Today is the 56th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.
For Manchester United Football Club, it is the darkest of all the days. A day where the sky remains black, and the questions of what the Busby Babes could have done remain unanswered.
On that day, 23 people died, including three members of the club and eight of the players. Amongst them was Duncan Edwards.
Edwards has long been revered by his former team-mates, friends and family as the prince of Manchester who, before his death aged just 21, was on course to be king of the country and king of the world.
Bobby Moore was a fantastic defender and England captain, but Edwards would have been the one to lift the 1966 World Cup instead.
His former manager, Sir Matt Busby, described him as ‘the most complete footballer in Britain – and possible the world.’
Indeed, the general consensus seems to be that his name would have been engraved alongside the greats of the game such as Pele, Diego Maradona, George Best and Eusebio.
Sir Bobby Charlton, Manchester United’s all-time top scorer, said in 2011 ‘I played with Moore, Best and Law and against Pele…but Duncan Edwards was the greatest.’
His death remains an argument that the debate for the best ever footballer can never be answered.
The Manchester United club website describes him as ‘armed with boundless stamina, an all-encompassing range of passing and a ferocious shot, he was a player who could control any game he played in.’
His physical appearance during his younger days was dubbed ‘hulking,’ which ultimately led to him being given the name ‘manboy’ due to his imperious, intimidating figure.
So versatile was he that despite being a natural left-back, he could perform for the club anywhere on the pitch. He scored 21 goals in 177 games for United.
David Beckham may have accelerated the footballing status towards that of celebrity, but Edwards was the first. He sponsored energy drinks and wrote a book named ‘Tackle Soccer This Way’ just months before his death as his own way of preparing, financially, for a life after the game.
It was to be a life never fulfilled. Unjust that a player with such potential could never truly show the world what he would have been.
But those at United know.
They know the boy from Dudley would have been King of the world.
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