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Manchester United pay anniversary tribute to victims of Munich disaster

Survivor Sir Bobby Charlton was among those in attendance.

Manchester United stars past and present stood silent at Old Trafford to mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

At 3.04pm on February 6, 1958, slush on the runway in Germany prevented United’s plane from reaching take-off speed and led to a crash that killed 23 people.

Eight first-team players and three long-serving members of staff were among those to die as United made their way back from a European Cup match at Red Star Belgrade.

Eight journalists, the co-pilot, cabin steward, travel agent and a United supporter were also killed in the crash that only 21 people survived.

Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg were among the survivors and both men attended Tuesday’s emotional Old Trafford occasion, along with families of the players, staff, media and friends.

More than 4,500 supporters joined them in the East Stand, as former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, director Michael Edelson and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward gave readings.

The trio wore commemorative ties featuring names of those who perished in Munich.

United manager Jose Mourinho and captain Michael Carrick laid wreaths at the service which was also attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, UEFA vice-president Fernando Gomes, Manchester City ambassador Mike Summerbee and Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish.

The ceremony, led by club chaplain Rev John Boyers, saw Old Trafford fall silent at 3.04pm, before Pete Martin’s rendition of The Flowers of Manchester.

Former goalkeeper Gregg, who spent time at the United training ground earlier in the day, sung along with Abide With Me as the ceremony came to a close.

Events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the disaster were also held in Munich and Belgrade.

Around 2,000 fans gathered in Germany for a fan-organised ceremony attended by club ambassador Denis Irwin and senior United executives.

Some surviving doctors and nurses involved in the treatment of manager Sir Matt Busby and his team were also in attendance, with United supporters donating art to the hospital in an expression of gratitude for the treatment they provided.

Nicky Butt’s under-19 team, meanwhile, joined club officials as a minute’s silence was observed at Partizan Stadium in Belgrade – the venue for the European Cup quarter-final between Red Star and United.

The Under-19s, who play FK Brodarac in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday, were due to visit the British Embassy in Belgrade along with officials from Red Star.

Vladica Popovic played for Red Star against United in 1958 and was due to be at a reception hosted in the same hotel that Busby and his side used 60 years ago.

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