A ceremony has taken place at Old Trafford to commemorate the victims of the Munich air disaster 60 years ago.
The service included a minute silence at 15:04, the time of the crash, readings from Sir Alex Ferguson and Ed Woodward, a moving rendition of ‘The Flowers of Manchester’ poem and a performance from the Manchester United Foundation Youth Choir.
The turnstiles were open to all supporters wishing to remember the 23 lives lost when British European Airways Flight 609 carrying the United team, staff journalists and a fan crashed off a slush covered runway into a house and fuel truck. The team were returning home after a successful European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade.
Chants of “We’ll never die” rang out around a packed East Stand throughout the service, with a perfectly observed minute silence providing a poignant tribute to the victims.
The Manchester United first team squad were all in attendance, as well as Jose Mourinho and Sir Bobby Charlton.
One United fan recalled her memory of the tragedy: “It affected the city a heck of a lot. Even the city fans and players were all gutted. I ran out of school crying, my sister and my brother ran home to my parents in tears.
“I still feel the same today. I’m 68 and I don’t feel any different than the day it happened.”
Our Munich Air Disaster commemorations continue on Tuesday 6 February with a service inside Old Trafford. All are welcome to attend. pic.twitter.com/P69EQC1GFK
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 4, 2018
Among those who died was Duncan Edwards, a player regarded as the best of his generation. He died in hospital 15 days after the crash. Air crash survivor and United player Sir Bobby Charlton said: “His death was the single biggest tragedy to happen to Manchester United and England. I felt I could compare with any player – except Duncan. He didn’t have a fault in his game.”
Eight Manchester United players and three club officials were all killed in the crash.
Football clubs across the country have been paying tributes to the victims of the air crash, including United’s fiercest rivals Liverpool FC.
Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the Munich air disaster.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 6, 2018
On the 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, the thoughts of all at #SCFC are with the victims of the tragedy. Twenty three people lost their lives, including eight @ManUtd players. They will never be forgotten #FlowersOfManchester pic.twitter.com/DaO20I6pk4
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) February 6, 2018
On this, the 60th anniversary, the thoughts of all at West Bromwich Albion are with those affected by the Munich air disaster.
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) February 6, 2018