February 6th 55 years ago THE DAY A TEAM DIED. Returning from a European Cup match v Red Star Belgrade the chartered BEA DC planeflight 609 refuelled at Munich's old Riem Airport. Trying to make it back in time for a league match on the Saturday.
On a slushy and snowy runway they made three unsuccesful attempts to take off and crashed. 23 would perish that day on the tarmac or later in hospital. The Busby Babes became folklaw. I was on my way home from school and changed buses when I saw the newspaper bill board. United in Air Crash. Fate unknown.
I rushed home and turned on the radio and at 6.00pm our 9" black and white TV and the BBC News (there was only one channel in those days). In the next days and weeks we saw the sad figures of Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton bandaged in hospital at the Rechts der Isar hospital, and learned that the boys wonder Duncan Edwards fought a good fight but died.
To this day the clock above the stadium as you approach along Sir Matt Busby Way is frozen in time. 3.15pm . It sits above what used to be the very first Manchester United shop, owned and operated by Matt Busby and his family. Five years ago there was sunshine and tears as I attended the 50th anniversary memorial service.
Fourteen years later I flew into Munich Riem Airport for the ill fated Munich Olympics when terrorism struck the Israeli delegation in the Olympic Village.
The rest of yesterday was spent watching lots of matches from around the world. First we had the 4-1 'blow-out' Nigeria v Mali from Durban, followed by the suprise result up in the low veldt at Nelspruit as Les Etalons(the Stallions) from Ouagadougou beat Ghana on penalty kicks.
Then to Europe. Brazil is always an attraction at Wembley Stadium and what a marvelous match as The Three Lions ran out 2-1 winners with goals from Rooney and Lampard, and Ronaldinho had a pk saved by Joe Hart. Jack Wilshire was the man of the match and the future for England.
Switching over occasionally to Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen where new headd coach Gordon Strachan had a 1-0 victory over Estonia to be proud of, and to the Liberty Stadium, Swansea where Garath Bale scored one and assisted another in a 2-1 victory over Austria.
The CONCACAF HEXAGONL kicked off in San Pedro Sula in Honduras. The murder capital of Central America. I was only there once, for an international match in November 1978 and it is a frightening place for opponents. In the heat of the day USA took the lead through Clint Dempsey but lost 2-1 to Los Catrachos and are bottom of the six team table after one match. Fortunately Mexico could only tie 0-0 with minnows Jamaica in the cauldron of Estadio Azteca and in Panama City the home team lost a 2-0 lead to allow The Ticos of Costa Rica to tie 2-2.
A lot to play for as they all battle for three places at Brazil 2014.