A future filled with promise: The Busby Babes of 1958

Sir Matt Busby's seemingly invincible Manchester United side line up before the European Cup quarter final against the Yugoslav capital's Red Star club that would see them into the sem-finals, with a 3-3 draw.

It was the biggest night of their lives – but within 24 hours five of the Busby Babes would be dead and others so badly injured and traumatised that they would never play football in the same way again.

This image, taken in Belgrade on 5 February 1958, now hangs on the wall of the Manchester United dressing room at the team's Carrington training ground, and for millions of fans still symbolises the sense of loss that surrounded the events of 40 years ago.

1 Duncan Edwards

Died at Munich, aged 21. Towered above all other members of the Busby Babes, and clung on to life for 13 days after the crash.



2 Eddie Colman

Died at Munich, aged 21. Was still working as an army signaller at Catterick Barracks in Yorkshire when he made his debut soon after his 19th birthday. What he lacked in stature, at 5ft 7ins, the wing-half made up for in skill. They called him "snakehips" after his inimitable body swerve – and his understanding with Edwards bordered on the telepathic.



3 Mark Jones

Died at Munich, aged 24. Widely acknowledged as one of the best headers of a ball in the history of English football after giving up his bricklaying career to join Busby's United. Until the crash, the centre half's long-awaited England call-up was rumoured to be imminent.



4 Kenny Morgans

Survived, now aged 68. Still traumatised by the crash, he left hospital in Munich in late March, and within a few weeks was pressed to play again for the depleted Manchester United, though his legs still felt "like matchsticks" during his comeback against Wolves reserves. The youngest player involved in the crash, Morgans was never the same again: after two unhappy years at United, he left for his home town team, Swansea, moved to Newport in 1964 and retired in 1970 after three years as Cwmbran Town player/manager. "I didn't really care any more. I missed the boys," he recalled.



5 Bobby Charlton

Survived, now aged 70. Manchester United board director since 1984, Charlton was only two years into his first team career before the crash occurred. Later, he became seen as a symbol of the indomitable spirit which saw the club lift the European Cup inside 10 years. His two goals in that 1968 final were among 249 for United, for whom he has played more times than any other player. Sir Bobby, as he is now known, was knighted in 1994.



6 Dennis Viollet

Survived crash but lost fight with cancer, aged 65, in March 1999. One of the best-loved United players of all, despite almost signing for Manchester City, his 32 league goals in a season just two years after Munich remains a club record. Viollet was, surprisingly, transferred to Stoke City for £22,000 in 1962 and eventually emigrated to the US where he coached several sides before his death there.



7 Tommy Taylor

Died at Munich, aged 26. Signed from his home town club, Barnsley, by Busby for a world record £29,999 in March 1953 (Busby had not wanted him to be saddled with the pressure of being the first £30,000 footballer so, the story goes, he gave the other pound to a tea lady). Indomitable at centre forward, Taylor was seen as a natural replacement for Nat Lofthouse in England's side until the crash occurred.



8 Billy Foulkes

Survived crash, now aged 76. Few players epitomise the different world United occupied back then more vividly. When the crash occurred, Foulkes was a part-time player, working down the mine in St Helens most of the week, and training Tuesdays and Thursdays with United. For Foulkes, returning to action soon after the crash was a financial necessity – and so it was that, still a skeletal figure with pains in his head, he acceded to stand-in manager Jimmy Murphy's pleas to take over as captain from Roger Byrne, who died. Retired in 1969, Foulkes coached United's youth team until 1975 and had spells coaching in the US, Norway and Japan. Not in the best of health, he still shows groups of fans around Old Trafford.



9 Harry Gregg

Survived crash, now aged 75. They call him "the hero of Munich" because of the way he crawled, bleeding, from the wreckage and then returned – ignoring the pleas of rescue workers – to pull passengers clear. Gregg, considered by some to be United's finest goalkeeper, saved a woman and her baby as well as team-mates. Returned to the side, though never collected a medal before leaving for Stoke in 1967 and managing Shrewsbury, Swansea and Carlisle. Now runs a hotel in his native Northern Ireland. Awarded MBE in 1995.

10 Albert Scanlon

Survived crash, now aged 72. About to sign for Arsenal when the crash occurred, leaving him with a fractured skull. Returned to the side, but did not flourish, playing another two seasons and finding himself dropped three games into the next. He never played for United again, moving to Newcastle and after that, Lincoln and Mansfield. Still struggles to talk about the events of 1958.



11 Roger Byrne

Died at Munich, aged 28. Busby's captain won three championship medals, and had played 33 times for England before he lost his life, two days short of his 29th birthday. A natural leader of men, the full back had switched to rugby during his war years in the RAF, after he was not deemed good enough at football. His wife, Joy, gave birth to their only child eight months after his death.

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin