In The News

Former Manchester United footballer passes away

Former Manchester United footballer passes away

FORMER Manchester United player Bill Foulkes, who survived the Munich air crash in 1958, has passed away. He was 81.

Mr. Foulkes made his debut for United in 1952 in a match against Liverpool. He had joined a side managed by Matt Busby which included a number of other talented young players who became known as the Busby Babes.

On February 6, 1958, he was travelling back with the team following a Europan Cup match in Belgrade against Red Star Belgrade. Following a refueling stop in Munich their plane crashed while trying to take off in a blizzard.

Twenty-three people died in the crash including eight members of the Busby Babes. Mr. Foulkes survived the crash and was praised for helping in the rescue efforts.

Following the disaster, Mr. Foulkes played a key role in the rebuilding of the United team. He took over the captaincy of the side which went on to become one of the club’s most successful. They went on to win the European Cup in 1968 (see below).

Mr. Foulkes was to eventually make 688 appearances for the side — a record only beaten by Sir Bobby Charlton, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. During his time with the club he won the league four times, as well as picking up the F.A. Cup and the European Cup.

He won one cap for England — playing in a game against Northern Ireland in 1954.

Tributes to the former footballer have been led by Manchester United. The club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward who described Mr. Foulkes as having been “a giant character’ in the club’s post-war history.

He continued: “Bill was a very gentle man who I was privileged to meet on several occasions, including most memorably with his team-mates at the Champions League final in Moscow, 50 years after his heroics in the Munich air crash.

“Bill’s contribution over almost 700 games and nearly 20 years will never be forgotten. The thoughts of everyone at the club — directors, players staff and fans — are with Bill’s family.”

To view archive footage of the 1968 European Cup semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester United, click here.

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