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Liverpool, Man City and Bohs pay tributes on 57th anniversary of Munich Air Disaster

Ireland’s Liam Whelan was one of eight Man United players to lose their life in the accident.

screenshot.1423213389.6456 Source: Manchester United/Twitter

Updated at 3.30pm

TODAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2015, marks the 57th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster which claimed the lives of eight Manchester United players as they returned from an European Cup tie in Belgrade.

Supporters gathered under the Munich clock and memorial outside Old Trafford to pay tribute to the team nicknamed “The Busby Babes” at 3.04pm, the exact time the charter plane crashed on its third attempt to take off in 1958.

Louis van Gaal was present to lay a wreath. Twenty of the 44 people on board died, ripping the heart out of the United team.

In Munich, Sir Bobby Charlton attended a ceremony to open a special tribute exhibition at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.

Among those who tragically lost their life was Ireland’s Liam Whelan. The Dubliner was just 22-years-old.

Whelan was one of the outstanding talents who rolled off the Old Trafford production line in the 1950’s under the guidance of Sir Matt Busby. He was scouted by Billy Behan whilst playing for Home Farm and made an instant impression by winning an FA Youth Cup medal with the Reds in the first of his six years with the club.

It wasn’t long before Whelan broke into the first team, playing alongside, among others, Duncan Edwards and Sir Bobby Charlton. An inside-forward, he scored more than one goal every two games as United won back-to-back League titles in 1956 and 1957.

Soccer - Football League Division One - Arsenal v Manchester United Source: S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Tragically, Whelan, who was unavailable for the European tie against Red Star Belgrade, still travelled with the team before the crash cruelly cut short his life and promising career.

In 2008, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, An Post issued a postage stamp with a photo of Liam Whelan while a bridge near his home in Cabra has been named after him.

It was the darkest day in Manchester United’s illustrious history and a tragedy that shook the sporting world.

The current squad paid their respects to their fallen colleagues during last weekend’s game against Leicester with a minutes silence before kick-off.

Source: Jack Hinds/YouTube

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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