TODAY marks 63 years since the Munich air disaster, which robbed Manchester United of eight players.

Sir Matt Busby had a team at his disposal built mainly of academy graduates, who looked set for world domination until the disaster. Here's the lowdown…

What was the Munich Air Disaster?

United were travelling back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade in February 1958 when the plane they were travelling in veered off the runway at taking off at Munich airport after a refuelling stop.

On the third take-off attempt, the pilots lost control due to the slush on the runway.

It crashed through a fence and into a farm house nearby.

Part of the aircraft’s tail was torn off and the fuel caused an internal explosion – with those sat at its rear the first victims.

Eight players lost their lives – including 21-year-old Duncan Edwards, who had finished third in the Ballon d’Or standings the previous year.

Who were the Manchester United plane crash survivors?

Among the 21 survivors were eight Manchester United players and manager Matt Busby.

Goalkeeper Harry Gregg escaped unharmed and returned to pull stricken passengers from the wreckage – including a pregnant woman and her baby daughter.

Which Manchester United players survived the Munich disaster?

  • Johnny Berry (never played again, died 1994)
  • Jackie Blanchflower (never played again, died 1998)
  • Bobby Charlton
  • Bill Foulkes (died 2013)
  • Harry Gregg (died 2020)
  • Kenny Morgans (died 2012)
  • Albert Scanlon (died 2009)
  • Dennis Viollet (died 1999)
  • Ray Wood (died 2002)

Who died in the Munich Air disaster?

Manchester United players

  • Geoff Bent
  • Roger Byrne
  • Eddie Colman
  • Duncan Edwards (died 15 days later)
  • Mark Jones
  • David Pegg
  • Tommy Taylor
  • Liam 'Billy' Whelan

Manchester United staff

  • Walter Crickmer, club secretary
  • Tomy Curry, trainer
  • Bert Whalley, chief coach


  • Alf Clarke, Manchester Evening Chronicle
  • Donny Davies, Manchester Guardian
  • George Follows, Daily Herald
  • Tom Jackson, Manchester Evening News
  • Archie Ledbrooke, Daily Mirror
  • Henry Rose, Daily Express
  • Frank Swift, (former Manchester City goalkeeper) News of the World
  • Eric Thompson, Daily Mail

Other passengers

  • Bela Milos, travel agent
  • Willie Satinoff, supporter and friend of Sir Matt Busby

Manager Sir Matt was twice read his Last Rites while gravely injured in a Munich hospital – before making a miraculous recovery and leading club to European Cup glory just ten years later.

Bobby Charlton went on to become England and Manchester United's record goalscorer, until he was eclipsed by Wayne Rooney.

What time does the Old Trafford clock read?

The clock at Old Trafford remains permanently frozen at 3:04pm, the time of the crash. A solitary word beneath simply reads: Munich.

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