Munich 60 years on: How British sport changed

  • MMU and the North West Film Archive look back at the Munich air disaster
  • Event marks the 60th anniversary of the British sporting tragedy
  • The evening will include contributions from across the sports and journalism industries

‘Munich 60 years on: How British sport changed’ is an evening exploring how the Munich air disaster changed the nature of sports journalism and the city of Manchester itself.

Twenty-three people were killed on 6 February 1958 when a charter plane crashed after refuelling at Munich Airport. Among the dead were eight Manchester United footballers, part of the famous group known as the ‘Busby Babes’.

The crash also claimed the lives of three club staff, eight journalists who had travelled to cover United’s European Cup tie in Belgrade, as well as plane crew and other officials.

The event, marking the 60th anniversary of the tragedy, will bring together football journalists and supporters, sports historians and friends and relatives of those affected.

Organised by Vince Hunt, Sports Journalism Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, the collaboration with the North West Film Archive will share personal memories, guest talks and rare film footage.

He said:

“Munich, as well as having a huge effect on English football, also changed the nature of sports journalism because a whole community of sports journalists were on that plane.

“Our event will bring together fans, football writers, historians and friends and relatives of those affected by the crash to explore the consequences of one of Manchester’s most tragic events.”

Dr Guy Hodgson, sports historian at Liverpool John Moores University will look at the effect of the disaster on the England national football team and how the 1966 World Cup winning team could have looked very different if a generation of talented English footballers had not been wiped out.

Alice McKeegan, Head of Football at the Manchester Evening News, will speak about coverage of the event, not only for the city, but for millions of United fans around the world.  

Paul Clark, Lecturer in Sports Journalism at MMU, will remember the sports writers who died on the plane, including former Manchester City goalkeeper and reporter for News of the World Frank Swift and consider how the nature of sports journalism changed as a result.

The evening will also feature a report by MMU Multimedia Journalism second year Rebecca Longbottom on Swift.

The North West Film Archive will showcase a selection of Munich films from its vaults.

This will include rare historic colour footage of the Busby Babes from 1957, specially edited for the anniversary by MMU’s Journalism department.

MMU Multimedia Journalism Masters students Cass Hyde and Tom Brady have also produced pieces on Manchester Evening News’ much-loved reporter Tom Jackson and Manchester’s reaction to the tragedy in 1958 respectively.

The event will take place at MMU’s Business School on February 7th. Further information can be found at Eventbrite.