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Manchester United honour victims of 1958 Munich air disaster

Twenty-three people were killed as Manchester United travelled back from Belgrade.

Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson was part of the ceremony (Niall Carson/PA)
Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson was part of the ceremony (Niall Carson/PA)

By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Belgrade

Manchester United remembered those who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster at an emotional ceremony in Belgrade on Thursday.

Ahead of the Europa League group match against Partizan Belgrade, a commemoration ceremony was held at Partizan Stadium as United prepared for their second match in the city since the disaster.

Eight United players were among the 23 people who died as a result of the tragedy that struck as Sir Matt Busby’s team travelled back from Belgrade in 1958.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will line-up on Thursday at the same ground that Busby’s team played Red Star Belgrade in that year’s European Cup quarter-final.

Representatives from the club and Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation joined Sian Macleod, UK Ambassador to Serbia, at the ceremony, which saw former United players Bryan Robson and Mickey Thomas lay down a wreath after a short address.

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.

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. Bryan Robson

“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.”

Former United captain Robson added: “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.”

PA

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