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24/11/2011 11:08, Report by Adam Marshall

60 years ago: Babes' bow

The term 'Busby Babes' was first coined 60 years ago when United boss Sir Matt Busby handed debuts to Roger Byrne and Jackie Blanchflower.

After the young duo played in the goalless draw with Liverpool on 24 November 1951, a newspaper headline used the 'Busby Babes' nickname and it stuck - even if Sir Matt preferred 'Red Devils'.

Byrne, then 22, went on to establish himself in the 1951/52 title-winning team as a left winger but he was a revered full-back and captain of the club by the time of the Munich air disaster in 1958. Blanchflower, who was only 18, made his debut at wing-half (midfield) but was noted for his versatility and even kept goal in the 1957 FA Cup final after Ray Wood was injured.

Blanchflower may have had to wait until April for his next league appearance, but the seeds had still been sown by the manager to invest his faith in youth. In 1955/56, United won the league again, this time with the majority of players aged in their early 20s.

The disaster in Germany tragically took Byrne's life and ended Blanchflower's career due to the injuries he sustained in the crash. Their contributions to the United cause will never be forgotten.

Duo's debut

Division One
24.11.51, Anfield
Attendance: 42,378

LIVERPOOL 0

UNITED 0

United: Crompton, Carey, Byrne (pictured), Blanchflower, Chilton, Cockburn, Berry, Pearson, Rowley, Downie, Bond.

More: Birth and rise of the Babes

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