The Day Manchester Stood Still
Up Hatherley Parish Council
February 6th 1958 will forever be ingrained in the memory of those who lived in Manchester. On my way home from school, I risked visiting the sweet shop from which pupils were officially banned as I can testify after being walloped for being caught the year before. The shop manager told us news was coming through that the plane carrying Manchester United had crashed in Munich and that some players may have been killed.
As I left the shop I bumped into a classmate who was a big United fan and told him the news (he later became the school 1st XI centre forward and I the goalkeeper!). He didn’t believe me and went straight into the shop to hear it for himself. As an adult he later replaced Matt Busby on the Manchester United board of directors and was responsible for recruiting Alex Ferguson as manager from Scotland by the simple subterfuge of putting on a fake Scottish accent and telephoning the Aberdeen switchboard.
Back to 1958 …… news was slow coming through in those days with few telephones and even fewer calls abroad, and it was not till late that evening that the full extent of the disaster emerged. The following morning before school assembly – and I am telling the honest truth – there was complete and utter silence. Nobody moved, nobody spoke and you could have heard a pin drop. True but why?
Unlike today, 60 years ago there was genuine sympathy for people who had suffered a grievous loss. The war was not long gone and everyone helped each other out whenever they could. There was a sense of togetherness which we have since lost for a whole variety of reasons but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to recover some of it in our neighbourhood today? Why not?
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Up Hatherley Village Hall, Cold Pool Lane, Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6JA