One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany, eight great football stalwarts conceded victory, eight men will never play again who met destruction there, the flowers of English football, The Flowers of Manchester
6 February 1958
On 6th February 1958 the airliner carrying players and backroom staff of Manchester United, plus a number of journalists and supporters, crashed in a blizzard on its third attempt to take off from Munich airport. United were returning from Belgrade where they had just beaten Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup and had stopped off at Munich for re-fuelling. Twenty-three of the forty-four passengers on board the aircraft lost their lives.
The Flowers of Manchester – Always in our Hearts
It has become a tradition for fans to visit Old Trafford on Feb 6th each year to pay their respects to those who perished in the crash. People come and go all day, trying to fit in with their other work and personal commitments. Some leave flowers and poems, some just stand silently, alone with their own thoughts.
The focal point of the day is The Memorial Plaque at 3:04pm where fans gather to honour the victims. In February 2000, United fan Gez Mason commemorated the anniversary of the crash by singing The Flowers of Manchester under the memorial. He has continued to do this every year. In 2006 (and every year since), Gez has been joined by United fan Pete Martin, one half of comedy/folk duo Hanky Park.
Another tradition that was started by Gez in 2000 (and continued by Pete) is to sing The Flowers of Manchester under the Memorial Plaque one hour before the match closest to the anniversary of the crash. This is not a solo performance – fans are encouraged to join in
Since 2008, The Flowers has been followed by Fifty Years – a song written by Pete. The song is simply his tribute to The Babes.