Sunday, February 3, 2008

Why All Mancunians Should Respect The Munich Silence

Prior to this weekend's Manchester Derby kicking off, commemorations will be held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster; a tragedy that affected the whole of Manchester. On February 6th, 1958, British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at the Munich-Riem Airport in West Germany.

On board the plane was the whole Manchester United team along with a number of supporters and journalists, all travelling back from a European Cup game against Red Star Belgrade in Yugoslavia. Twenty-three of the 44 passengers on board the aircraft died in the disaster, including eight members of United's first team and former Manchester City and England goalkeeping legend Frank Swift, who had been covering the match for the News of the World.

City's former FA Cup-winning captain Matt Busby was also seriously injured in the crash and twice received the last rites before eventually recovering from his injuries and leaving hospital two months later.

Matt Busby (back left) and Frank Swift (back middle) line up for
Manchester City before the 1934 FA Cup Final.

The Manchester United contingent, including City legend Frank Swift,
board their chartered flight at Manchester's Ringway Airport.

The Busby Babes line up for what would be their final game together, a
European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade in Yugoslavia.