A commemoration ceremony being held in Belgrade, Serbia.

Club remembers Munich Air Disaster in Belgrade

A commemoration ceremony was held in Belgrade, Serbia, on Thursday morning to remember those who were lost in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster.

The event was held at Partizan Stadium ahead of Manchester United contesting a fixture in the city for only the second time since tragedy struck 61 years ago.

Attendees from the club, the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation and Sian MacLeod, UK Ambassador to Serbia, gathered in the centre circle to hear a short address from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Club legends Bryan Robson and Mickey Thomas then laid down a wreath, before a minute’s silence was held to remember the 23 people who were killed as a result of the disaster.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: 

“It was incredibly important to come here and mark the occasion. As soon as the draw happened, our attention turned to wanting to remember those who lost their lives in 1958. This was the last place, on this very ground, against Red Star Belgrade, when they played as a team together before they got on that fateful plane to stop over in Munich and tragedy struck. So for us as a club, there is a game tonight but for us the trip is also important for remembering those who lost their lives and paying respects, which we have just done by laying the wreath.”

Bryan Robson also said: 

“You can feel the emotion. When you have been at the club for as long as we have, you get that history and you have met a lot of the families who have lost people in the Munich Air Disaster. I have even heard Bobby Charlton talk about the game when they were over here in 1958. It was supposed to be a great performance by the team and you can sense that when you come into the stadium.”

Video
Watch the ceremony that took place at the Partizan Stadium on Thursday morning.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

On Wednesday 5 February 1958, Matt Busby’s United drew 3-3 against Red Star Belgrade to go through to the European Cup semi-finals. The next day, they set off from Belgrade back to Manchester. After stopping to refuel in Munich, in snowy conditions, tragedy occurred.

Twenty-three people were killed as a result of the Munich Air Disaster, including eight players, three other employees and a supporter of this great club.

The club thanks its friends at Partizan and UEFA for facilitating this ceremony and welcoming representatives from the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation, as well as the UK Embassy. Today, we remember:

The eight journalists – Alf Clarke, Don Davies, George Follows, Tom Jackson, Archie Ledbrooke, Henry Rose, Eric Thompson and Frank Swift.

We remember Captain Ken Rayment the co-pilot, Tommy Cable, one of the stewards, and Bela Miklos, the travel agent. And those who were part of United - club secretary Walter Crickmer, chief coach Bert Wally, trainer Tom Curry and Willie Satinoff, a close friend and supporter of United.

We especially remember the eight Busby Babes who so tragically died - Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam ‘Billy’ Whelan.

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