Wednesday, 6 February 2008

The Flowers of Manchester

6th February, 1958

Like the assassination of Kennedy and (for the current generation) the death of Diana, I shall always remember what I was doing when the news came through.

I had come out into the front garden of Uncle Albert and Aunt Betty's house at 4 Sandiways Road, Wallasey. Diagonally opposite to the left was the newsagents, "Stear's" on the fascia, but really run by a Mr Wilkinson. He was helped by his son, Tony, who was kindly described by my mother as "a bit simple", and an old scouser.

It was the latter who rushed out of the shop and called to anyone in the street, "there's been a crash in Munich. They're bringing out a special edition of the Echo.".

My recollection of the period following was of shared sadness, even among diehard Liverpool and Everton supporters. There was less resentment of United's star status than today, even though there was just as much hype surrounding Busby's side as Ferguson's.

The song
Eric Winter penned "The Flowers of Manchester", dedicated to those who perished at Munich Airport. The song was published anonymously in "Sing" magazine - which Winter co-founded - shortly after the tragedy, and was quickly taken up by performers on the folk club circuit, including The Spinners. Winter died in 2000.

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