United in grief

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 3 different poems, after watching last night’s docudrama ‘United’ on BBC2, see notes below

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 From Munich, to Mexico, the Reds are marching on

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 I watched
and cried

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Even though I knew – what the result was
that the plane would never make it into the blizzard hewn skies
that it would break into two
and break up a legendary team

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Even though I knew – that Duncan Edwards
would never make another kick-off
that only Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes
would make that first ghostly blank team sheet

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 Even though I knew – they’d win through the Quarter and Semi
but lose that most poignant and emotive of Cup Finals
even though I knew – that Bobby Charlton would return and grow in stature
and that Sir Matt, would prosper and re-build his Busby Babes part II

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Even though they’re not my team, I watched
and cried

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 And how prophetic
Jimmy Murphy’s line
“It’s not for what we do and say now, it’s for how we position ourselves for the future ….” *

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 As Chicarito nets, in the here and now, late into the game
and practically ensures
another season of dominance

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 ~ ~ # ~ ~

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Blackbox

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 Jimmy Murphy barked
“the ball’s round, to go around”

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 And so it did
until that fateful skid
on the snow carpeted Munich runway back in 1958
when the plane broke in two
killing passengers and crew
except for plucky survivors, cradled by the hands of fate

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 Some would never again get to kick a ball in earnest
their limbs twisted, but their hearts tormented
and their minds, an embedded blackbox – of painful memories

15 Leave a comment on verse 15 0 ~ ~ # ~ ~

16 Leave a comment on verse 16 0 haiku

17 Leave a comment on verse 17 0 coffins in the gym
laid out like vaulting boxes
United in grief



On watching the BBC2 drama “United”, shown last night, about the Munich air crash which claimed the lives of 23 people, including 8 Utd players and many of their staff and football journalists, on February 6th, 1958.

Mesmeric performance from David Tennant as Jimmy Murphy, Matt Busby’s right hand man.

* I can’t unfortunately remember exactly the classic line that David Tennant, as Jimmy Murphy, delivered in the boardroom, when the United board were ready to shut down the club for the season in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

One of the most chilling images in the programme, inspired the haiku above: all the coffins on arrival into Manchester, were laid out in the club gym, almost as if in team formation.

I loved the programme.

Just thought it was a bit naughty of BBC to promote it as ‘never done before’ – when they themselves had broadcast an excellent docudrama back in 2006, which prompted me to write ….. (click here to read …) Slush


Following details from The Guardian

Twenty-three people died as a result of the Munich air disaster on 6 February 1958. A British European Airways Elizabethan, returning from Belgrade, where Manchester United had won a European Cup quarter-final 5-4 on aggregate, against Red Star Belgrade.

The plane crashed on take-off after refuelling.

Eight of the victims were Manchester United footballers: Geoffrey Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan.

Three were members of the club’s staff: Walter Crickmer, the secretary, trainer Tom Curry and Bert Whalley, the coach.

Eight were newspaper representatives: Alf Clarke of the Manchester Evening Chronicle, Don Davies of The Guardian, George Follows of the Daily Herald, Tom Jackson of the Manchester Evening News, Archie Ledbrooke of the Daily Mirror, Henry Rose of the Daily Express, Eric Thompson, of the Daily Mail, and Frank Swift, the former Manchester City and England goalkeeper, of the News of the World.

Two were members of the BEA crew: Captain Kenneth Rayment, the co-pilot, and Tom Cable, a steward.

Two other passengers also died: Bela Miklos, wife of the travel agent, and Willie Satinoff, a supporter.


Jimmy Murphy had stayed behind that week for his other role – as Welsh national manager – they beat Israel to qualify for the 1958 World Cup finals.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/united-in-grief/