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Manchester United's Darkest Day: A Tribute to the Busby Babes

Jeff HarbertSenior Writer IFebruary 6, 2008

Fifty years ago today Manchester United suffered its darkest day.
One of the greatest teams—and possibly the best team—in club history was lost to the Munich Air Disaster. 

Not a day goes by that United supporters don’t wonder what might have been.

Sir Matt Busby built a team capable of conquering Europe, even the world.  With two consecutive league triumphs, the “Busby Babes” were making their mark on Europe in the Champions Cup.

After playing a Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade, the squad was airborne once again, stopping in Munich to refuel.  

Following two failed take-off attempts the plane crashed. Twenty-two people on board died immediately and eight more athletes lost their lives in the days that followed.  

Integral players such as Duncan Edwards, Roger Bryne, Mark Jones, and Tommy Taylor were all victims of the crash.

Manchester United did not resume play for two weeks, and then it was with an emotional 3-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday.  Just two of the players who had been involved in the European Cup tie in Belgrade returned to the field that day.

Ten years after losing so many of his talented players, Sir Matt Busby, who was one of the few survivors of the crash, led United to win their first European Championship Cup in the 1968 battle against Benfica.  It had seemed as if all hope would forever be lost, but Busby, along with the likes of George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton, restored hope to the club.  

In the wake of the tragedy this was proved to the world: Manchester United will always live on.

Players and fans alike are still inspired by the talent and promise of the Busby Babes.  No other club in England can boast as rich a history as Manchester United.

Half a century has passed since the disaster and memories of the crash are still fresh in the hearts and the minds of everyone connected to the club. 

Today we remember those who lost their lives so prematurely, but we also reflect on the talented group of men whose passion for the game sparked the club’s unsurpassed success and unprecedented glory.

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