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Man United U19s to commemorate Munich air disaster in Belgrade

Manchester United have a clock at Old Trafford commemorating the 1958 Munich air disaster
Manchester United have a clock at Old Trafford commemorating the 1958 Munich air disaster.

Manchester United will mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich disaster on Tuesday when Nicky Butt leads the under-19 team in a wreath-laying service at Partizan Stadium in Belgrade -- the venue of the last match played by the "Busby Babes" prior to the tragedy which cost the lives of 23 people in 1958.

Eight United players were among those killed at Munich as Matt Busby's team returned from a European Cup quarterfinal second leg against Red Star Belgrade on Feb. 6, 1958.

United will mark the anniversary of the disaster with a minute's silence before Saturday's Premier League encounter with Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford.

A short ceremony will then be held at the stadium on Tuesday, which will be attended by Munich survivors Harry Gregg and Sir Bobby Charlton, plus manager Jose Mourinho, club captain Michael Carrick and former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

But with United's academy team having been drawn to face Serbian club FK Brodarac in the UEFA Under-19s Champions League knockout stage, the Old Trafford youngsters will take part in a remembrance ceremony on Tuesday before facing Brodarac 24 hours later.

During the team's visit, Butt and his squad will meet British Embassy staff and Red Star Belgrade officials including Vladico Popovic, who played in the game against United in 1958.

The travelling party, which will include long-serving members of staff at United, will host the reception in the same hotel where the United team stayed in February 1958.

And on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 3:04 p.m., the exact time of the crash 60 years ago, the team will visit the Partizan Stadium for a minute's silence, laying a wreath in honour of those killed at Munich.

Meanwhile, Mourinho said he hopes United will produce a performance befitting the Busby Babes when they play Huddersfield.

Mourinho, who wore a Munich pin badge in the news conference previewing that game, said: "I was telling before MUTV that this is something that is part of my life, or part of my football culture, before I become Manchester United manager.

"And why? Because it was such a tragedy that stayed in these last 60 years.

"So as Manchester United manager obviously it means much more but I think it belongs to every sportsman as one of the biggest tragedies.

"At the same time, it is a crucial point also in Manchester United's history -- the reaction, the strength, the union after that situation.

"And I think tomorrow is an amazing day to show the respect, to show the passion for the club, the respect for them, the respect for their families and I think it is a day to play well."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_


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