Beckham leads tributes to Man Utd heroes on Munich anniversary

Michael Graham

David Beckham was among those using social media  to pay their respects as Manchester United marked the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

Eight first-team players and three long-serving members of staff were among those to die as United made their way back from a European Cup match at Red Star Belgrade on February 6, 1958.

Eight journalists, the co-pilot, cabin steward, travel agent and a United supporter were also killed in the crash that only 21 people survived.

Tuesday’s emotional Old Trafford memorial was attended by the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson and more than 4,500 supporters.

We Never Forget #busbybabes ❤️ @manchesterunited

A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on

Plenty of former United players also paid their respects on social media, including ex-England captain Beckham who posted: “We Never Forget.”

United defender Chris Smalling described the Busby Babes as his “inspiration” while Ashley Young urged fans earlier in the day to remember those who had died.

Young went on to post on Twitter: “The Munich Air Disaster is something I was always aware of growing up but in truth I didn’t understand its influence on @ManUtd until I joined the club.

“You still sing about Sir Matt Busby and about playing football “the Busby way”. We have a duty to keep that spirit alive and keep making you proud to support this team.”

Two of the club’s former defenders, Ronny Johnsen and Gary Neville, also reflected on the tragedy, with the latter posting a video of Tracey Malone singing ‘The Flowers of Manchester’.

United’s fierce rivals Manchester City and Liverpool also posted moving messages on Twitter as club loyalties were cast aside.

City simply said “#ACityUnited” while Liverpool’s account read: “Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the Munich air disaster. 60 years ago today, but never forgotten. #FlowersOfManchester.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association posted: “Today, on the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, we remember those that tragically lost their lives.

“They will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with those affected by the disaster. #FlowersofManchester.”

Bayern Munich also paid their respect in a lengthy post, which began: “Exactly 60 years have passed since the Munich air disaster – the biggest tragedy in Manchester United’s long history, but the memory of those lost lives on.”