Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking on before the game against Burnley.

Why we will never forget Munich

Today (Wednesday) marks the 61st anniversary of the darkest day in Manchester United's history.

On 6 February 1958, 23 people – including eight players and three members of the club’s staff – suffered fatal injuries in the Munich Air Disaster, when travelling back from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade.

Fans paid tribute before our match against Burnley on 29 January – the home game closest to the anniversary – and there will be another gathering this afternoon (Wednesday) under the Munich memorial plaque at Old Trafford from 14:40 GMT.

As we remember those who lost their lives at Munich, here we share the thoughts of our caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, club legend Paddy Crerand and midfielder Scott McTominay below.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER

“I think it’s so important because it’s such a big part of our history. That day will be in our memories and our history forever.

”It’s quite a few years ago now and the new supporters coming through must learn about it and the history of it.

'Munich is a big part of our history'Video

“My dad was 14 when it happened and he tells me about how he got to know about it back home in Norway, watching it on the black and white TV screens.

“It’s a sad day in our history, but it’s a day that we’ll always remember.”

PADDY CRERAND

“The anniversary will never be forgotten as far as Manchester United fans are concerned. But not just United fans, a lot of people in my age group in Britain in general.

“The Busby Babes was a team that everyone supported and knew about. I was a kid at Celtic at the time and everyone spoke about it. It wasn’t just because of their ability but because of how young they were, which is what amazed me.

“They were 18 and 19 years old playing at a top class team like United, whereas normally back then you would be 23 or 24 before you got into the first team.

“That young team were something special. I was brought up in Glasgow, where of course the two biggest clubs are Celtic and Rangers, yet everyone knew about United and was talking about the Busby Babes.

Paddy Crerand with Bobby Charlton.
Paddy (pictured with Bobby Charlton, left) joined United five years after the Munich Air Disaster.

“The unfortunate thing was that games weren’t really shown on TV and working-class people couldn’t afford TV those days, so you hardly saw them playing.

“Most fans, including me, would listen to matches like the European Cup tie against Red Star on the radio. But they [the Busby Babes] would be the team that everyone would want to watch.

“I was fortunate enough to watch them live a couple of times but only in friendly matches. The one player that always stood out was Duncan Edwards.

“It’s important we all remember what happened at Munich. The day itself, 6 February, was the date I signed for United five years after the crash in 1963. If that crash hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would have been anywhere near [playing for] Manchester United. I’m sure of that.”

SCOTT MCTOMINAY

“Last year was the first time I’ve come here [to Old Trafford for a Munich anniversary] and everyone was immaculately dressed. It was an occasion you want to be a part of, to pay tribute to those who died in the Munich Air Disaster.

“Having grown up coming through the Academy, it’s obviously something that is really close to my heart and the whole football club in general.

Scott McTominay arriving for the 60th Munich anniversary service.
McTominay was at the 60th anniversary service at Old Trafford last year.

“It was an absolute tragedy and it affected millions of people around the world, from fans to family members. It was a sad time but obviously the club have kept going and going and going and hopefully we are doing them [the victims] proud.

“As soon as you’re able to understand what happened, it’s so important to pass that message across and make everyone aware and obviously pay tribute.”

You can learn more about the Munich Air Disaster by visiting www.manutd.com/munich.

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