The SNOW that fell over Old Trafford at four minutes past three yesterday afternoon was a fitting backdrop as they remembered the teammates they lost 60 years earlier.
It was at that moment in Munich, in 1958, that slush on the runway prevented the team’s plane home from reaching its take-off speed. It crashed, killing 23 people.
Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg, the only two survivors still alive, were in Manchester for the memorial, along with families of the players, staff, media and friends.
Eight journalists, the co-pilot, cabin steward, travel agent and a United supporter were also killed in a crash which only 21 survived.
More than 4,500 supporters were in the East Stand, as United’s former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, director Michael Edelson and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward gave readings.
They wore commemorative ties in which were embroidered the names of those who perished at Munich.
United’s current manager Jose Mourinho and captain Michael Carrick laid wreaths at the service which was also attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, UEFA vice-president Fernando Gomes, Manchester City ambassador Mike Summerbee and Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish.
The ceremony, led by club chaplain Rev John Boyers, saw Old Trafford fall silent at 3.04pm, before musician Pete Martin’s rendition of The Flowers of Manchester.
Gregg, the former goalkeeper who had spent time at United’s training ground earlier in the day, sung along with Abide With Me as the ceremony ended.
Events commemorating the anniversary were also held in Munich and Belgrade.
Around 2,000 fans gathered in Germany for a fan-organised ceremony attended by club ambassador Denis Irwin and senior United executives. Some surviving doctors and nurses involved in the treatment of manager Sir Matt Busby and his team were also in attendance.