It’s time to end the ‘Munich’ chants, they should never have had an airing in the first place but having finally witnessed the events of February 6th 1958 (albeit through a television drama) anyone with a heart could not sing about that tragic day.
The poignant BBC feature-length drama ‘United’ highlighted the catastrophe that was the Munich Air Disaster in 1958 where 23 people – including players, staff and reporters – tragically lost their lives. It told the story of how Jimmy Murphy (played by the excellent David Tennant) took the reins of Manchester United whilst Sir Matt Busby was recovering from the injuries he suffered in the disaster. It showed how a 20 year old Bobby Charlton (superbly played by Skins star Jack O’Connell) dealt with the loss of eight of his team-mates and how the remarkable Harry Gregg remained behind to pull survivors from the wreckage. ‘United’ might have caused controversy with the families of Busby, Murphy and those that lost their lives, Bobby Charlton may have refused to watch it, but for the millions that tuned into BBC 2 it was emotional viewing.
It also emphasised that the sickening chants, songs and insults directed towards Manchester United from rival fans need to stop. It’s not acceptable for fans to use the deaths of 23 innocent people from a tragic accident as an insult. It’s only a minority, shown by the fact that the majority of City fans got it spot on when they served the two minutes silence impeccably before the Manchester derby on the 50th anniversary of the disaster. Unfortunately this minority seem to find a way to expose themselves. It’s time to stop. Football is only a game. Perhaps those City fans that do sing those songs about Munich should remember that Busby himself was a former City player and that City’s legendary goalkeeper Frank Swift – serving as a reporter for the News of the World at the time – died in the tragedy.
It’s indicative of our society nowadays that the ‘Munich’ songs and insults should be treated like racism is treated. It’s a shame that it’s deemed necessary to punish the disrespectful individuals in this way because, after all, it’s disgraceful that the tragic deaths of innocent people should be celebrated by “fans” that are bitter about the success that Manchester United have had over the years.