On 6 February 1958, Manchester United suffered their greatest tragedy as the ‘plane taking the Manchester United party home from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade crashed in wintry conditions in Munich. The ‘Busby Babes’, as United’s brilliant young team was known to football followers everywhere, had beaten Red Star 5-4 the previous day on aggregate to reach the semi-finals.
Eight United players were amongst the 23 who lost their lives. England internationals Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor and David Pegg – along with Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, Geoff Bent and Liam Whelan – died in the crash. Duncan Edwards, already an England legend at the age of 21, died later in a German hospital.
United coach Bert Whalley, trainer Tom Curry and club secretary Walter Crickmer were also killed, as were eight journalists who included former Manchester City and England goalkeeper Frank Swift.
Despite their devastating losses, United still managed to play their FA Cup fifth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford less than two weeks later on 19 February.
They completed the season, even reaching the FA Cup Final, and Sir Matt Busby – seriously injured in the crash – recovered to rebuild the Reds into a team that won the League (twice), FA Cup and European Cup in the 1960s.