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Tribute to Kenny Morgans

Kenny Morgans, a survivor from the Munich Air Disaster, sadly passed away this evening, aged 73. He was taken ill on Saturday night and later passed away in hospital.

Morgans signed for United upon leaving school when he was 16-years-old and played on the right wing for the youth team. After making his debut when he was 18 he replaced Johnny Berry as United’s first choice right winger.

“I’m not being big-headed but there were about five clubs down at the house before I signed for United,” he recalled. “One club was in the living room, another was in the back room and someone else in the kitchen, all at the same time. When I first went to United, I had a job at one of the joinery companies in Stretford and I stayed there until I turned professional at 17. Tommy Taylor lived three doors away from me and the three of us, Tommy, Duncan Edwards and me, used to go down for training together every morning. The boss always said that there wasn’t a player living worth £30,000 so he only paid £29,999 for Tommy. He used to say to me: ‘Dai, you hit those crosses as hard as you like but just remember this, make sure they’re nine-foot high’. So every time I beat my full back, I’d look up to see where Tommy was and put it where he wanted, on his head.”

Less than two months after making his début he travelled to Belgrade to represent United in the European Cup but thankfully survived the disaster with minor injuries. He was the youngest player involved in the crash and was found unconscious amongst the debris by two journalists five hours after the official search was called off. His skull had been crushed, not fractured, and he remained in hospital for six weeks.

“About 8.30 or 8.45pm, two German reporters went back to the burning plane and they found me,” he later recalled. “I was still there. I was the last to come out. I was caught underneath a wheel. They got me to hospital and I didn’t wake up until Sunday morning. I had a cut head and a lot of bruising. I had lost 10 pints of blood. I remember waking up and there was Bobby Charlton, Albert Scanlon, Ray Wood and myself. We had breakfast and everybody was quiet. I thought the other boys must have been in another room. Then the professor of the hospital sat with me on Sunday afternoon and told me the players who had died and the players who were very sick upstairs. There was the boss, Matt, and there was Duncan [Edwards] and there was Johnny Berry, the right-winger whose position I took. They weren’t in a good way. It was unbelievable.”

His wife Stephanie, who was his fiancée at the time of the crash, has since revealed it was a long wait for people at home to find out what had happened to Kenny.

“For five hours after the crash, I didn’t know whether he was dead or alive,” she recalled. “There was a list of the dead and a list of the survivors and Ken wasn’t on either of them.”

Whilst Morgans didn’t remember much about the crash, he did remember the fact his £13 suit was ruined in the rescue.

“I don’t remember a thing about it but I was told they had to cut my Italian suit to get me out, my lovely Italian suit,” he said. “I bought it new for the occasion. It was my first European Cup match and I had to get the same suit as the rest of the lads, all made to measure. I remember I had three fittings to make sure it was exactly right. Thirteen quid it cost me.”

Although he made a full recovery following the crash and was back in the side before the end of the season, he never regained his form on the pitch, and left the club in 1961 to return to Wales.

“When I left hospital, the physician said I shouldn’t play football until next season,” he recalled. “But I was desperate to get playing again because I wanted to play for Duncan and Tommy and all the boys who never came back. They’d played in the Cup Final the year before and lost and I was prepared to play my heart out in the final against Bolton. It broke my heart when they dropped me for the final. Jimmy Murphy was in charge while Matt was recovering and he said he wasn’t going to pick me because I’d lost weight and he thought the occasion would be too much for me emotionally. The following Tuesday, he picked me for the European Cup semifinal against AC Milan and I was man of the match. He called me into his office and said he should have played me at Wembley. I stayed for two more years but I wasn’t really interested. I missed the boys so much. Because of what had happened to them, I just didn’t seem to care. I tried, but the players were not the same and that upset me. We used to have two dressing rooms, one for the first team, the other for the reserves. When I came back after the crash, all the reserves were in the first-team dressing room. Some of them were never good enough to be there. The Babes were the best team there’d ever been. Had they all lived, they would have been the best team in the world. People laugh at me when I say it, but the Babes were so good, they never made mistakes. You know, I never lost a game with the old team.”

He played for Swansea for three years before quitting football to run a pub when he was just 25-years-old, before being persuaded to play for Newport County in the old Fourth Division.

Kenny returned to Old Trafford for two notable events in recent years – for the 50th anniversary of the Munich tragedy in 2008, and more recently, an Association of Former Manchester United Players dinner at which he was the guest of honour.

Rest in peace.

Debut: 21/12/1957 vs Leicester City (H)
League: 17 appearances
FA Cup: 2 appearances
European Cup: 4 appearances
Total: 23 appearances, 0 goals


 

43 Comments

  1. RedScot says:

    Very sad news: RIP Kenny Morgans . My love with you and your family.

  2. belfast red. says:

    Very sad to hear another 1 of that great team has passed away. R.I.P.

  3. FletchTHEMAN says:

    RIP Kenny,
    Just reading up on the lad. Suffered a cracked skull in the Munich crash and never the same after making only 23 senior appearances.

    Just read that Kenny captained United’s 1957 Youth Cup team.

    One of those that United was never able to do enough for.

    Thoughts with the family.

  4. Sunday says:

    My heartfelt, this is one of greatest lost of people. I and my follow united fan say goodbye kenny till meet at d feet of Jesus Christ

  5. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Right, and Cheers to Scott. Nice write up.

    Very very important that we all pay proper respect to these special treasures of United care. We all owe a huge debt to them for their sacrifices for this club. Given the stories of the families left behind and those that struggled after returning, it is well we remember that United wasn’t able to properly care for some of these lads and their families after the crash. Not a criticism, as that’s really not proper for anyone to give from the prospective of 50 years on. But an observation.

  6. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Reading his words moved me… Rest in peace kenny. Rest in peace kenny.

  7. slouchie1472 says:

    Excellent piece – could’ve been the Ryan Giggs of his day another hugely promising career cut short by the tragedy

    RIP Kenny Morgans

  8. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Captain Kenny Morgans holds the FA Youth Cup I956-7

    http://flic.kr/p/6qjC4Y

    via Leslie Millman

  9. Johnbosco Obiora says:

    Rest in peace kenny we love you

  10. Joffrey Baratheon says:

    A sobering reminder that results like yesterday are really not that important in the grand scheme of things. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have been involved in such an awful incident but I was there for the Man City game in February 2008 and the minutes silence was really over shelling. Rest in peace Kenny.

  11. Joffrey Baratheon says:

    Over whelming* (damn predictive spelling)

  12. orez says:

    RIP Kenny Morgans. I hope you are in a better place now with your lost friends.

  13. Dave Malaysia says:

    Rest in Peace Kenny Morgan.

    God bless you and your family.

    Thank You for everthing.

  14. dasilvatwins says:

    THIS is what sets the club different to any other club. when we say history we dont mean cups. the tragedy the club has gone through. and the strength it had to come out after it. Manchester united is a family , whenever i read quotes of old players , it always brings a smile to my face, and sadness that we never really got to see the babes play . so humble , you could tell they would do anything and everything for each other , the spirit they had was unbelievable, arguably maybe whats lacking in the current squad , someone should tell them that they are playing for manchester united , something that is much more than a football club

  15. dasilvatwins says:

    * R.I.P Kenny Morgans

  16. tommy taylor says:

    R.I.P. Kenny Morgans and condolences to your family.

  17. Gandalf says:

    RIP Kenny. Reading his words its apparent how hurt he was by the plane crash. Must have been terrible beyond words to lose your mates like that.
    Life can be very cruel sometimes. Snatching such young talents from the world’s eyes when the scum roam free!

  18. mattbw7 says:

    A world away from the modern game, condolences to his family.

  19. Goat Peticoat says:

    R.I.P Kenny Morgans
    My thoughts with his friends and family in this dark hour. Now you can join Duncan and Tommy and have a kick about with the other Busby Babes. Put me down for a season ticket.
    Its the fact that these guys are up there that make me feel that maybe heaven wouldnt be such a bad place, the rest of them and the religious side of things doesnt really appeal.

  20. WeAreUnited says:

    R.I.P.

  21. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Traveling Squad:
    Travelling squad: Sam Johnstone, Anders Lindegaard; Rafael, Alexander Buttner, Phil Jones, Tom Thorpe, Marnick Vermijl, Scott Wootton; Michael Carrick, Davide Petrucci, Larnell Cole, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Nick Powell, Ashley Young, Ryan Tunnicliffe; Javier Hernandez, Joshua King, Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda

    Petrucci is back!

  22. M41 says:

    These lads were TRUE legends. The word is banded about too easily these days, but those lads deserved the accolade.

    RIP Kenny – a bunch of bouncing Busby Babes, they deserved to be knighted.

  23. Rohan_19 says:

    Sam Johnstone, Anders Lindegaard; Rafael, Alexander Buttner, Phil Jones, Tom Thorpe, Marnick Vermijl, Scott Wootton; Michael Carrick, Davide Petrucci, Larnell Cole, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Nick Powell, Ashley Young, Ryan Tunnicliffe; Javier Hernandez, Joshua King, Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda.

    Squad for tomorrow.. Looking forward to seeing petrucci king and cole play..
    Hopefully macheda wont play

  24. redbilly says:

    RIP Kenny.

  25. Moringe says:

    R.I.P Kenny,, and uh Scott am eagerly waiting to read the reactions to the Norwich game,,when is it coming out..!!

  26. United Till I Die says:

    Puts everything into perspective.

    Rest in Peace.

  27. ididnotzeeit says:

    “I tried, but the players were not the same and that upset me. We used to have two dressing rooms, one for the first team, the other for the reserves. When I came back after the crash, all the reserves were in the first-team dressing room. Some of them were never good enough to be there.”

    Woah – Powerful right there.

    RIP Kenny, condolences to his family and may he whip crosses into his old mates up on heaven’s pitch.

  28. Zulu-Utd-Malta says:

    Sincere condolences to the Morgan’s family from the Manchester United supporters club in Malta !May God grant you eternal rest Kenny and many thanks for all you did for our beloved Man Utd !!!

  29. parryheid says:

    So only Four regular first teamers in the travelling party to Turkey,this should be interesting.

  30. wayne says:

    RIP mate our thoughts are with you and your family

  31. wayne says:

    Ok just read part of the game thread,i’d just like to say Joffrey Baratheon,Anti-Scouser and Voiceofreason are full fledged trolls,all of them come on ROM to be negative and feed shit,these people are not Utd fans,these are the same three who started with the crap when Utd were losing to Villa
    There’s a difference between being a Utd fan and voicing concerns and just stirring shit and been negative every fucking time Utd have a off game
    Yeah we had a off day but so what,they’ll be ponts dropped by all the top teams when it’s not expected.City have been fucking lucky to stay unbeaten,rent boys are in a free fall,who’s left after that? already this season Utd have been unlucky with injuries
    ffs can we please stop with the drama and overreaction with one bad result it’s fucking pathetic and don’t let the trolls and fuckwits take over this thread

  32. wayne says:

    blog

  33. Chicalole says:

    RIP Kenny

  34. dasilvatwins says:

    i was hoping he took de gea to turkey . disappointed that he did not , would have been a great experience for him. those turkey fans are crazy, would have been vital for his development

  35. wayne says:

    Fans aren’t crazy mate fucking animals,any Utd lads travelling need to be real careful,with the Red Army reputation from years back be a bullseye on their back.Doing a Utd fan will be a badge of honor for those fucks,didn’t they invade a hotel were Utd fans were staying last time.
    Not expecting Utd to get anything out of the game be a learning experience for the younger lads,any points will be a bonus

  36. slim says:

    Condolences to the Morgan Family.
    Internet link’s been shit, barely able to keep up. Good thing there’s a game midweek

  37. AntiScouser says:

    @wayne

    Firstly, I didn’t post a single word during the game against Villa. Check it out if you don’t believe me. I was nowhere near my laptop during that game. But that didn’t stop you from sucking up to your bullying buddies on that thread. Keep up the good work, and you might get some much needed recognition to become the cocksucker you crave to be.

    Secondly, and more importantly, you’re an idiot. Reading your long, rather unlettered, fatuous remarks only reinforces me to keep on posting.

    So thanks for facilitating me. Moron.

  38. wayne says:

    Anti Scouser you’re right about the Villa thread but that doesn’t change anything you don’t give the team any support at all,just one negative comment after another,that’s not been a fan,either a wum,fuckwit or troll,simple as
    Sucking up to my bullying buddies? wtf you going on about,for one thing i have no buddies on here i just come and post what i think and i think you’re a cunt but please enlighten me,who are you refering to

  39. AntiScouser says:

    @wayne

    Why do you assume I would ever want to interact with a thug like you? Fuck off and leave me alone. If you don’t like what i write, that’s fine by me.

    I dislike your comments, but you never hear me complaining, right? You have a right to say what you want. I would never deny you that. I would never deny you the right to criticise me, either. But then I have the right to defend myself. OK?

    I’m not a negative person, but there’s no point coming on here and stating the obvious. We all love the club, but we differ in ways of wanting to improve it. I view A. Young as an impediment to our progress, but I’d be happy if I was proven wrong. Other than that, I believe the manager has lost a bit of control over the dressing room (our defence work is abysmal this season and the last), but it’s nothing beyond repair.

    Are you happy with that or shall we resume our stupid, but bitter feud?

  40. wayne says:

    it was you who made reference to my bullying buddies mate,now you don’t want to interact with a thug like me because you just made that shit up,so fuck off.Nothing to resume mate you don’t like me and i most certainly don’t like you
    Not negative lol,even samuel had a go at you for being negative and he’s one of the most outspoken for points of view on here
    It’s comment after comment with you mate never say anything positive,although Utd are second in the league,unbeaten in the CL and have already had a lot of early season injuries

  41. DreadedRed says:

    After city broke their drought by winning the league cup, they were only cup-holders for 90 minutes of football. We knocked them out. We must have a similar outcome in the league this year. We must dethrone them. As this is our primary goal, I’m well chuffed at how this season is going for us. Early days of course, but there’s a lot to write home about.

    As an added bonus, we’ve qualified for CL knock-outs, where we might progress far.

    When you consider that we have 4 wins and 2 seconds out of the last 6 leagues; and we have 3 CL finals, a SF and a QF out of the last 6 champions leagues; it never ceases to amaze me that all through that period we have had calls for Fergie’s head, and a general discontent with our team, our staff, our club.

    It angers me. Attention-seekers that ridicule our club in order to boost their own ego.

  42. FULLARD says:

    aweful news, my heart goes out to his family. RIP.

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