Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg miraculously survived death in the 6 February 1958 Munich Air Disaster, and during Manchester United’s commemorative event held at Old Trafford in honor of the dead Busby Babes, Michael Carrick got an experience he says will last a lifetime.
Out of all highlights from the 60th anniversary of that fateful incident, Carrick said sitting next to Sir Bobby made the ceremony a remarkable one.
Image: Michael Carrick
He described the event as “very fitting and beautiful.”
The club skipper joined manager Jose Mourinho in laying a wreath on stage following readings from Sir Alex Ferguson, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and club director Michael Edelson.
After the highly emotional event, Carrick, one of the most decorated English footballers of all time, spoke to Manchester United TV in an explosive interview, saying the anniversary was special to him and everyone concerned.
In his words: “It was very fitting, a beautiful service – powerful and emotional.”
The 36-year-old continued, “For me, it was emotional sitting next to Sir Bobby [Charlton] and trying to come to terms with what he’s been through and what was going through his mind. It was tough but a pleasure to be part of it and as I said I thought it was very fitting.
“When I came to the club I was aware of it [the disaster], I’d heard the stories and my Dad had told me about it, but it wasn’t until I came to the club that you have that feeling of what it means to everyone here and how important it is.
“Today was very powerful and for the younger lads and for the lads who haven’t been at the club too long it’s huge.
“It’s great that everyone could be here together today because we’re all in it together, it’s what makes this great club so special. It was such a tragic event and a very sad event, but it’s commemorated in such a great way and that carries on year after year and always will.”
A list of all men (the Busby Babes) who died in the Munich Air Disaster:
History confirms that the Munich air disaster on 6 February 1958 claimed the lives of 23 passengers and crew. Out of the total number, 8 were Manchester United players and 3 were club officials.
Here are a few words from those who knew those legends best.
Roger Byrne – aged 28, full-back. 277 appearances, 19 goals.
“An aristocratic footballer, majestic in his movement. Roger was so fast but at the same time he controlled his movement beautifully, like Nureyev.” – Sir Matt Busby
Eddie Colman – aged 21, half-back. 107 appearances, 2 goals.
“Eddie was a chirpy lad and a terrific player. He pushed the ball – never kicked it – and he jinked past players. He was known for his swivel hips.” – Wilf McGuinness
David Pegg – aged 22, forward. 148 appearances, 28 goals.
“David would have been a great asset to any team because he was a natural left-flank player. David was very, very clever. Our best left-winger by a mile.” – Sir Matt Busby
Mark Jones – aged 24, half-back. 120 appearances, 1 goal.
“Yorkshireman Mark was a really lovely fellow, but my word he was a tough nut, and nobody took any liberties with him on or off the field.” – Bill Foulkes
Tommy Taylor – aged 26, forward. 189 appearances, 128 goals.
“I rate him as one of the all-time, best centre-forwards in the game, and he had yet to realise all his potential. He was a typically bluff Yorkshireman in many ways, often acting the clown, and a great team man.” – Bill Foulkes
Duncan Edwards – aged 21, half-back. 175 appearances, 21 goals.
“When I used to hear Muhammad Ali proclaim to the world he was the greatest, I used to smile. The greatest of them all was a footballer named Duncan Edwards.” – Jimmy Murphy. “The only player who ever made me feel inferior.” – Sir Bobby Charlton
Geoff Bent – aged 25, full-back. 12 appearances.
“When Geoff matured and reached his twenties there were many clubs after him but he stayed loyal. He could look after himself and was a great tackler. Roger Byrne was a consistent player and very brave, that was the reason Geoff got so few games, but he was good enough to hold a regular place in any team.” – Jimmy Murphy
Liam ‘Billy’ Whelan – aged 22, forward. 96 appearances, 52 goals.
“Billy was a magician with a ball at his feet. I really don’t think he knew how good he was and how much better he could have become. A world-class forward. There is no doubt about that. His vision and passing was sheer class.” – Albert Scanlon
Walter Crickmer, club secretary / Tom Curry, trainer / Bert Whalley, coach
“Walter Crickmer always reminded me of a little dynamo, nothing was too much trouble. Tom Curry was someone we looked up to like a father. And Bert Whalley was certainly a tremendous help to me when I was a part-timer.” – Bill Foulkes