The 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster falls this Wednesday, with the tragedy being remembered on Sunday when United take on City at Old Trafford. There has been much talk concerning whether the blues will be able to respect the occasion. As has been noted by several fans, Munich was a Manchester disaster, with it taking place before the fierce rivalry and hatred was felt between the two clubs. Now, with City fans singing insulting songs about Munich every time the teams meet, there has been much concern over whether their fans will spoil the day.
David Gill, however, believes that the City fans will be able to show respect, thanks to the work United have done behind the scenes to educate City on the occasion. “In football there is always trepidation and it’s a very tribal game,” said Gill. “That’s why we’ve worked on the communication and the explanations so we can honour it appropriately and respect it. If you look back and see that 23 people lost their lives, of which eight were footballers in their early 20s by and large. It’s a true tragedy for football so if you’re a football fan, as the fans coming through the gate will be, you should reflect on that and make sure that you behave appropriately. We’ve been working closely with City and discussed it with them. Frank Swift was one of their greatest goalkeepers and we’ve talked to them about the plans for the day. There are 3,000 City fans going through the gate on the day and we’re involving some of their former players on the day. We’re working to ensure they remember that it wasn’t just Manchester United, it was the city of Manchester that was affected and it was the world of football that was affected. We hope and believe that the minute’s silence will be observed appropriately.”