Managers remember Manchester United Munich air disaster

There's a plaque to commemorate the disaster at Old Trafford. Photo: PA

Today (Wednesday 6 February) marks the 55th anniversary of the accident which claimed 23 lives when a plane carrying Manchester United back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade crashed on take-off following a refuelling stop in Munich.

Amongst those killed were eight players, including Duncan Edwards, Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor, who would have been key figures in England's 1958 World Cup campaign, and part of the first Three Lions team to beat Brazil, the opponents at Wembley this evening.

For an 11-year-old Hodgson, it left an indelible memory on his childhood.

"I remember that night extremely well," said Hodgson.

"I remember sitting at home as an 11-year-old and hearing the news and being absolutely devastated.

"So many great players, and a footballing generation in Manchester lost their lives.

"It is a sobering thought but it is important to remember those things."

Current United manager Sir Alex Ferguson certainly does.

Although he has been surrounded by the Red Devils' history since he came south from Aberdeen in 1986, he is enough of a footballing historian to be acutely aware of the impact Matt Busby's 'Babes' were having at the time of the disaster.

"I've been affected by it since I was a young boy," Ferguson told the BBC.

"For many people it is long forgotten but for someone like me, who remembers the day, you won't forget it.

"It was a fantastic group of young men who were destined to be great and that was the tragedy in how it was taken away from them."