Munich Old Trafford - Cass Hyde

Manchester United remember Munich 60 years on

  • Manchester remembers the 23 who lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster
  • Service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of crash held at Old Trafford today
  • Fans across three generations reflect on the importance of the day

Flowers, letters and candles are being brought to Old Trafford today to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.


On 6 February,1958, a plane carrying the Manchester United players and staff, sports journalists and civilians crashed in Munich following the Busby Babes’ European Cup semi-final win in Belgrade. 23 people were killed.

Joan Kane, from Burnage, was just five years old when disaster struck, not much younger than her grandson George, who is with her today.

She said: “On the day, my dad walked out of his workplace and came home. We got sent home from school early.

My dad came home and took us to church, and he never took us to church.”

Kane Family - Cass Hyde
(Left to Right) George Kane, Joan Kane, Frances Farley, Wilf Oates, Marlene Bretherton

The Busby Babes remain a uniting factor in the Kane family across three generations.

Joan said: “We’re here today, me and George, and my son’s in Munich today because of what my dad taught us.

“I’ll never forget the emotion my dad showed and we grew to love United through that, and still do. I passed it to my children and they will pass it onto their children.”

Marlene Bretherton was outside the stadium with Mrs Kane. She was 17 when the airplane crashed and shared a similar experience with her father:

“I went to my mum and dad’s and my dad was crying,” she said. 

“We just spent the whole day crying. I remember my mother saying ‘bloody hell, it’s like a morgue in here’.”

Among those killed was Alf Clarke from the Manchester Evening Chronicle. His granddaughter, Sarah Clarke, was at Old Trafford commemorating those who lost their lives in 1958.

She said: “It’s great that they continue to have this memorial because it has such an enormous impact on this city.

“It’s important for us to come and commemorate what happened.”

Clarke Family - Cass Hyde
(Left to Right) Simon Clarke, Sarah Clarke, Karen Clarke, Will Clarke

The impact of the Busby Babes’ story reaches far beyond the city of Manchester. Supporters of the Red Devils from all over Europe have travelled to Munich in their thousands for this year’s anniversary. 

Norwegian fan Hans Georg Hansen made the trek to Munich yesterday. He said: “I decided to come to Munich because it was such an important day in the club’s history.

Hans Dorg Hansen
Hans Georg Hansen in Munich

“There are so many fans here. It shows we’re one big united family.

“You learn so much from talking to people, some people I spoke to still remember when the plane crashed. It was very emotional during the service.”

Events to comemorate the anniversary continue throughout the week including an evening of talks and films hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University.