Here is the squad from that fateful day.

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.

Bill Foulkes (defender) was 26. He survived as well, and went on to play a major part in the European Cup campaign of 1968.

Dennis Viollet (striker) was 24. A prolific goalscorer 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.

Jackie Blanchflower (defender) was 24. Understudy to Mark Jones, and a very versatile player. Never 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.

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.

Roger Byrne (full back, captain) aged 28. Inspirational captain, fast, overlapping fullback and former winger. An England regular at the time. Died in the crash.

Geoff Bent (fullback) aged 25. Understudy to Byrne. Hard as nails, very good defender. Would have walked into any other side. Preferred to stay in the squad at United. Died at Munich.

Tommy Taylor (centre forward) aged 26. England's centre forward, and a prolific goalscorer. Prodigious heading ability. Incredible scoring record: 112 goals in 166 league games at United. Died at Munich.

Liam Whelan (striker) aged 22. 43 goals in 79 league games for United. Appeared slow, but able to turn defenders inside out and score great goals. Died at Munich.

Eddie Colman (midfield / halfback) aged 21. When I moved to Birmingham in the late 70s I used to talk football with a chap in his sixties who reckoned Eddie Colman was the driving force behind the Busby Babes; the creative spark that fired the whole team. This guy was a Brummie through and through, but he had been so inspired by the Babes that he never stopped referring to them, and still rated Eddie "Snakehips" Colman the best he'd ever seen. Salford's Eddie Colman died at Munich.

David Pegg (winger) aged 22. The best young left winger in England, he was on the verge of a spectacular career when he died at Munich.

Mark Jones (defender) aged 24. Powerful centre half; very hard on the field, and a true gentleman off it. Died at Munich.

Duncan Edwards (halfback) aged 21. Only 16 when he made his United debut, Duncan Edwards is widely regarded as the greatest footballer in history. Big, strong, skillful, fast, hard, fair, great natural ability, thunderous shot with both feet, fiersome tackler. Lived for football. Lived for Manchester United. Refused to sign for any other club. Died 2 weeks after the crash from terrible injuries.

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:

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")


May all those that died Rest in Peace