Funds raised for Roger Byrne plaque

Friday 01 March 2024 08:00

Manchester United supporters recently clubbed together to raise money for a memorial plaque celebrating legendary former defender Roger Byrne, who was killed in the Munich Air Disaster.

The memorial was unveiled at Manchester Crematorium earlier this month, on the 66th anniversary of the 1958 tragedy. 
The idea was first mooted by Iain McCartney and Steve Donoghue, and fans from the Stretford Enders Worldwide group subsequently raised the necessary funds.
Iain McCartney (left) and Steve Donoghue (right) address fellow fans at the plaque's unveiling.
“He was the only one of the Busby Babes to be cremated,” McCartney told us. 
“Obviously the graves of Duncan Edwards, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor etc, they’re well visited by United supporters. But it was a shame there was nothing for Roger, because he was the captain of the side.
“I got in touch with the crematorium, and a helpful lady called Jane Dyer, and told her what it was [that we wanted to do] – that I’d written Roger’s biography and had got to know his widow, Joy, and his son, both of whom are dead now. It took off from there.”
A plaque in Byrne’s honour already exists at Abbey Hey Primary School in Gorton (where Roger was a pupil) but now Reds have a public site at which to pay their respects.
It’s a fitting tribute to a marvellous player, who represented Manchester United and England with such excellence and leadership for many years.
“It’s been nice to do,” admits Iain, who also runs the United Graves Society – which aims to track down the burial sites of former players, dating right back to even the Newton Heath days. 
“It was quite emotional, [knowing] there’s now a memorial that anybody can visit. In a way, it finalises the memorials for all the lads who lost their lives at Munich.”