Old Trafford – Tears In The Eyes
Most have been joyous occasions, but there has been tragedy too. On 19 February 1958, Manchester United played Sheffield Wednesday in a fifth-round FA Cup tie at Old Trafford just 13 days after eight United players had lost their lives in the Munich air crash. Christened the “Busby Babes”, the team built by legendary manager Sir Matt Busby had stopped off at Munich en route home from a European Cup match in Belgrade. The whole nation mourned as the scale of a tragedy which claimed the lives of 23 people unfolded.
Sir Bobby Charlton, one of England’s most celebrated football figures, was aboard when the plane crashed on take-off and was at Old Trafford 13 days later to see a makeshift Manchester United team play. The emotion of the night remains crystal clear 49 years on. Charlton recalls: “When we arrived at the ground, the atmosphere was so extraordinary. Nearly 60,000 people seemed to be saying: ‘Whatever’s happened, we’ve just got to win.’ We won 3-0 and I went into the dressing-room afterwards and the emotion was so strong, I still feel it now. There were tears in my eyes, as there always are when I think of that day.”