They were our heroes, they never grew old;
That’s why their story, will forever be told;
Young boys and young men, who just lived for the game;
Their banner was football, and Manchester United’s proud name.
They grew up together, were Matt’s only dream;
Forged by their youth, they were England’s best team;
Working class lads, from towns far and near;
Who created the legend, that is now held so dear.
They were Matt’s creation, far ahead of their time;
Young boys that were gifted, played football sublime;
All friends together, full of joy, laughter, and fun;
But when Saturday came, how they got their job done.
They won Youth Cups galore, Reserve trophies too;
Rewards in the years, before they broke through;
One by one they appeared, and cemented a place;
Realising Matt’s dreams, in the Championship Race.
They had no fears, for they knew they were best;
They never worried, from where came the test;
Be it Arsenal in London, even Red Star Belgrade;
These kids were the Champions, and Manchester made.
Roger Byrne was the Captain, a man of great pride;
A leader unquestioned, in charge of Matt’s side.
Ray Wood was a ‘keeper, assured and agile;
This quiet young Geordie, kept goal with great style.
Bill Foulkes from St. Helens, who had worked down the pit;
At full back, he was tough, uncompromising, so full of grit.
Eddie Colman from Salford, was nicknamed ‘snake-hips’
His body-swerve always, brought gasps from our lips!
Mark Jones from Barnsley, born of true Yorkshire stock;
A centre half, steadfast, solid, just like a rock!
Duncan Edwards from Dudley, was the greatest of all;
This giant of a boy, lived to play the game of football.
Johnny Berry from Farnborough, a winger so small;
Left full-backs perplexed with his skills on the ball.
Liam Whelan from Dublin, was the old inside right;
The man that was needed, when things got so tight
Tommy Taylor from Barnsley, smiled when he scored;
Old Trafford or Wembley, how those crowds roared;
Denis Violett from Manchester, who scored so many goals;
A schemer so versatile, played in so many roles.
David Pegg was from Doncaster, but oh! Could he play
Just like his young mates, in United’s great way.
Bob Charlton from Ashington, had a cannonball shot;
The scribes and the fans said, ‘this kid’s got the lot!?
Jackie Blanchflower from Belfast, was the manager’s dream;
He could play anywhere, in that famous young team.
Albert Scanlon from Manchester, a young winger with grace;
With great skills on the ball, and a whole lot of pace.
Kenny Morgans the Welshman, another winger of note;
A great future ahead, so all the scribes wrote.
Geoff Bent was a full back, in Salford was bred;
A Reserve ever ready, for his team that wore Red.
Harry Gregg was a ‘keeper, last to join the young Babes;
From Ireland he came, and had earned the fans raves.
The team was complete, the hard work had been done;
The challenge before them, three trophies to be won.
These were the players, so young, so renowned;
Their football brought crowds, into cities and towns.
The way the ‘Babes’ played, was full of pride, skill, and passion;
And oh! how fans loved, this new football fashion.
Into Europe they traveled, with a fine reputation;
Encouraged by all, they were pride of our Nation.
Carrying all of our hopes, and with them our dreams;
With never a fear, against Europe’s great teams.
First came Anderlecht, Dortmund, then Bilbao from Spain;
These teams were dispatched, in the sunshine and rain.
Wherever the ‘Babes’ played, they drew great admiration;
From the fans of the clubs, within each foreign nation.
Real Madrid were the Champions, a team full of class;
Providing the next test, that the ‘Babes’ had to pass.
They narrowly failed, in two hard fought games;
But Europe now knew, our young team, and their names.
In ’57, League Champions again, F.A. Cup Finalists as well;
That season had ended, but we all could tell;
How they longed for the next season , so that they could appear;
In this great European competition, in another new year.
First came Shamrock from Ireland, they were no match for this team;
And next the ‘Babes’ ended, Czech Dukla’s European dream.
From Belgrade came Red Star, and on a damp foggy night;
Our team of young ‘Babes’ showed how they could fight.
At Old Trafford, 2-1 was the score, and the job was half done;
This Quarter Final tie, still had to be won.
To win that Gold Cup, was Matt’s Holy Grail;
And the ‘Babes’ were so confident, this year wouldn?t fail.
They left for Belgrade, full of happiness and smiles;
As the plane flew across Europe, and thousands of miles.
With the press lads on board, they were all so United;
On the day of the match, so calm, but excited.
In no time at all, three goals had been scored;
Silencing the crowd, and their Slavic roars.
All to United, they were three of the best;
And once more the ‘Babes’ had stood up to the test.
Red Star came on strong, and made it a game;
With the help of the Ref, they were back in the frame.
Some amazing decisions, the ‘Babes’ stayed cool;
A draw, 3-3 at the end, of this great footballing duel.
The Slavs were first, to offer their congratulations;
More friends had been made, in one of Europe’s footballing nations.
The ‘Babes’ had earned, their plaudits and cheers;
That night they celebrated, with a few well earned beers.
The following morning, they were homeward bound;
Their laughter, and banter, such a happy sound.
Belgrade to Munich, was the first part of their trip;
But as Germany approached, the temperature dipped.
At Munich they stopped, and the weather was bad;
Snow fell from the skies, but no one seemed sad.
Still full of banter, jokes, wisecracks, retorts;
This stop allowed Pressmen, to file some reports.
The call came to board, and out they did go;
From the warmth of the Terminal, and into the snow.
Through the doors of the aircraft, and into their places;
Players, officials, passengers, all happy faces.
The engines were started, by the good Captain Thain
Out to the runway, went the plane once again.
The Tower gave clearance, and the wheels started turning;
Through ice, snow, and slush, the aircraft was churning.
Way down the runway, the brakes were applied;
Screeching, and scraping, apprehension inside.
The plane taxied round, and there was lots of emotion;
Inside of that aircraft, but never commotion.
Once more the good Captain, taxied round to the runway;
The snow was still falling, and the skies were still gray.
Golf-Alpha Zulu, called for clearance once more;
It moved, gathered speed, as its engines did roar.
Once more the take-off, had to be aborted;
Thick slush on the runway, the Captain reported.
So back to the Terminal , and our heroes deplaned;
The reason for delay, to them never explained.
The banter had stopped, there was now apprehension;
The Terminal filled, it was now full of tension.
Not many spoke, there was expression of fears;
Nervousness, anxiety, betraying their young years.
All too quickly, they were called once again;
Slowly they filed out, to board that old plane.
They went into their seats, with seat belts strapped on;
One man was missing, Alf Clarke from the Chron.
Across the tarmac, Alf jogged on his feet;
Into the aircraft, he took the last seat.
The doors were closed, they were Manchester bound;
Inside that plane, no one uttered a sound.
The aircraft moved off, through the slush, and the snow;
To the runway, lined up, given clearance to go.
Brakes released, gathering speed, started trying;
To leave Munich ground, and once more start flying.
Inside they were frightened, yet nobody spoke;
Except Liam Whelan, a religious type bloke.
‘If this is death, then I’m ready to die?’
Were the last words that Liam, was ever to cry.
Down the runway it sped, trying to pick up the pace;
That would give it the lift, for their journey to face.
Onward, and onward, there could be no return;
It crashed through a fence, hit a house, started to burn.
Seven heroes died, in a few seconds of time;
We were never to see them, play in their prime.
Big Dunc battled on, he fought the great fight;
15 days later, it was lost, he passed away in the night.
Walter the Secretary, Bert and Tom, the loved Coaches;
All three lost their lives, on the Munich approaches.
Loved by their ‘Babes’ and by all the fans too;
Great servants of United, and Red, through, and through.
Eight journalists also, joined our heroes at rest;
Including Big Swifty, who was one of the best.
Tom, and Alf, from the locals, Eric, George, Archie, and Don;
Dear Henry as well, they, just like the ‘Babes’ in seconds were gone.
They had all set out, on a cold Monday morning;
They never returned, and it left us all mourning.
The dark days that followed, were gloomy and black;
Our heroes were lost, they were not coming back.
For those of us who saw them, it’s ne’er been the same;
Wonderful memories live on, but then so does the pain.
They were ordinary young men, and we had shared in their dream;
To us, they were our heroes, and were our favourite team.
The ‘Babes’ were true Champions, for just two short years;
They played in Matt’s way, total football, no fears.
The Nation loved them, because they had brought them such joys;
Entertaining, graceful, gifted, skillful, but most of them boys.
60 years have now passed, since that sad fateful day;
When those heroes were lost, in such a harsh, cruel, way.
Their memories enshrined, will forever be cherished;
We never forget why it was, that these young heroes perished.
They were our heroes, they never grew old
That’s why their story will forever be told
Young boys and young men who just lived for the game
Their banner was football, and Manchester United’s great name!