Belfast Telegraph

Charlton and Gregg will lead Munich disaster tributes at Old Trafford

In attendance: Munich air disaster survivors Sir Bobby Charlton
and Harry Gregg will pay their respects at Old Trafford
In attendance: Munich air disaster survivors Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg will pay their respects at Old Trafford

By Simon Peach

Manchester United and the footballing world will stand in solidarity on the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster today.

On February 6th 1958, United's plane crashed on a flight back from a European Cup tie away to Red Star Belgrade, a tragedy which resulted in 23 people losing their lives.

Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg survived and will be at Old Trafford this afternoon for a ceremony marking 60 years since the disaster, alongside the families of current and former players, staff, media and friends.

United manager Jose Mourinho and captain Michael Carrick will lay wreaths on behalf of the club and players, with a minute's silence to be held at 3.04pm - the time of the fatal crash in Munich.

The first team and U-23s will be at an event that will include readings from former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, club director Michael Edelson and the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

United fans have organised a memorial ceremony in Germany at the monument marking the disaster in Munich, where club ambassador Denis Irwin and senior executives will join around 2,000 United fans.

A few surviving doctors and nurses involved in the treatment of manager Sir Matt Busby and his team will be in attendance, with fans donating art to the hospital in an expression of gratitude.

The mayor of Munich and senior figures from the city's Bundesliga side Bayern will also be present, while another event is also being held in Serbia.

Ahead of United's U-19s playing FK Brodarac in the Uefa Youth League tomorrow, academy boss Nicky Butt and his squad will meet with the British Embassy in Belgrade along with officials from Red Star.

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

The U-19s and club officials will lay a wreath and observe a minute's silence at 3.04pm at Partizan Stadium - the venue for the European Cup quarter-final between the clubs.

The commemorative events began at Old Trafford on Saturday as Huddersfield arrived in the Premier League. Hundreds of fans congregated under the Munich plaque to pay their respects outside the ground, where there were readings, prayers and a rendition of the Flowers of Manchester.

Inside, fans received a commemorative pack containing a book telling the story of the disaster along with a programme and letter from Woodward.

"(Munich) is forever woven into the fabric of this club's history," Woodward wrote in a letter to fans, who observed a minute's silence ahead of a 2-0 win that Juan Mata dedicated to the victims of the Munich disaster and their families. "It was a special game, a very sad memory. It was a thing that changed the history of the club and the club showed the passion and energy that we all have in Manchester United.

"So, we pay respect to the victims and their families, and they will always be in our memories."

Belfast Telegraph

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