In Memorium

Commemorating the anniversary of the Munich plane crash on February 6th, 1958, which tragically ended so many lives, including those of the Manchester United team dubbed ‘The Busby Babes’.

Some poems from our archives :


Eight players,
Young lions of their day,
By the snow.

Eight journalists,
A pride in every word,
Written off
By the snow.

Three backroom lads,
Stalwart support abounding,
Pulled down
By the snow.

Nineteen floodlights switched off,
Bright stars in their sky.
By the snow.

6th February 1958


© Alan McKean February 2006

I was seven at the time, and a Man City fan, but I still remember the shockwaves around Manchester.

Flowers of Manchester

On February 6th, 1958.
The Busby Babes received a terrible fate.
Edwards, Pegg, Byrne and Whelan.
Jones, Bent, Taylor & Coleman.
Foulkes he lived on. Charlton too.
But these were only a fortunate few.
Journalists, crew members, all were gone.
But the spirit of the Babes, still lives on.
In every heart of every fan.
In every woman. In every man.
Old Trafford will never, ever forget.
How Edwards would stick them in the back of the net.
Every fan would sing and shout.
The Stretford End would sing their hearts out.
As David Pegg would run down the wing.
And every fan would start to sing.
Even though all this was gone.
Manchester United are still number 1.
Manchester will always hold on to the
Memory of the Babes. The ‘Flowers of Manchester’

© Ben Andrew, aged 15
If you haven’t geussed, I am from Manchester. If you go to www.thebusbybabes.com you will know why I wrote this poem.

We will remember

My father used to tell me
How things used to be
When players were real men
As I sat upon his knee

Finney, Matthews, Milburn
Were spoken of in awe
But special praise was given
For a team that are no more

Matt Busby and his Babes
Are spirits in the sky
They were cruelly taken from us
When their plane failed to fly

Eddie ‘Snake Hips’ Colman
A dapper little lad
One outrageous dummy
Made opponents mad

The greatest of them all fell
Upon that fateful night
The mighty Duncan Edwards
Lost his gallant fight

My father often told me
That they were boys against men
But Busbys boys were victors
Again and again and again

8 men perished in Munich
Tall and strong and fine
How good could those lads have become?
The greatest of all time?

So when we think of 68
Or Treble winning years
Think of those who didn’t return
Through a cloudy veil of tears

We never will forget them
We’ll hang our heads and cry
The legend of the Busby Babes
Will never ever die

© Alan Laine

The Busby Babes

At 15.03 on 6.2.58, we lost probably our greatest English team,
Some of our youngest and finest footballers, that we’d ever seen,
Sir Matt had a vision and a plan, to give the kids their chance,
And boy did they take it, oh yes they did, and lead all europewide on a merry dance,

Flight 609, stopped to refuel, at Munich, after a successful Q/F European cup tie,
And little did anyone know, that knocking out former champs, R.S.B. 8 of our heroes, were gonna die,
They were cut down in their prime, on that fateful Munich flight,
And on that foreign icy runway our boys lay, it was such a terrible sight

With Coleman, Byrne, Jones, and, Taylor, to name, but just four,
And our legend from Dudley, West Midlands, DUNCAN EDWARDS, probably the greatest of them all,
David Pegg, Geoff Bent, and, Billy[Liam] Whelan; 8 journalists and 3 backroom men,
And while Charlton, Scanlon, Violet, Morgan, and Wood, reshaped Utd’s future,
Blanchflower, and Jonny Berry, would never play again,

So gifted, so young and talented, the Country, rembembers the day The Busby Babes died;
And up and down our Land, we mourned our loss, and how our Nation cried,
The Busby Babes, we’ll never forget, your legend lives on, and your average was only 22,
So goodnight, and rest in peace, to England’s finest, football always, will miss YOU GOD BLESS

© paul collins january 2nd 2004

The Last of the Busby Babes
Matt Busby and George Best

Busby became Manager just after the war
Swapping crowd chants for the battles roar
Matt and Jimmy Murphy started a crusade
Creating a side known as the “Busby Babes”

The best young talent to United they’d invite
Nurtured like apples till they were ripe
No focus on tactics, just their passion ignited
“Just go out and play, for you are United!”

They looked invincible, who would have thought
That death would stop them at Munich airport
Feb sixth ‘fifty eight, that terrible day
For a third time they raced down the runway

Next – Sparks. Slashing. Screeching. Smashing
Then – No screaming, no crying, no moaning from the dying,
After all that violence, just an eerie silence
.. .. .. .. and blackness

The plane had careered out of control
Turning the snow crimson; taking its bloody toll
Eight young men perished that day
Another three would never again play

Lives cut short before they’d hardly begun
What a terrible sight, lads barely twenty-one
lain under blankets, motionless in a row
Once full of life, now silent as snow

Eight young men would never return
Tommy Taylor, Mark Jones and Roger Byrne
David Pegg, Geoff Bent and Liam Whelan
Big Duncan Edwards and snake hips Eddie Colman

Waiting for the homecoming of Roger Byrne
News, which tragedy meant he’d never learn
A Father for the first time he was set to become
Eight months after death, Roger had a son

Duncan Edwards was the bravest of the brave
a one-man team the ultimate Busby babe
a hero frozen in time, forever twenty one
never to discover how good he would become

As the Father of the team fought for his life
The fate of his sons he enquired of his wife
Each one he asked for, needing to know
She shook her head in a sorrowful “NO”

From then on the torment was in his eyes
When you lose a son something inside of you dies
Ten years after eight of his adopted sons died
Busby makes the European Final with a brand new side.

With ninety minutes gone the score is one one
It was slipping away United are hanging on.
In the dying moments, Eusebio’s denied on the line
Collapsing on the turf, they waited for extra time,

Looking as though they might fail at the brink
Big Dunc shouts out, “We ain’t come here for nuffink!”
The spirit of Edwards, Byrne and the rest
Gives new life to Bobby, Nobby and George Best

Best takes the game by the scruff of the neck.
Receives the ball and with a swivel and check,
drifts past his marker, through on his own
Ghosts past the keeper, glides the ball home.

Sheer magic.

All eyes are on Matt as his side takes control
twice more the ball was put into the goal
Look more closely, your eyes will have revealed
an extra eight players are also on the field

Winning the cup now fulfilled Matt’s quest
Starting in ‘45 and ending with George Best
From Duncan through Bobby, he was last of the Babes
Spanning life and death, Wembley and the grave

To see George play was to be mesmerised
Tormenting defenders leaving them hypnotised
However United and Best, had reached their peak
His God given talent had a destructive streak.

As the older players began to fade
The expectancy of greatness heavily weighed
He was totally unsuited to the demands on him.
Being wayward and weak meant the demons would win

It’s well documented his fall from grace
All the drunken episodes and commentaries of disgrace
A weak man but always a God on the ball
Please remember him as the greatest Babe of them all

© Poet Shot

Munich, Feb 6th 1958

Slush …
I didn’t know
who’d have thought it
with all that snow ….
and ice –
clogging up the wings?
or a convenient, chilling, pretext for a crash report?

Slush …
they’d have walked through it, when crossing the tarmac

Slush …
they’d have run through it, in training

Slush …
they’d have timed their tackles, when sliding through it, out on the pitch

Hush …
the Zagreb stadium silenced
as United go 3-0 up by half-time
pegged back to 3 all by the end
but they qualified nevertheless
for the semi-final of the European Cup

Slush …
the aviation industry
learned a lot that day –
we learned
of how Gregg the garrulous goalie
became Harry the hero
of how for Big Dunc, a big chunk – of superstardom stolen away
breathed his last
but lies iconic in the past
and how Munich
became the burial ground, for the Busby Babes

And now …
we write slushy words
as we try to extemporise our feelings
but no passage of prose
can adequately capture, or return
those Titans

© Clik the mouse, 11th January 2006

Note :
Written after watching a docudrama of the Munich air crash which killed so many of the Manchester United team, and other passengers.

It was shown on Tuesday 10th January on BBC1 as part of the Surviving Disaster series.

It concluded with the news that the pilot was eventually exonerated of pilot error, when it was proven that slush on the runway was the probable cause of the crash, and not ice on the wings as was first thought in the initial crash report.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/2006/02/06/in-memorium/