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The Flowers of Munich Continued - page 3

Mike Langley, Sunday Mirror Chief Sports columnist, remembers Munich

They were all our sons!

Championship Celebrations Midland Hotel 1956. Left to right: Duncan Edwards, Ian Greaver, Ray Wood, Dennis Viollet, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Eddie Coleman
Championship Celebrations Midland Hotel 1956.
Left to right: Duncan Edwards, Ian Greaver, Ray Wood,
Dennis Viollet, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Eddie Coleman

Scandal blemished the Busby Babes only once. Duncan Edwards was hauled before the beaks and fined a quid for pedalling his bike on a pavement.

No BMW's then. Or Spice Girls, either. Still less any equivalent of today's millionaire toadies to fawn on footballers earning only the League maximum of 120 a week when crashing on their third take-off at Munich in February 1958.

Such a different world and, as the 40th anniversary of the disaster is remembered, so little surviving evidence for the screen. Granada director Alan Brown, cutting and shaping his hour-long documentary on the Babes, says:

"TV coverage was almost non-existent." Action film of left-half Edwards, an England regular at 18, is sparse. Of right-half Eddie Colman even rarer. Cameras of the era were glued on the goalmouths, keeping only keepers and strikers in constant shot.

THE BABES

Team of the Century - 1st Division Champions 1955/6, 1956/7 Top: Colin Webster, Will McGuinness, Jackie Blanchflower, John Dohery, Eddie Colman Middle:Tom Curry (trainer), Bill Foulkes, Bobby Charlton, Fred Goodwin, Ray Wood, Liam Whelan, Mark Jones, Duncan Edwards, Bill Inglis (trainer) Bottom: Dennis Viollet, John Berry, Matt Busby, Roger Byrne, Jimmy Murphy, Tommy Taylor, David Pegg
Team of the Century - 1st Division Champions 1955/6, 1956/7
Top: Colin Webster, Will McGuinness, Jackie Blanchflower, John Dohery, Eddie Colman
Middle:Tom Curry (trainer), Bill Foulkes, Bobby Charlton, Fred Goodwin, Ray Wood,
Liam Whelan, Mark Jones, Duncan Edwards, Bill Inglis (trainer)
Bottom: Dennis Viollet, John Berry, Matt Busby, Roger Byrne,
Jimmy Murphy, Tommy Taylor, David Pegg

So Brown and producer Ricky Kelehar found another way' of answering their central questions: "Who were the Babes! What were they like! If Edwards was a Colossus, what made him one!"

Sir Bobby Charlton provided an unexpected answer: "We didn't think of ourselves as Busby's Babes, but as young people growing up together. A team of lads, a team of pals."

Modesty was their pride. David Pegg did the washing-up in his digs.

Colman never mentioned the club in outside company. He said only that he worked at Trafford Park, hinting vaguely at painting and decorating or plate-laying with his dad on the Ship Canal.

TRENDY

When he offered a match-ticket to a favourite girl, she accepted with surprise for he had never talked football. Her bewilderment was all the greater when, as she gazed round to see where the devil he might be, Eddie ran out of the tunnel behind skipper Roger Byrne.

Tommy Taylor, a hang-in-the-air header of goals, along with Big Dunc from Dudley with the handy-round-the-house Pegg, are three of the film's four main Babes.

The fourth is Colman, Old Trafford's Own through being born at 9 Archie Street in the terraced, outside-lav row that inspired Coronation Street.

Autographed menu card from after match banquet
Autographed menu card from after match banquet
Recently auctioned for 12,000 in 2006

Charlton calls him:"The trendy one. The first I'd seen in drainpipe trousers and winkle-picker shoes. He also had sideburns and was never without a comb to tidy his hair."
Taylor came from Barnsley for 29,999 and a back-hander of two Cup Final tickets. He kept close links with his hometown friends like Harry England, agreeing to be his best man in April, 1958.
Harry's on camera saying that, disaster or not, he still wanted Taylor at the church in spirit. So he walked down the aisle in Tommy's shoes.

Mrs Sarah Edwards, Duncan's 88-year-old widowed mother, tells of ticking off her prodigious son for practising football in the street. Not with a ball, but a brick!
She talks of her enormous joy at sitting behind the Queen at Wembley and seeing Duncan, on his England debut, wave from the pitch.

A phrase used by Mrs Edwards in this rare interview was a hot contender for the film's title "The Busby Babes: End of a Dream."
Yet it could have been "All our Sons" from her comment about the eight dead players: "They were all our sons...and they will always be young"

But the fatalities were not only footballers. Three United officials perished, along with eight journalists, plus a British European Airways pilot and a steward, a travel agent and a United fan. In all, 23.


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