My teen years coincided with the rebuilding of one of the greatest teams seen in England, Man Utd. Manager, Matt Busby had a winning wonder team in the late 50s. However, the Munich Air Disaster robbed him of some of the era’s greatest players. Once he had recovered from his own injuries, he set about forging another side to take the world by storm.
I was hardly a fanatic Man Utd fan as my football knowledge was pretty scant but the story of the air disaster captured my interest.
The signing and debut of the superstar from Belfast, George Best with his film-star looks however made me an eventual life long fan of Man Utd. The lads bought me a match ticket and stadium tour apart of a weekend in Manchester for my 50th birthday.
The death of Harry Gregg, the Man Utd goalie of that era today caused me to reread articles of the time. This poem was written by Harry about the Busby Babes and is a particularly touching account if the disaster.
The Busby Babes
How they laughed, they loved and played the game together
Played the game and gave it every ounce of life
And the crowds they thronged to see such free young spirits
My good God, there wasn’t many who came home
Roger Byrne, Mark Jones and Salford’s Eddie Colman
Tommy Taylor, Geoffrey Bent and David Pegg
Duncan Edwards, Dublin’s own boy Liam Whelan
My good God, there wasn’t any who came home
There are those gone down that long, long road before us
But each morn we try and keep them in our sight
In memories’ eyes, the Busby Babes are all immortal
The Red Devil spirit lives and never died. (Harry Gregg)