[PHOTOS] Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg explain the Munich air disaster
Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the survivors of the Munich air disaster in 1958, has relived his horror and guilt over the 1958 Munich air disaster.
Though 80-year-old, Charlton was able to recall how the tragedy occurred. Eight of his team mates and 15 other people died on the tragedy.
The Manchester United legend has said little publicly about the disaster nearly 50 years on. He was speaking in an interview with Parkinson program on ITV1 as reported by the Daily Mail Online.
"I thought, 'Why me? Why am I here with nothing happened to me other than a little gash on the head' and all these other friends had been killed?
"I felt it wasn't fair, why should it be me? It took a long time for me to feel better about it, certainly.
"It was such a momentous event, for so many young people to die just on the verge of the great success that was ahead of them, and I couldn't understand why," he said as reported by Daily Mail.
Sir Bobby believes that the design of the plane made him a survivor in that crash. The design of the aircraft at that particular time was that half of the seats were facing forward while another half facing backwards. Sir Bobby explained that the ones that had their back to the front of the aero plane were the ones that survived.
Harry Gregg, another survivor of the Munich air disaster and who is still alive to date, said that over the years he had some difficulty dealing with ‘Survivor’s guilt.’ He says he has even struggled to face the families of his team-mates who died.
Gregg has now moved on and is ready to meet the relatives of his team-mates in Manchester next week and share memories, both good and bad.
Gregg 85, was hailed a hero for returning to the burning wreckage to save a mother and her baby, and for coming to the aid of stricken United boss Sir Matt Busby in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg were both present at the commemoration event to honor the Munich air disaster victims 60 years on.
Other attendants apart from approximately 4,500 United fans, were former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, current manager Jose Mourinho, United captain Michael Carrick as well as members of the club’s Under-23 squad, evoking memories of the Busby Babes.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was also present, as was former United striker Denis Law, as football paid a fitting tribute to those young talents taken too soon.
Club chaplain Rev John Boyers led the service and revealed the sense of grief felt, not just in Manchester but all around the world, following the tragedy that ultimately came to define United.
“There are many thousands throughout this city, around our nation and in countries across the world linked to Old Trafford, who join in solemn remembrance of the tragedy on a slush-covered runway,” said Rev Boyers on The Mirror.
“When Munich happened a wave of grief and anguish swept though the nation and in Manchester united all, United and City supporters alike.
“It mattered not if you were Red or Blue, they stood together, wept together and mourned together.” He added.
He concluded with a fitting message about the enduring legacy of the Busby Babes, which can be found in the fact a homegrown player has been involved in every United matchday squad since October 1937.
“Those flowers of Manchester produced seeds which later were to bloom,” said Rev Boyers. “One of the great legacies of Sir Matt’s management at this club is the emphasis on youth, on homegrown talent.
“The Busby Babes pioneered an ethos that is still important to this club. Today, the past and the future are linked.”
The crowd sang the Flowers of Manchester, a song written in tribute to those who died in the crash, with the lines: “Oh, England’s finest football team its record truly great, its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate. Eight men will never play again, who met destruction there, the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester.”
For Manchester United family, players and the board, the Busby Babes will forever remain in their hearts as a motivation to fight for the shirt.