Every single year this gets me. Without fail too, I always think it could be thought such an odd reaction to something that happened long before I was born, but it is an incredibly drawing thing. No matter what we face in the present Munich and how the club recovered from it is my love and devotion to Manchester United reaffirmed and summed up in a single story.
We win together, lose together. We celebrate triumph and endure defeat together. Losses are softened and victories sweetened because we do them together. One team. One religion. One love.
Manchester United's triumph 10 years after their Munich tragedy is still sport's most powerful story It was a scene as pointed as it was poignant. A few months before the 1968 European Cup final at Wembley, the trophy itself was back in London, where reigning champions Celtic were to be recognised as BBC team of the year.
Matt Busby was set to present the award to Jock Stein. Once the statuettes were handed over, and with his own team already eliminated from that season’s competition, the Celtic manager made a gesture towards Busby.
“We hope that the next hands the European Cup are in are yours,” Stein said to his great Manchester United contemporary. Busby couldn’t resist gently touching the European Cup itself, as it stood so tantalisingly beside him.
It was the object - or obsession - that had come to define his life, partially by its absence. For Busby himself, of course - not to mention Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes and assistant Jimmy Murphy - it also represented so much more than mere victory or the crowning of the continent’s finest team.
What was deliberately left unsaid in all this was what had happened a decade before. Then again, as virtually everyone who joined Manchester United in the years immediately after 6 February 1958 admitted, the events of that day were just never mentioned.he 57th anniversary of the Munich disaster, Miguel Delaney says Manchester United's recovery and triumph 10 years later remains the most extraordinary tale.
That will not be the case today, on the 57th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, when 23 people died and a great young team was destroyed just when they seemed up on the cusp of delivering the European Cup. The tragic details will again be described, the departed respectfully remembered.
It will naturally be added that Busby rebuilt the club to finally do what Stein hoped: to win the European Cup at Wembley 10 years later by beating Benfica 4-1, along with two of the players who were on the Elizabethan class Airspeed Ambassador with him. That is obviously not just a mere detail. Really, it is the essence of both the Busby Babes as well as United as a whole, and an aspect that has possibly even been underplayed.
There probably isn’t a story in football - or indeed sport - to compare to the journey made by Busby, Charlton and Foulkes from that airfield in Munich to the floodlights of Wembley 10 years later. Very few other careers involve such extreme loss in pursuit of a dream, only for it to eventually be realised by the survivors in the most fitting manner possible. Driving it all was Busby’s assistant Murphy, who defied his own devastation to ensure the club persevered, and also preserved its spirit.
George Best was the player who most evoked the joyful freedom of the Babes, while finally providing the spark that fired United back to those levels, and once spoke about his awe at what the survivors did.
“In 1967-68 it was certainly never mentioned, but we all knew what a terrible experience people like Matt, Bobby and Bill had been through, and we all marvelled at the guts it must have taken... I used to think about it whenever we got on a plane.”
Charlton himself once went solemnly pensive when asked about the Babes by Hugh McIllvanney for a BBC documentary. “It was paradise,” he said, after a moment’s silence. The Babes certainly represented an ideal, a faith in youthful dynamism and defiance.
It was the loss of that ideal that only deepened the more painful loss of so much young life. Everywhere the survivors looked, there was someone so dear missing, something so intangible missing. Reading through Charlton’s autobiography now, it’s impossible not to sense survivor’s guilt.
“How the hell is it possible to come through all that with just a bang on the head and a small cut?”
That was just one mental weight complicating so much of the core grieving. Charlton’s head injury knocked him unconscious, meaning he couldn’t properly register what happened at Munich, but Foulkes saw it all. The trauma brought other issues.
In the exceptional ‘A Strange Kind of Glory’, Eamon Dunphy - who joined United as a youth player in 1960 - says that Foulkes immediately fell out with the other hero of Munich, Harry Gregg. He attributes it to the effects of the day.
Murphy did not travel with the squad for that fateful European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade due to his management of the Welsh national team, but arguably felt it all more acutely than anybody. Due to his work with the United youth teams, he certainly knew the players better than anybody. He also had to get in touch with their families, and go about the near impossible job of replacing the team and keeping the club alive, let alone rebuild it.
That involved putting on the bravest front, but Charlton stated how Murphy was once “discovered in a back corridor of the hospital, sobbing his heart out in pain at the loss of so many young players he had adored”.
Then there was Busby himself, who had come so close to death. Worse, once he eventually recovered, “he felt guilt that it was on the business of his great football dream that his boys had died”.
Charlton admitted doubting whether Busby would be capable of the same conviction, the same decisiveness, whether he was even the same man. Somehow, he stayed in sight of the same dream. He was not the only one.
“I was obsessed with the idea that this football club would indeed get back on the road to progress,” Charlton said. “It would grow strong again.”
It would do so by replicating some of what had gone before. Money expedited the process through signings like Denis Law, but youth graduates such as Nobby Stiles were placed around Foulkes, while Best ensured the old adventure.
It was all the more remarkable that so much of the eventual rise echoed the period of the Babes. Real Madrid had represented the level Busby wanted to reach, and were the first team to eliminate Manchester United from Europe, in the 1956-57 semi-finals. The Spaniards were finally defeated at the same stage 11 years later, but only after Foulkes scored a rare goal to seal United’s first ever final.
There, Charlton scored twice to ensure he also became the first Old Trafford captain to lift the grand old trophy. By that point, Busby had been on the pitch, everyone rushing to him. Munich was still not mentioned in his presence. It didn’t need to be. It had been talked about enough by the media in the build-up and, once, by the squad.
“The night before the final we had a meeting and agreed we had to win it for them,” Foulkes said. “When we won, I felt sadness. My thoughts were with the boys who died at Munich.”
As such, it’s hard to even think about what he, Charlton, Murphy and Busby went through.
Post by The real RedOrDead on Feb 20, 2016 11:37:58 GMT
T’was the night before Christmas, Old Trafford was bare. The staff all gone home, there was nobody there.. The lights cast a shadow, a soft glimmer which lit up the soft green grass on the pitch.
Just as the clock gave out its twelfth chime An old man appeared, as if frozen in time. He gazed at the tunnel, then broke out in voice “ITS TIME TO BEGIN.. LETS HAVE YOU MY BOYS”
Out from the tunnel appeared a lone figure Same as in life, only infinitely bigger The old man called out as he slowly drew near “good evening Duncan, are the rest of you here”
The figure broke out in wide open smile “Good Evening Sir Matt, it has been a long while The rest are all coming, they’ll be here soon,” As seven more shadows were cast by the moon.
Whelan and Bent, Pegg, Taylor and Byrne, Jones , and Colman, they came out in turn. He greeted each one, just by calling their name then proudly announced “do you fancy a game”
They took to the pitch, and the still night was broken By leather on leather, not one word was spoken They played once again, like they did long before And imagined the sound of the Old Trafford roar
Edwards called out “come on lads lets pretend That we’ve just scored a goal at the old Stretford End” As they ran to the edge of the pitch by the goal There in the stands sat a solitary soul.
His eyes were all puffy, his cheeks wet with tears As his mind wandered back to those wonderful years “come down and join us” they cried all as one “yes come down and join them” said Matt “go on son”
The lonely man stood and with much pain he said “I’m afraid I can’t play with you, you are all dead. You are all ghosts, and I am alive That was the price that I paid to survive”
My role was to go on, inspire the team And finally realise Matt Busby’s dream To tell of your greatness, and as I get older To burden the weight of your life on my shoulders.”
The ghost of Sir Matt then raised up his head Giving out a loud groan, he finally said “Bobby, You survived, that much is true But we wouldn’t be here if it were not for you
For you are the one who has kept us alive That was the reason you had to survive If you were with us, all we have would be gone And the game that we play could no longer go on
If you can’t understand why it happened this way Then come here and watch when United play They sing about us, they remember us all We live and we breathe with each kick of the ball
The legends that live here, Robson and Best, Cantona, Law, Giggs, Scholes and the rest They are us, we are them, we are all here as one And that is the reason United goes on
So come down and join us, we’re begging you do You are still one of us, and we’re still one of you” And then Bobby’s face rose and he gave them a smile And he said “I would love to come play for a while”
They played and they played, as they did in the past Only not quite as skilful, and not quite as fast And when it was over, and when it was done They’d defeated Benfica by four goals to one.
Then Sir Matt said “lads, its been fun you know But It’s now Christmas day, and we really must go” They walked to the front of the stadium and turned And Sir Bobby said “there is something I’ve learned”
“You did not die, on that February night You’re still here with us, as you’re with me tonight And you’ll live on forever as long as we play” As the ghosts disappeared down Sir Matt Busby Way.
You can lead a man to reason, but you cannot make him think.
The suffering endured by the Busby Warriors continues to hurt the spirit of every United fan. It's a tragic, unfair and cruel way of losing those you love. May the February 6th tributes comfort those directly affected by the tragedy and still walk on earth as they are in heaven playing the football taught by Matt Busby.
Here's my symbolic tribute to all those who perished in Munich. RIP to all the journalists, staff and players involved.
Edwards, Byrne, Taylor, Bent, Jones, Colman and Pegg are immortal not only for this day in 58, but for everything they were on the pitch too. "We loved you then, we love you now"
Never forget Walter Crickmer, Tom Curry, Bert Whalley, the lost members of our staff.
RIP Frank Swift. Rilvary is never bigger than the sense of humanity that brings us together.
"United’s flag is deepest red, it shrouded all our Munich dead. Before their limbs grew stiff and cold, their heart’s blood dyed it’s ev’ry fold. Then raise United’s banner high, beneath it’s shade we’ll live and die. So keep the faith and never fear."
Deleted: 'indonesian wizard'
May 10, 2018 18:27:15 GMT
WhatsTheMata: Glad you think it's funny. When we get fucked around by the spells you just deleted you will take me seriously
May 19, 2018 11:57:48 GMT
No.7: Can this thread be unlocked or is it too early? not that i want Jose out now but i think were coming close to that time and want to hear peoples opinions on the subject.
Sept 20, 2018 10:15:25 GMT
cjjagzmoni: Pogba is a good lad minus the showboating..I think at Juventus he had Older players like Pirlo,Chiellini,Marchisio,Bonucci who shout and screams at him so he was more serious at Juve ,We dont have those type of leaders at United to caution him.
Nov 1, 2018 3:36:38 GMT
geo: Cardiff City - Huddersfield Town - Bournemouth - Newcastle United = 12 points. Back in the hunt. Come on.
Dec 19, 2018 17:55:18 GMT
geo: Job done as above - next step, stay unbeaten until we get to the PSG game.
Jan 3, 2019 23:17:42 GMT
theedge: Just discovered this forum. I live in Canada so don't get to many games, but I get to watch all the games live. Last 2 games attended in person: Europa League Final in Stockholm 2017, FA Cup Final 2016. Won the last 11 I've been to. I need to go more often
Apr 1, 2019 23:25:01 GMT
simes: Kazakhstan....well blow me down...been there many a time, not so bad a journey. FC Astana are not a bad outfit, gave Celtic a good run, and the National side beat Scotland. What do you reckon a walk over? BTW its easy to get to, I always use Air Astana.
Aug 30, 2019 14:11:59 GMT
snan1218: Hi,I'm very new member,the Red Devil from Malaysia.
Oct 10, 2019 9:16:40 GMT
shah: Hi i am shah been united fan from birec
Jan 24, 2020 8:33:02 GMT