ronaldo bagging his first hatrick.
However, with this edition coming out late, I’m cheating slightly, and picking a game at the start of February as our Match of the Month. Maybe it seems odd, but it is the 1-1 draw against Spurs last weekend that I feel needs to be mentioned.
It was looking as though it was going to be ‘one of those days’ as time ticked away at White Hart Lane on Saturday. United just couldn’t get in to their rhythm, and despite equalling Spurs for possession, rarely looked dangerous. Our best chance came with a wicked Anderson shot, whose omission from the starting lineup always puzzles me, on a day when our forwards just couldn’t seem to penetrate.
Of course, credit has to go to the top class Spurs’ defence, with the addition of new signings Woodgate and Hutton putting on a united front to protect their goalkeeper. However, when we were given the opportunity, we just couldn’t get the ball in to the danger area, we couldn’t make the keeper work for a save, and realistically, just didn’t look like scoring.
Rooney continued to look frustrated in front of goal and even resorted to diving, despite looking as though he’d got the better of Dawson, who was arguably the surprising man of the match. Tevez was almost non-existent, contributing little negative, whilst little positive to the game, and Ronaldo didn’t have the spark we’ve become accustomed to over the season. Giggs and Scholes were woeful in midfield, unable to push the forwards on or provide them with the killer ball, and our defence let the Spurs’ attack in too easily. For the second time in a week Robbie Keane should have scored the goal which killed off United, and we were again fortunate that he didn’t.
With Arsenal collecting all three points at the council house, thanks to a pathetic showing from the blues, we just couldn’t afford to lose at White Hart Lane. Of course that doesn’t mean we’d have conceded the league with a loss, but three points behind in February, with Arsenal a few weeks away from a trip to Old Trafford, would be unacceptable. In the final ten minutes, United seemed to wake up and realise this, as we saw chances from Anderson, Nani, Tevez and Rooney all fail to beat the keeper.
When the third minute of the allotted minimum stoppage time came to an end, United were handed a lifeline with a corner. Nani has proven he is certainly worth giving these kicks to, the only player on our books who can consistently take a good corner, and was happy to step up to take it. With Ronaldo our only attacking player with any height, and Ferdinand and Vidic rarely hitting the target, there didn’t seem to be too much to get excited about. However, our fantastic away support roared, desperate to salvage something from the game.
Tevez’s goal, which was attributed by some to Spurs’ defender Dawson, is not the first important one he has scored after the minimum injury time has run out. He got his first goal of his Manchester United career against Chelsea after first half injury time was up. Like that goal, he celebrated the equaliser against Spurs furiously, and was booked for doing so, which will not have put a dampner on it for our young Argie. He now has 11 league goals to his name and will be worth every penny we spend on him.
Claiming this point, in the manner that we did, could prove vitally important to United for a number of reasons. A draw wouldn’t have been a massive result for United, if we’d been told of the dropped points before kick off, however to claim the result at the death will have left morale high. The celebrations which followed the goal showed how important it was. United have learnt a valuable lesson, without having to pay the full price to do so. I imagine every single one of our lads imagined they were travelling back to Manchester with nothing, and the feeling of gifting Arsenal such an advantage would have been painful. They will still remember that pain when going in to their next games, Fergie will remind them if they can’t do it alone, and that could serve as motivation to go out and claim all three points.
However, if United had won the game, no lesson would have been learnt, and we may have been forced to learn it the hard way later on in the season. United needed that wake up call. After painfully easy victories against Portsmouth and Newcastle over recent weeks, it was about time we were really tested. We didn’t play well enough over the course of the match, with the final 20 minutes showing what United were really capable of. They should have played that way since the kick off, not assuming they could take away points from White Hart Lane without having to work for them.
Of course Fergie will have torn a strip off them at half and full time, and I’m sure they’ll pay the price for their lacklustre performance in training this week, completing the learning curve the Spurs game provided us with.
The rest of February sees us play City at home and Newcastle away in the league, as well as cup games against Lyon and Arsenal. We need to be at our best and the Spurs game will have reminded the players of exactly what is required of them to be at their best. Onwards and upwards…
Tottenham: Cerny, Chimbonda, Dawson, Woodgate, Hutton, Lennon (Boateng 79), Jenas, Huddlestone, Malbranque, Berbatov, Keane (O'Hara 90).
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Lee, Taarabt.
Booked: Woodgate, Huddlestone, Cerny.
Goals: Berbatov 21.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Hargreaves (Carrick 46), Scholes (Anderson 60), Giggs (Nani 60), Rooney, Tevez.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, O'Shea.
Booked: Van der Sar, Ronaldo, Brown, Nani, Vidic, Rooney, Tevez.
Goals: Tevez 90.
Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).
Player of the Month
This month’s write up is by Raisnhell
Next time you are in a friendly football neighborhood, a bar or a pub, chat up an avid football fan and ask who deserves a player of the month award in his/her team…and 8 out of 10 will say the name of the same one player in their team who does all the work every game. But when it comes to United, it is usually very difficult to choose the player. We have attacking tornadoes like Rooney and Tevez, cracking mid-field wizards like Scholes, Giggs, Ronaldo, Hargreaves and Anderson, defensive giants like Ferdinand, Vidic, and Evra, and a kick ass goal keeper like Van der Sar to reckon with. Day in and day out they give it all on the pitch and make us proud fans. You could just close your eyes and pick out a name from the pile and that player would rightly deserve RoM’s Player of the Month.
This month’s nominations included Tevez, Anderson and Ronaldo. Anderson’s been just phenomenal in the midfield and his aggression and skills have brought in a much needed breath of fresh air to the team. Tevez has settled in brilliantly and has in almost every game opened the scoring for us and has hit the mark 4 times in the past 5 games with a double against Newcastle. Just when we and the team started to get frustrated with the play, he would ease the pressure by giving us a brilliant caveman goal. He should be endorsed by cavemen all over the planet! (I heard they got a bunch in Australia ).
However, the man to take the cake home tonight would be the one who has inched closer to breaking a legend’s record, and scored his first hat-trick for us with some cracking goals. He is the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo. Scoring 7 times in the past 5 games this month and racking up a brilliant 25 goals for us this season he is only 8 goals from breaking George Best’s record for scoring the most goals by a winger. With 25 goals in 25 games...yes one goal per game on average, he is quickly becoming the best winger in the world. Many have hailed him to be better than Best, but only time will tell that. For now till the time he scrubs his diving tendencies clean, he will still not outshine Best! But, I have him betted on breaking Bestie’s record, and may be even short change Sir Alex for once.
So ladies and gentlemen, here is to Cristiano Ronaldo, to his first hat-trick and many more to come...and let us all support him and wish him the best for breaking Best’s record.
He plays on the left,
He plays on the right,
That boy Ronaldo makes everyone look shite!!
I hope you enjoyed the latest edition of The Paper. Any comments about it please leave in the comments thread on this board