Munich 1958 – The Day a Team Died

On February 6th 1958 a passenger plane crashed at Munich Airport following a take-off failure. On board was the Manchester United football team and staff, flying back from a European Cup match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, as well as a host of journalists and a handful of other passengers.

Of the 44 passengers on board, twenty died at the time of the crash, and another three from their resulting injuries. Eight members of the Manchester United first team – the Busby Babes – and three members of backroom staff died in the crash. One of the most promising teams in English – and European – football was all but wiped out.

Frank Taylor was the only journalist to survive the crash, and in his book THE DAY A TEAM DIED he gives a harrowing eye-witness account of the moment of the crash, its devastating aftermath, and the years after the disaster as Manchester United rebuilt their team, going on to eventually win the European Cup ten years later in 1968.

Now, 55 years after the Munich Air Disaster, THE DAY A TEAM DIED is available exclusively as an ebook. This is a remarkable account of a piece of footballing history that shouldn’t be forgotten. In an interview with the BBC, Manchester United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of his memories of that day in February 1958. Unconnected with the club at the time, he still remembers the sense of tragedy and loss that rocked the footballing community.

So at 15:03 today, pause for a moment to remember the lives lost as a result of the crash in Munich on this day in 1958:

Crew members
Captain Kenneth “Ken” Rayment, DFC. Co-pilot.
Tom Cable, cabin steward

Manchester United players
Geoff Bent
Roger Byrne
Eddie Colman
Duncan Edwards (survived the crash, but died in hospital 15 days later)
Mark Jones
David Pegg
Tommy Taylor
Liam “Billy” Whelan

Manchester United staff
Walter Crickmer, club secretary
Tom Curry, trainer
Bert Whalley, chief coach

Journalists
Alf Clarke, Manchester Evening Chronicle
Donny Davies, Manchester Guardian
George Follows, Daily Herald
Tom Jackson, Manchester Evening News
Archie Ledbrooke, Daily Mirror
Henry Rose, Daily Express
Frank Swift, News of the World (also former England and Manchester City goalkeeper; died on his way to hospital)
Eric Thompson, Daily Mail

Other passengers
Bela Miklos, travel agent
Willie Satinoff, supporter, racecourse owner and close friend of Matt Busby.

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