"We've tried to make sure we deal with things around Munich appropriately and compassionately. It wasn't just United that was affected, it had a massive impact on the city of Manchester and the world of football."

- David Gill
04/02/2008 07:28, Report by Gemma Thompson

Club set for fitting tribute

United chief executive David Gill is confident the club will deliver a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives in the Munich air crash 50 years ago this week.

Twenty-three people, including eight players and three club officials, died in the tragedy on 6 February 1958. A number of events have been organised to mark the anniversary, both on Wednesday and at Sunday's Manchester derby match at Old Trafford.

The centrepiece of the commemorations will be the unveiling of a free, permanent exhibition of the Busby Babes in the South Stand tunnel - to be renamed Munich Tunnel - on Wednesday. A special memorial service will be conducted by club chaplain Reverend John Boyers in the Manchester Suite to coincide with the time of crash at 3.04pm.

"We've tried to make sure we deal with things around the anniversary appropriately and compassionately," explained Gill. "We spoke to those who were directly affected by the crash such as Sir Bobby [Charlton], as well as people who know the club and its history intimately like [club secretary] Ken Ramsden and [former United correspondent] David Meek.

"We formed a committee and debated various ideas, taking into account everyone's thoughts and feelings about what the disaster meant to people at the time and also what it means to the club today."

Following Wednesday's events, the attention turns to Sunday's Manchester derby during which the United players will wear a one-off 1950s style kit, free from sponsorship and numbered 1-11. City are also planning to wear a special kit, created specifically for the match.

Every supporter in the ground, including the visiting fans, will receive a memento of the occasion. A minute's silence will be held prior to the 1.30pm kick-off and Gill is confident it will remain exactly that - silent.

"It wasn't just Manchester United that was affected by the crash, it had a massive impact on both the city of Manchester and the world of football," explained the Reds' chief.

"We, therefore, hope and believe the minute's silence [before the game] will be observed appropriately."


Premier League