The day when time stood still.
A day when the ground beneath our feet was cruelly taken away from us. A day when the entire fabric of the club that was Manchester United was ruthlessly snatched away from us by the powers we have no control over.
Feb 6, 1958.
The day Manchester United stood still. The significance. The emotional significance. The solemnity of this day is rooted in the very essence of this club. A day when one of our most beloved, our most talented, and a team that was destined for greatness was taken away from us.
A plane took off 64 years ago. That plane was destined for greatness. That plane had in it, the "Busby Babes". Our own boys. One of the most talented United squads assembled in years at that time, all from our academy. They were precocious, gifted, tenacious, and had the never-say-die spirit that epitomized this generation of players. It was the same spirit that burned so brightly in the legendary manager Matt Busby as well.
He had a vision: to make Manchester United the gold standard of English football. And this group of lads was on the verge of fulfilling his vision. They played with flair. They played with a sense of class that belied their tender years, but more importantly, they played like winners. And no one imbibed the winner's mentality as much as Duncan Edwards did.
The original Busby Babe was the heart and soul of the team. One of the most naturally gifted players and the pillar of the team. The Busby Babes enthralled everyone wherever they went. They made everyone take notice. They made everyone get up out of their seats. They made us dream. Nothing encapsulated the spirit of these babes more than their final match on English soil, where they mesmerized everyone on their way to a 5-4 victory over Arsenal at Highbury.
Everything seemed like a dream. The Babes were in the semi-final of the European cup, two games away from the promised land. It was all in our hands. Until it wasn't. As that plane took off, with the hopes and dreams of a generation, fate had other plans for them.
The plane crashed, and with it the hopes, dreams, and the aspirations of watching these gifted babes. A golden generation was cruelly snatched away from us. Maybe the gods loved football more than us mortals, which is why they took them away from us. An entire city grieved. A cloud of darkness surrounded the "Theatre of Dreams".
The dream of glory, replaced by the stinging feeling of loss and despair. Seven players sadly passed away. Everything was taken away. Surely there was no coming back after a setback that shook the very foundations of our club.
But the comebacks are always better than the setbacks. This is Manchester United. We are known for coming back, no matter how big the odds.
Sir Matt Busby cheated death and came back, and we began our journey from scratch. Like a phoenix, we arose from the ashes of despair. No one gave us a chance to rebuild a team, let alone compete further.
But, we emerged from the rubble a new team. Brick by Brick, layer by layer we rose. We had a new generation of the babes, and they took off from where the first generation left. We fought. We struggled. But in the end, we won. Against all odds, we fulfilled the destiny of the babes that left us.
A lot has changed ever since. But the "Flowers of Manchester" remain unforgettable. They are truly the pioneers of a generation of success, the original beacon of hope, that no matter the setbacks, we will still rise above all.
The "Flowers of Manchester" are one of us. Indelible. Incredible. Immortal. You will never be forgotten.
Roger Byrne. Eddie Coleman. Mark Jones. David Pegg. Tommy Taylor. Geoff Bent. Liam Whelan. Duncan Edwards. Rest in Power. Rest Easy. Forever in our hearts. Forever in our hearts.
By Delwyn Serrao for the MUSC RDNCR
IG - delwyn_reddevil
90min India has partnered with MUSC Red Devils NCR fan group to bring Manchester United content to you from the keen eye of fans of the club.
We will be partnering with many other fan groups of other clubs across India in the near future to contribute to our vision of being a one-of-a-kind fan-led website in India. Do join us in this movement or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are part of a fan group and want to express your opinions on your favourite team!