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Manchester United stars past and present stood in silent solidarity at Old Trafford yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.
At 3.04pm on February 6 1958, slush on the runway in Germany prevented United’s plane from reaching take-off speed and led to a crash that killed 23 people.
Eight first-team players and three long-serving members of staff were among those to die as Matt Busby’s United made their way back from a European Cup match at Red Star Belgrade.
Eight journalists, the co-pilot, cabin steward, travel agent and a United supporter were also killed in the crash that only 21 people survived.
Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg were among the survivors and both men attended yesterday’s emotional Old Trafford occasion, along with families of the players, staff, media and friends.
More than 4,500 supporters joined them in the East Stand, as former manager Alex Ferguson, director Michael Edelson and executive vice-chair Ed Woodward gave readings.
The trio wore commemorative ties featuring names of those who perished in Munich, while United manager Jose Mourinho and captain Michael Carrick laid wreaths after a minute’s silence at 3.04pm.
The minute’s silence was followed by Pete Martin’s rendition of The Flowers of Manchester, while former goalkeeper Gregg, who spent time at the United training ground earlier in the day, sang along with Abide With Me as the ceremony ended.
Events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the disaster were also held in Munich and Belgrade.
Around 2,000 fans gathered in Germany for a fan-organised ceremony attended by club ambassador Denis Irwin and senior United executives, along with some surviving doctors and nurses involved in the treatment of manager Busby and his team.
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