Munich Air Disaster: The Darkest Day In Manchester United History

I don’t like to fly but I do. I fly because I like to go to places, places that are physically impossible to drive to. I’m glad I fly because I’ve gotten to see so many beautiful parts of the world. But it is disasters such as these that make me want to reconsider my decision of ever stepping foot on an airplane again. I know I will though because luckily tragedies like this tend to be very few and very far in between. Yup, I don’t like flying and I don’t like Manchester United (whom I will often refer to as Man U). But I would have to be heartless to not be saddened by such a dark day for the team. The day that would end up being known as the darkest day for Manchester United.

In 1945 the manager’s job at Manchester United was equivalent to the challenge of climbing Mount Everest with bare feet. Throughout the 1930’s Man U was relegated from the top division (now called the Premier League) not once but twice and was dangerously close to bankruptcy. Then in 1941, Luftwaffe (Nazi Germany’s air force) bomb Old Trafford, the stadium Manchester United still calls home. Due to the destruction, they were forced to play at Main Road, the ground of their local rivals, Manchester City, until 2003. Man City now plays at Etihad Stadium. But that’s beside the point. These matters, however, were incidental to Matt Busby when he decided to become the manager of Manchester United on February 19, 1945. Busby had big goals of helping Man U rise from the ashes of Old Trafford. He saw the opportunity to rebuild the team and shape them to become the best of the best. Busby was raised in Bellshill, a coal-mining community in Lanarkshire, Scotland. So, he knew the value of hard work and perseverance. He also knew both Manchester and its people, since he played for Manchester City in their 1934 FA Cup win. His partnership with United would change the face of English football.

Within two years, Busby’s hands-on management delivered Manchester United’s first trophy after almost forty years. The club won the FA Cup in 1948, winning a match again Blackpool F.C. After a couple of years just falling short, Man U won the league title in 1952. But the team was slowly getting older and the time for Busby to bring young, homegrown players into his senior squad had come. The average age of these news players would be twenty-one. Roger Byrne became a regular at full-back after excelling on the wing in the later stages of the 1951/52 season. Jackie Blanchflower soon joined him and the two were the first to be known as the “The Busby Babes”, a term coined by Manchester Evening News journalist Tom Jackson. Mark Jones, Eddie Colman, and Duncan Edwards, who was only seventeen at the time soon joined the group. The Busby Babes were not only known for being young and gifted, but for being developed from within the club rather than being pulled from outside ones, which was more customary then. Liam Whelan, David Pegg, Geoff Bent, Johnny Berry, Bill Foulkes, Kenny Morgans, Albert Scanlon, Dennis Viollet, Wilf McGuiness, Ray Wood, John Doherty, Colin Webster, Bobby Charlton, Johnny Berry, and Eddie Lewis would complete the group of homegrown Babes. However, not all of the youngsters had been picked from the current Man U squad. In March 1953, Tommy Taylor signed with the team after leaving Barnsley, and Harry Gregg signed in December 1957, having been brought over from the Doncaster Rovers. Just a little fun fact, at the time of his retirement in 1975, Bobby Charlton held the record for all-time scoring record for both Manchester United (249 goals) and the England national team (49) goals. Charlton held the Man U record for thirty-five years until Wayne Rooney (253 goals) broke it. In 2015, Wayne Rooney also broke Charlton’s England national team record (53 goals). Rooney still holds both those records today. Harry Kane recently tied Bobby Charlton’s England national team record when he scored his forty-ninth goal during a friendly match against Switzerland.

The Busby Babes before their last match in 1958

Manchester United won the league title again on April 7, 1956, against Blackpool. This was the same club they’d beaten to win the 1948 FA Cup. But Matt Busby wasn’t satisfied with domestic domination alone: he sought a new test in the form of the European Cup. United entered it for the first time in the 1956/1957 season, initially without the blessing of the Football League. The squad demolished Belgian club Anderlecht 10-0 in the preliminary round. That result remains Man U’s biggest win in a competitive match to date. The club went on to defeat Borussia Dortmund and Athletic Bilbao before exiting the competition in the semi-final, after a 5-3 loss to Real Madrid. Back at home, the Red Devils marched on. The League Title was retained and United had almost become irresistible. Aston Villa stopped the club from winning the first league and FA Cup double of the modern age with a controversial 2-1 win at Wembley. The following season made smooth progress both domestically and in Europe. February opened with an intense encounter against Arsenal F.C (GO GUNNERS!) which ended with the Red Devils beating the Gunners 5-4. Little did the world know that a horrific club tragedy would soon occur.

After defeating the Shamrock Rovers and Dukla Prague in the European Cup preliminary and first-round respectively, Manchester United was drawn with Red Star Belgrade of Yugoslavia for the quarter-finals. After beating Red Star at Old Trafford on January 14, 1958, Man U was set to travel to Yugoslavia for the away leg on February 5th. On the way back from Prague in the previous round, fog over England prevented the team from flying back to Manchester, so they instead flew to Amsterdam before taking the ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich where they boarded a train to Manchester. The trip took a toll on the players, and they drew 3-3 with Birmingham City at St. Andrew’s three days later.

The squad was eager not to miss Football League fixture, and not wanting to have a difficult trip again, the club chartered a British European Airways plane from Manchester to Belgrade for the return leg against Red Star. The match was drawn 3-3 but it was just enough to send Manchester United to the semi-finals. The takeoff from Belgrade to return to Manchester was delayed for an hour after Johnny Berry lost his passport (which sounds like something Nick would do), and the plane landed in Munich for refueling at 13:15 GMT. I tried to convert that into other time zones but I was struggling so you guys can figure it out for yourselves. Okay? Great! The plane on which the team, coaches, and journalists were passengers on was a six-year-old Airspeed Ambassador 2, built in 1952. Pilot, Captain James Thain, and co-pilot, Captain Kenneth Rayment, were both former Royal Air Force (RAF) flight lieutenants. Thain had flown the “Elizabethan” class Airspeed Ambassador to Belgrade but handed the control to Rayment for the return flight. The plane was given clearance for take-off by the control tower at Munich at 14:19 GMT. Rayment abandoned the take-off after Thain noticed the port boost pressure gauge fluctuating as the plane reached full power and sounded odd while accelerating. For God only know what reasons a second attempt to take off was made three minutes later, but was called off forty seconds in because the engines were running on an over-rich carburetor, causing the plane to over-accelerate, a common problem for the “Elizabethan.” Oh no, absolutely not! Let me off that damn thing right now! You will not see my ass back on it later, I’ll find my own way home! Thank you so much!

After the second attempt to take-off failed, passengers retreated to the airport lounge. By then, it had started to snow heavily, and it looked unlikely that the plane would be making the return journey that day. Duncan Edwards sent a telegram to his landlady (yes, a telegram) in Manchester. It read: “All flights canceled, flying tomorrow. Duncan.” Thain told the station engineer, Bill Black, about the issue with the boost surging in the port engine, and Black suggested that since opening the throttle more slowly had not worked, the only other option was to hold the plane overnight. But Thain was anxious to stay on schedule and suggested opening the throttle even more slowly would suffice. That meant the plane would not achieve take-off velocity until further down the runway. Oh, hell to the no! That’s one of my biggest fears. Running out of runway when taking off or landing. Since the runway was almost two kilometers (1.2 miles) long, he believed this wouldn’t be an issue. The passengers were called back to the plane fifteen minutes after leaving it.

A few of the players, much like myself, were not confident fliers, particularly Billy Whelan, who said, “This may be death, but I’m ready.” Well, guess what Billy? I’m certainly not. Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, Mark Jones, Eddie Colman, and journalist Frank Swift, moved to the back of the plane, believing it safer. Oh, honeys, no. Once everyone was on board Thain and Rayment got the plane going again at 14:56 GMT. At 14:59 GMT, they reached the runway holding point, where they received clearance to get ready for take-off. Final cockpit checks were made on the runway at 15:02 GMT, they were informed their take-off clearance would expire at 15:04 GMT. The pilots agreed to try and take-off again, but that they would keep an eye on the instruments for surging in the engines. At 15:03 GMT, they informed the control tower of their decision. Rayment moved the throttle forward slowly and released the brakes; the plane began to accelerate, and radio officer Bill Rodgers, radioed the control tower with the message “Zulu Uniform rolling”. The plane threw up slush as it gained speed, and Thain called out the plane’s velocity in ten-knot increments. At eighty-five knots, the port engine began to surge again, and he pulled back a bit on the port throttle before pushing it forward again. Once the plane reached 117 knots (217 km/h, 134 mph) he called out “V1”, which meant it was no longer safe to abort take-off, and Rayment listened closely for the call of “V2”, which would announce the take-off safety speed. 119 knots (220 km/h, 136 mph) would be the minimum required to get off the ground. Thain expected the speed to rise, but it hung around 117 knots before suddenly dropping to 112 knots (207 km/h, 128 mph), and then 105 knots (194 km/h, 120 mph). At that time Rayment hollered “Christ, we won’t make it!”, as Thain looked to see what was up ahead.

The plane skidded off the end of the runway, crashed into the fence surrounding the airport, and across a road before its port wing was torn off as it clipped a house. A family of six lived there but luckily nobody was harmed. Part of the plane’s tail was ripped off before the left side of the cockpit hit a tree. The right side of the fuselage hit a wooden hut, which housed a truck filled with tires and fires, the collision caused the truck to explode. Once Thain saw the flames around the cockpit, he feared the airplane would explode and told his crew to evacuate. The stewardesses, Rosemary Cheverton and Margaret Bellis were the first to leave through a blown-own emergency window in the galley, followed by radio officer Bill Rodgers. Rayment was trapped in his seat by the crumpled fuselage and told Thain to go without him. Thain too shimmed his way out of the galley window. Damn, he had no qualms about leaving his co-pilot. Once out of the aircraft, he noticed flames growing under the starboard wing, which held 500 imperial gallons (2, 300 liters, 607 gallons) of fuel. He shouted to his crew to get away and climbed back into the aircraft to grab two handheld fire extinguishers. He stopped momentarily to tell Rayment he would come back for him when the fires had been dealt with.

In the cabin, goalkeeper Harry Gregg was starting to regain consciousness after being knocked out by a head injury. He was in a haze and thought he might have been dead. He felt fresh blood on his face and “didn’t dare put his hand up. He thought the top of his head had been taken off, like a hard boiled egg.” Once Gregg became more aware of his surroundings, he noticed a bright light shining through a hole above him. He kicked the hole until it was wide enough for him to escape. Before exiting the wreckage, Gregg decided to try and save as many people as he could. His teammates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet were still strapped into their seats. Gregg managed to unbuckle both seat belts and pulled the two men to safety by their waistbands. Gregg returned to the burning fuselage to save a twenty-month-old baby and her badly injured, pregnant mom, Vera Lukic, the wife of a Yugoslavian diplomat. Twenty passengers would die at the scene of the crash and two others would succumb to their injuries while in route to or at local hospitals.

The crash was initially blamed on pilot error but was later found to have been caused by slush towards the end of the runway. The slush slowed down the aircraft and prevented it from reaching a safe flying speed. Despite this conclusion, the German airport authorities took legal action against Captain Thain, as he was the one pilot who survived the crash. The authorities claimed he had taken off without clearing the wings of ice that had collected there due to the weather conditions, despite several witnesses claiming that no ice had been seen. While de-icing the airplane was the captain’s responsibility, the state of the airport’s runways was the responsibility of the airport authorities. During this particular incident, there seemed to be widespread ignorance on the authorities’ behalf of the danger of slush on the runways. The backbone of the German authorities’ case relied on two photographs. One taken hours after the crash showed ice that had collected on the wings and one taken of the plane (published in many newspapers) shortly before take-off appeared to show snow on the upper wing surfaces. However, when the original negative of the photograph was examined, no snow or ice could be seen. The “snow” seen in the image had been due to the sun reflecting off the wings, this was clarified when examining the negative rather than the published pictures which had been produced from a copy negative.

Witnesses were never called to the German inquiry and proceedings against Thain dragged on until 1968 when he was finally cleared of any responsibility for the crash. British authorities documented a build-up of melting snow on the runway that prevented the “Elizabethan” from reaching the required take-off speed as the official cause of the crash. After being dismissed by the BEA shortly after the incident Thank retired and returned home to Berkshire to run his poultry farm. He passed away of a heart attack in August 1975 at fifty-three years old. On January 8, 1963, legal action brought by Manchester United again the British European Airways arising out of the Munich crash in 1958, was settled out of court. Mr. Leslie Olive, secretary of the club, stated that the amount involved was not going to be disclosed to the public. BEA released a statement saying: “A settlement has been made and an application will be made to the court on Friday, January 11, to stay proceedings.”

Seven Manchester United players died at the scene of the crash. The twenty-first victim, Frank Swift, was a journalist and former goalkeeper who played with Busby at Manchester City died on his way to the hospital. Duncan Edwards died from his injuries while at Rechts der Isar Hospital in Munich on February 21, 1958. Several days after Edwards’ passing, co-pilot Ken Rayment died as a result of serious head injuries sustained during the crash. Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower both survived the disaster but were injured so severely that they never played football again. Manager Matt Busby sustained serious injuries and had to be hospitalized for more than two months after the crash. While there he was given his Last Rites twice. After being discharged, he traveled to Switzerland to recover in Interlaken. At the time, he felt like giving up football entirely, until he was told by his wife, Jean, “You know Matt, the lads would have wanted you to carry on.” That little moment of inspiration pulled Busby from his depression, and he returned to Manchester before watching his team play in the 1958 FA Cup Final. I will list all the survivors and victims at the end of the article.

After the disaster the was speculation that the club would fold, but a threadbare Man U team completed the 1957-1958 season, with Busby’s assistant Jimmy Murphy standing in as manager. Murphy had not traveled to Belgrade with the team since he was in Cardiff managing the Welsh national team at the time. United only won one game after the crash, causing their title challenge to collapse and they fell into ninth place in the league. They did manage to make it to the semi-finals of the European Cup but were defeated. Real Madrid, who went on to win the trophy for the third year in a row suggested that United be awarded the trophy for that year, a suggestion supported by Red Star Belgrade but this sentiment failed to materialize. It was a very nice gesture though. Matt Busby resumed managerial duties the next season and eventually built a second generation of Busby Babes, a group that won the European Cup in 1968. Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes were the only two crash survivors who lined up in the team.

Memorials dedicated to the lost players and staff were unveiled at Old Trafford on February 25, 1960. The first memorial is a plaque in the shape of the stadium with an image on a green pitch (field), it is inscribed with the names of the victims in black and gold glass. It was placed above the entrance to the director’s box. Above the plaque sits a teak carving of a player and a fan with their heads bowed on either side of a wreath and a football inscribed with the date “1958”. The second memorial is a bronze plaque that names the eight journalists who perished as a result of the accident. The original plaque was stolen in the 1980s and replaced by a replica that is now behind the counter in the press entrance. The final memorial is the Munich clock, with the date “6 Feb 1958 at the top of the faces and “Munich at the bottom. When Old Trafford underwent renovations in the 1970s, the plaque had to be moved from its spot at the directors’ entrance. It could not be removed without damaging it, so the old memorial was walled up within the Main Stand and a new memorial was made. The new memorial is simpler than the original, now consisting of a slate pitch with the name inscribed upon it. It was installed in 1976. A third version of the memorial, more like the original, includes the stands around the slate pitch and the figures above it was installed in 1996. This unveiling coincided with the erection (Hehe…erection) of the statue of Matt Busby. The third version of the plaque and Busby’s statue were originally on the north side of the East Stand, but the statue was moved to the front of the East Stand and the plaque to the south side of the stand after an expansion in 2000.

There are two memorials in Germany. One in the Munich suburb of Trudering, on the corner of Karotschrabe and Emplstrabe. It is a small wooden memorial depicting Jesus on the cross, decorated by a stone trough filled with flowers. The trough has a plaque on the front of it with the inscription: “m Gedenken an die Opfer der Flugzeugkatastrophe am 6.2.1958 unter denen sich auch ein Teil der Fußballmannschaft von Manchester United befand, sowie allen Verkehrstoten der Gemeinde Trudering.” (In memory of the victims of the air disaster of 6 February 1958 including members of the football team of Manchester United as well as all the traffic victims from the municipality of Trudering). On September 22, 2004, a dark blue granite plaque set in a sandstone border was unveiled in the vicinity of the old Munich Airport on the corner of Rappenweg and Emplstrave, close to the wooden memorial. It has a design in the shape of a football pitch, it reads, “In memory of all those who lost their lives here in the Munich air disaster on 6 February 1958”, in both German and English. On April 24, 2008, the Munich city council decided to name the site where the memorial stone is placed ”Manchesterplatz” (Manchester Square). On February 6, 20158, Sir Bobby Charlton and FC Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge opened a museum exhibit commemorating the disaster at the German club’s stadium, the Allianz Arena.

The “Elizabethan” after the crash

There is a small display of artifacts at the Majestic Hotel, where the team stayed after the match. These include a menu card signed by fourteen of the players, including the eight who perished in the crash, a picture taken at the meal, and a match ticket. The menu card was acquired by the former British ambassador to Yugoslavia and was auctioned off by his son in 2006. The hotel is almost home to the piano played by Manchester United player Mark Jones the night before the accident. In late 1997, John Doherty (a former Man U player who had left the club shortly before the disaster) approached club chairman Martin Edwards on behalf of the Manchester United Former Player’s Association to request a testimonial for the victims of the Munich disaster, both the survivors and the dependents of those who were lost. Edwards was hesitant, but a benefit match was eventually set up for a date as close to the fortieth anniversary of the disaster as possible. Red Star Belgrade and Bayern Munich were rumored to be possible opponents for the match, and fans purchased tickets without the opponents having been decided.

In the middle of match preparations, former United player Eric Cantona, who had retired in 1997 to pursue a career in film, expressed an interest in returning to Man U for a farewell match. Edwards took the opportunity to combine the two events into one. Due to Cantona’s acting career, his schedule would not allow him to be available in February 1998 and the match was moved to August 18th. The opposition was to be a European XI (11) chosen by Cantona. The side selected by Cantona included French internationals Laurent Blanc, Pascal Vahirua, and Jean-Pierre Papin, England’s Paul Gascoigne, former United Players Bruan Robson, and Mark Huges, as well as Cantona’s brother Joel. Cantona played the first half of the match for the European XI, before changing sides at half-time. Man U won the match 8-4. Martin Edwards was later criticized for turning the match into a publicity stunt, while Elizabeth Wood, the ex-wife of crash survivor Ray Wood, compared the treatment of the Munich victims to that of “dancing bears at the circus.” Despite the criticism, the match grossed £47,000 ($61,053) for each of the victims’ families.

The club itself received criticism for its poor treatment of the disaster survivors. Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower were forced out of the flats they rented from the club to make room for new players. Berry was also notified by mail that his employment with the club had been terminated. Another survivor, goalkeeper Ray Wood, complained about the lack of recognition from Manchester United, stating: “We feel that we helped to build Manchester United… They received massive international support following the disaster but they didn’t treat people properly then, did nothing for us all those years, and they’re still making money out of it directly now.” On February 8, 1998, United played Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford in the Premier League a day after the fortieth anniversary of the disaster. The match kicked off at 3:15 p.m. to allow for a moment of silence to be observed at 3:04 p.m. Representatives from both sides laid floral tributes to those who lost their lives. Crash survivor and United director Bobby Charlton joined by Bolton president Nat Lofthouse led out the two teams. On February 6, 2008, a memorial service was held at Old Trafford to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the disaster. At the end of the service, the surviving members of the 1958 Man U team were the guests of honor at a ceremony to rename the tunnel under the stadium’s South Stand as the “Munich Tunnel”, which features an exhibition about the Busby Babes.

A memorial billboard was unveiled outside Old Trafford, but it was disliked by some fans for including the logo of the club’s then-sponsor, American insurance firm AIG. The poster was eventually vandalized with paint bombs. On the same day, the England national football team took on Switzerland at Wembley Stadium. Before the match, pictures of the players who lost their lives in Munich were displayed on big screens, and the England players wore black armbands. There was also a tribute to the Busby Babes in the match program. One-minute silences were observed at the Northern Ireland, Wales, and Republic of Ireland games. On February 10, 2008, Manchester United and Manchester City met at Old Trafford in a derby match. Both teams were led onto the pitch by a lone piper playing “The Red Flag”, and managers Sir Alex Ferguson (Man U) and Sven-Goran Eriksson (Man City) laid a wreath in the center circle. The United players wore stripped kits that were reminiscent of those worn by the 1958 Busy Babes, they were numbered one to eleven and had no advertising on the front or players’ names on the back. City players removed sponsors’ logos from their kit and the image of a small black ribbon was heat pressed onto the right shoulder. Both teams adorned black armbands. Supporters in attendance were given commemorative scarves in red and white for the United fans, and sky blue and white for the City fans.

Many musical tributes to the Munich air disaster have been recorded, the earliest being the song “The Flowers of Manchester”. Written by Eric Winter, the editor of Sing magazine, the song was recorded and released by Liverpool folk band The Spinners on their 1962 debut album Quayside Songs Old and New. In 2004 Manchester-born singer Steven Morrissey also released a song titled “Munich Air Disaster, 1958”. The English band The Futureheads named their album News and Tributes in honor of the disaster. The title track pays tribute to those who lose their lives and includes the verse: 

Cut down in their prime, 

In silence, on that day, 

February 58, they got what they need, 

From Belgrade and back home to sleep 

Producer Barry Navidi was reported to be working on a script for a Hollywood movie about the crash but there were concerns about how accurate the film would be since the survivors had not been consulted. On January 10, 2006, BBC showed a documentary retelling the story in the series Surviving Disaster. The show was met with criticism from former United player Albert Scanlon, who claimed that it was full of inaccuracies, despite the production having consulted him about the content of the documentary. The series included a depiction of Jimmy Murphy giving a pre-match team talk in Belgrade, despite him being in Cardiff at the time, and the plane being shown as only half full when nearly every seat was occupied. 

A 2011 made-for-television movie United, tells the story of the crash and subsequent rebuilding of Manchester United. The story is largely seen through the eyes of Jimmy Murphy, who became manager of the team during Busby’s recovery. The film received generally good reviews, and was nominated at the Prix Europa 2011 Awards as “Best European TV Production”. However, it was condemned by Sandy Busby, the son of Matt Busby, who said he thought the movie was “very poorly done”, and strongly criticized the film’s portrayal of his dad. 

February 6, 2018 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the disaster.

Munich Air Disaster Victims:

Fatalities 

Crew Members: 

Captain Kenneth “Ken” Rayment. Co-pilot. Age: 37 (survived the crash but suffered multiple injuries and died in hospital three weeks later as a result of brain damage.) 

Manchester United Players: 

Geoff Bent. Position: Full-back. Age: 25 

Roger Byrne. Position: Full-back. Age: 28 

Eddie Colman. Position: Wing half. Age: 21 

Duncan Edwards. Position: Left half. Age: 21 (survived the crash, but died in hospital 15 days later) 

Mark Jones. Position: Center-half. Age: 24 

David Pegg. Position: Outside left. Age: 22 

Tommy Taylor. Position: Center-forward. Age: 26 

Billy Whelan. Position: Inside forward. Age: 22 

Manchester United Staff: 

Walter Circkmer. Club secretary. Age: 57-58 

Tom Curry. Trainer. Age: 63 

Bert Whalley. Chief coach. Age: 44 

Journalists: 

Frank Swift. News of the World. Age: 44 (former England and Manchester City goalkeeper; died on his way to the hospital) 

Donny Davies. Manchester Guardian. Age: 65 (retired footballer) 

Survivors 

Crew: 

George William “Bill” Rodgers. Radio officer. Died 1997. Age: Unknown 

Captain James Thain. Pilot. Died 1975. Age: 54 

Passengers: 

Manchester United Players: 

Johnny Berry. Position: Outside Right. Never played again. Died 1994. Age: 68 

Jackie Blanchflower. Position: Half back. Never played again. Died 1998. Age: 65 

Sir Bobby Charlton. Position: Midfielder, forward. Still Living. Age: 84 

Bill Foulkes. Position: Center-half. Died 2013. Age: 81 

Harry Gregg. Position: Goalkeeper. Died 2020. Age: 87 

Kenny Morgans. Position: Outside right. Died 2012. Age: 73 

Albert Scanlon. Position: Outside left. Died 2009. Age: 74 

Dennis Viollet. Position: Inside forward. Died 1999. Age: 65 

Ray Wood. Position: Goalkeeper. Died 2002. Age: 71 

Manchester United Staff: 

Matt Busby. Manager. Died 1994. Age: 84 

Journalists: 

Frank Taylor. News Chronicle. Died 2002. Age: 81 

Sources:

“Munich air disaster” – Wikipedia

“Munich Air Disaster, 6 February 1958 | Man Utd Busby Babes” – manutd.com

“Munich Air Disaster: The plane crash that killed Manchester United players and staff in 1958” – The Standard

“Munich Air Disaster: The survivors who never played again” – Sky

“Here are The Survivors of Manchester United’s Tragic Munich Air Disaster” – News 18

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