My ‘Munich’ Annual Pilgrimage
By Worried Turkey.
I would just like to thank everybody who has taken their time to read my rants and for those who have left messages, I thank you for your kind words.
On Monday I sat reflecting on a day of transfer activity and realised the football world has gone absolutely mental…
As you are aware the 6th of February is a date that has shaped the history of Manchester United. A big hole was left to those of the era, but a void that has since been filled for all to see and enjoy. Today I will travel to Old Trafford to pay my respects as I have done for the previous fifty years. I will walk from Warwick Road station, down Warwick road (not Sir Matt Busby Way) and stop to soak up the atmosphere as of match days of times gone by. Where flat caps and heavy overcoats (with thick belts) will be plentiful and where men will walk and talk with woodbine, senior service or pasha cigarettes stuck to their bottom lip rather than expose their hands firmly on a cold winters day in 1958. I will be transported in thought to the times when I first started to attend football matches and was lucky, no very lucky to have witnessed the ‘Babes’. Again, for just one day I will vividly remember ‘Big Dunc’ waiting on the corner near ‘The Trafford’ for Peggy’s bus to arrive. The pair would then stroll down to the ground followed by a scurrying mass of youngsters looking on in awe at their hero’s.
At the crossroads I will stop, look around and envisage the men stood outside The Trafford with pint pots in one hand and cigarette in the other swapping yarns about either work or the team for that day. I will also remember young lads trying to sell their wares, other young lads trying to sell pies (didn’t require much persuading) that recently had been baked at near shop. The pie sellers had three wheeler bikes parked close by allowing them to dash back and forth when required.
As my journey continues I will look up and see the floodlight pylons piercing the skyline. The floodlights were extremely bright; they emitted more light than any lighthouse. As we approach the forecourt I won’t see the shop, but a brick scoreboard end with turnstiles and the ticket office just to the side. I’ll then start my walk to the Stretford End past the players’ entrance and seeing in my mind the likes of Peggy, Dunc, Liam (the trio would have attended church beforehand without fail) and occasionally Roger Byrne was there or even Sir Matt (with a cigarette in hand) making sure they were all in the changing room on time… Passing the paddock I will arrive at the Stretford End, where my best times were, swaying with the masses, chanting till hoarse and crushed against barriers, but still with a smile on my face. Memories will come flooding back of a time where I waited with great expectation to see my hero’s running out onto that hallowed turf with their red short sleeved shirts and a white ‘v’ neck. I wouldn’t like to hesitate at a guess how many times I ran out as Duncan Edwards… Once I’ve done the full tour of the ground and see the shop in full splendour I will make my way to the clock and at that point I will pay my respect for a team that will never die.
I know some of you reading this (if you have got this far) will think I go over the top, but believe me, I don’t. That team are worth more than an hour of my time, they were a team money couldn’t buy. Thus when I reflect on the transfer fees for two players that would struggle to earn a place in Man United’s reserve team (including the likes of Charlton, Dawson and Webster, I just do not understand! For me it made the ‘Babes’ priceless!! For all the enjoyment they gave me in their short and illustrious life… “What is an hour to stand, reflect and remember…?” I will stand for a minutes silence and with that I will turn and make my way onto Sir Matt Busby Way (because now I will be back in the present), but for that hour my memories (which cannot be taken away) will flood back and I will be a child, a believer, another Duncan Edwards… and as I slowly come back down to earth my parting thoughts will be the same as they have for over fifty years…… “IF ONLY”.
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