On Thursday night, Manchester United beat Partizan Belgrade to put us in a great position to move through to the next round of the Europa League, with seven points from a possible nine.
Anthony Martial scored the crucial goal from the penalty spot but it was the young Brandon Williams, who has been at the club since he was seven, who was the best performer on the night. He won the deciding penalty after bursting in to the box and put in a great shift on the left flank, leaving fans wondering why Ashley Young has had so much game time this season in Luke Shaw’s absence.
It was fitting that it was the teenager who stole the show in the stadium that hosted the Busby Babes for their final game before the Munich Air Disaster. Although Williams, like Jimmy Garner and Ethan Laird who were also in the matchday squad, had been to this ground before.
On the 60th anniversary of Munich, United’s U-19s had played FK Brodarac in UEFA Youth League tie, and took place in a memorial service ahead of the game.
Speaking to The Athletic, our youngsters have reflected on that day, with Laird revealing what a moving occasion it had been.
It was emotional. It’s important to understand the history of the club, because that’s our DNA. We have to carry that flag wherever we go.
It’s been drilled into us how important the Busby Babes are to the club, from young. At the Cliff you would see them on the walls, we would ask questions, then when we get a bit more mature we end up understanding it a bit more.
I remember having a tour of Old Trafford a couple of years ago and I saw the flame in the Munich Tunnel. It was a tragic event for the club.
Angel Gomes, who scored in the U-23s victory over Stoke on Friday night, also recalled his memories of the occasion.
I remember before the game we went to the pitch early and laid down a wreath. There was a minute’s silence and a speech, it was powerful and emotional. You learn how special the club is. You think of the fans who were around back then. You realise the significance of it, how deep it is, how it is still in the hearts of people.
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