Manchester United’s quest to win the European Cup was forged amidst the charred remains of an Elizabethan airliner that crashed on take-off at Munich’s Riem Airport on 6 Febuary 1958. Twenty-Three people died in the tragedy, including eight of the famous Busby Babes. From that moment manager Mat Busby’s goal of winning the European Cup became an obsession that permeated the whole club. The prize of becoming the first English team to win the European Cup was United’s Holy Grail.
Ten years after the Munich disaster Busby achieved his dream when United – inspired by Booby Charlton and George Best – beat Benfica 4-1 in extra time to lift the European Cup at Wembley.
Some felt the ghosts of Munich were there to witness the club’s joy on that summer’s evening in London. It seems to be United’s destiny finally to honour those who had lost their lives in pursuit of the gleaming silver trophy.