Last year on the anniversary of the Munich air disaster we ran this article. Today, on the eve of the anniversary, we are re-posting it.
Editor Preben Walle (follow him on Twitter) did some sterling work sourcing this audio footage for the website last year so we wanted to ensure our readers got a chance to listen to it this time around.
It’s 54 years since those dreadful minutes in Munich where twenty-three people died and nineteen were injured. Among the dead were eight Manchester United players, three staff members and various journalists who had travelled with United to Belgrade.
We here at TOTD have acquired some (what we think are) very rare clips from the aftermath of the accident, including interviews with passenger Ted Ellyard and Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg. We have also got hold of a rare interview with the two professors at Rechts der Isar Hospital who treated the wounded.
Clip number one is from the afternoon on the 6th of February. A reporter is asking people going past Old Trafford about their thoughts and feelings, and we get to hear how much Manchester United meant to people already in the 50s.
Clip number two is an interview with the author and journalist Graham Greene, he speaks of how Manchester United is so open, and how great the club were. He also speaks of how the club has already risen from the ashes once before.
Clip number three is of Walter Winterbottom, who was the England selector/manager at the time and a former Manchester United player. He talks about how deep his feelings are for the club, and the people of Manchester. He also speaks of the way forward for England.
Clip number four is a very special one. Harry Gregg is speaking from the hotel where he was brought after the accident, he speaks of what he remembers, and what happened.
Clip number 5 is of Ted Ellyard (Daily Mail telegraphist), who travelled with the squad. He speaks of how he and a couple of other people went back into the wreckage to see if they could pull anyone else out.
Now we have moved on to the 8th of March. Manchester United were playing against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford and the two professors who treated the wounded after the accident had been invited to England to follow the game. They speak of their experiences, and also Bobby Charlton chips in at the end.
The last clip is of Sir Matt Busby’s address to the Old Trafford crowd before the game against WBA on the 8th of March, it is a very touching speech that says a lot about how Sir Matt felt about the club.
To close, former United trainee Alan Tonge shared his thoughts on how Munich affected him as a youth at the club, and how big a role Sir Matt and Sir Bobby continued to play in the whole identity of the club 30 years after the event. “The memories and feelings were always there around the Cliff and Old Trafford. I remember before one youth game Sir Alex telling us that Sir Matt and Sir Bobby were here to watch. He said that if anyone let them down, there’d be serious consequences to pay. How’s that for motivation!”
Alan goes along with the school of thought that Sir Alex followed Busby’s blueprint. “Sir Matt’s youth philosophy and ‘developing your own’ were the foundations and bedrock of the club. Sir Alex picked that up when he arrived and ran with it. Although, only for a short time, I was very, very proud to be a part of it.”