In 1957 I caught Asian Flu, that turned into Rheumatic fever and I was quite ill for some time. On mums Birthday 13th January 1958, I was admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital, one week later I was in a children’s hospital in Marlboro, Wiltshire. On the way down, the ambulance stopped for a break, and I am sure that the ambulance man told me we had stopped in the city which the ward I was in at the Manor, if that is so then we stopped at Ely. There were two of us going down there, the other lad was called John Keeling, and he lived right by the Manor. Now this (building) was a big White building and had a large ground. Next to the hospital was Sir Gordon Richards Stable, where he trained his horses. I will do a little bit later about being there. On our way down it started to snow, and over the following few days the snow got really deep. A few days later, the Manchester United football team were in that terrible air crash at Munich, when it crashed taking off. So many talented young men killed then, what would have made a great team for a few years. Of course local here Duncan Edwards was one those killed, he was to be the main stay of the England Team for years to come. In Dudley there is a statue of Duncan Edwards, I believe paid for by the locals, and sited by the council. He died 15 days after the accident, fighting for his life until his injuries finally him.
Others who Died
Liam Whelan– 22 Inside-right. Four caps Republic of Ireland and a former United Captain. Appeared slow but was able to turn defenders leave them standing and score goals.
Eddie Colman: 21 Right-half. At 5ft 7ins the smallest player in the side. Born Salford Eddie Colman (midfield / halfback) aged 21. He was the driving force behind the Busby Babes; the creative spark that fired the whole team. Eddie “Snakehips” Colman was rated the best ever seen. Salford’s Eddie Colman died at Munich.
Tommy Taylor. 26 Centre-forward. Cost £29,999 from Barnsley. 19 England Caps.England’s centre forward, and a prolific goal scorer. Prodigious heading ability. Incredible scoring record: 112 goals in 166 league games at United.
Roger Byrne. 28 . Left-back and club captain. Manchester born he won 33 England caps. He was an inspirational captain, a fast overlapping full-back and former winger, An England regular.
David Pegg. 22 . Outside-left.Made United debut at just 17, One England cap against Republic of Ireland.
Geoff Bent. 25 . Left-back. Understudy to Byrne and Uniteds other full-back Bill Foulkes. Hard as nails, would have walked into any other team, but preferred to stay at United.
Mark Jones: 24 . Centre-back, Born in Barnsley. An England schoolboy international.
Walter Crickmer Club secretary who was in charge of the side during the war. Club secretary who was in charge of the side during the war.
Bert Whalley Chief Coach. Former left-half at Old Trafford. With United 25 years and also responsible for youth development.
Tom Curry Trainer. Joined United in mid-30s and regarded by Matt Busby as “the best trainer in Britain.”
Alf Clarke Journalist - Manchester Evening Chronicle
Don Davies. Journalist – Manchester Guardian
George Follows. Journalist - Daily Herald
Tom Jackson. Journalist – Manchester Evening News
Archie Ledbrooke. Journalist - Daily Mirror
Henry Rose. Journalist - Daily Express
Eric Thompson. Journalist – Daily Mail
Frank Swift. Journalist – News of the World – He was also one of Manchester City’s greatest-ever players..
Capt Kenneth Rayment Co-Pilot
Bella Miklos .Travel Agent
Willie Satinoff. Supporter
Tom Cable .Steward
Frank Taylor. Journalist
Peter Howard. Photographer
Ted Ellyard. Photographer
Mrs Vera Lukic and baby daughter VenonaPassengers (rescued by goalkeeper Harry Gregg)
Mrs Miklos. Wife of Bella Miklos, the travel agent who arranged the trip and died in the crash
Mr N Tomasevic. Passenger
James Thain. Captain
Rosemary Cheverton. Stewardess
Margaret Bellis. Stewardess
George (Bill) Rodgers. Radio officer
Bobby Charlton (forward) age 20. Just breaking into the team at the time of the crash, he scored twice in Belgrade the night before. Went on to become one of the game’s greatest players and remains one of its most respected ambassadors. Lost all his hair shortly after the crash. Winning many trophies and going on to be an ambassador for the club eventually becoming a life president at Manchester United.
Jackie Blanchflower (defender) was 24. Understudy to Mark Jones, and a very versatile player. Jackies brother Danny had a most illustrious career with Tottenham Hotspur. Jackie never played again.
Matt Busby himself was severely injured and was twice given his last rites. In the 1960s, Busby rebuilt the Manchester United team. The biggest success of his career came in 1968 when the team won the European Cup. He retired as manager in 1969. Awarded the CBE in 1958 and knighted following the European Cup victory in 1968.
Bill Foulkes (defender) was 26. Went on to play a major part in the European Cup campaign of 1968.
Harry Gregg (goalkeeper) was 24. He had joined them 2 months before the crash, but was immediately welcomed into the fold. He survived, and was cited for bravery for going back into the burning wreckage to rescue passengers.
Dennis Viollet (striker) was 24. A prolific goal scorer and a great player before the crash, he went on to set a United scoring record in 1959-60 with 32 league goals. Later joined Stoke City and served them well for many years. It is said he was never quite as good after the crash, and that he was potentially one of the best strikers in the history of the game.
Johnny Berry (winger) was a relative veteran at 31. A very brave and fast winger who scored plenty of goals. Never played again.
Albert Scanlon (winger) was 22. A player of great potential who suffered terrible head injuries at Munich. Recovered and played well for several years, scoring 16 league goals the season after the crash.
Ray Wood (goalkeeper) was 26. Lost his place to Harry Gregg, but one of United’s legendary goalkeeping heroes. Another who suffered terrible head injuries, he rarely played again.
Ken Morgans (winger) was 18. Fast, tricky and brimming with confidence before the crash. Kept Berry out of the side. Never recovered his form after Munich.
This team were taken away and could have been the greatest Manchester United team ever, and the England players were also missed by the National team for a few years they were missed .
I’ll see you again, my Red Devil friends
I/ll hear you around my door
Touching my life like so many memories before
I was a child and so easily led
You were the leaders of men
Now I doubt in my life if this ever happens again
Oh, how I cried when my mama said
Busby’s Babes, son, they’re dead
Oh how I remember that miserable day
When something was taken from me
Out on a snow covered runway in West Germany
Oh, how I cried when my mama said
Busby’s Babes, son, they’re dead
Iain Matthews, from the album “Pure & Crooked”)
Photo of Team on Match day.
This team had won its last game on English soil 5-4 at Highbury, and drew 3-3 in Belgrade in the European Cup Quarter Final (to go through 5-4 on aggregate). They were lying 4th in the table, with a home game against Wolves – the leaders – coming up the following Saturday. A win would have put them back on top. This Manchester United team was awesome, and an inspiration to football fans all over England – and indeed Europe.
Take a look at the ages of the players who died. Try to imagine the feelings of the survivors when they discovered that so many of their comrades had perished. Now imagine yourself as a youngster, so inspired by these footballers only a few years older than yourself. Then try to feel the shock, pain and anguish and disbelief and utter helplessness of hearing about their sudden demise. This was not just the biggest tragedy in English football, it was the defining moment in the history of Manchester United. The groundswell of passion that followed was unbelievable. Millions of folks – some not even football addicts – wept openly. Schools were closed. Memorial services and tributes proliferated all over Europe. The greatest club side in English football history was wiped out at Munich. This is what moved Iain Matthews to write “Busby’s Babes”, a simple yet extremely poignant song:
You can see that as a young boy i followed Manu, However Walsall were always my first team, right from the time dadf took me in 1949. I will probably at some time do something on Walsall (The Swifts) I can remember Swifty running around the ground as out mascot. Those were the days!