President Hainer: Side by side, far beyond sport

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The 6th of February is a special day every year, and this one was a 65th anniversary. Over 2,000 people, fans of Manchester United and FC Bayern, gathered at Manchesterplatz in Trudering on Monday in honour of the 23 people who lost their lives in a plane crash in Munich. It was one of the biggest disasters in football history, killing eight members of the legendary Manchester United “Busby Babes” team, named after their manager Matt Busby. “For us as FC Bayern Munich, it’s a matter of course, but above all a great honour, to be standing alongside Manchester United on this special, sad day,“ said Herbert Hainer, who gave a speech and laid a wreath in the colours of the German record champion alongside Munich mayor Dieter Reiter, Manchester United ambassador Bryan Robson, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and fan representatives from both clubs. It was moving to see how many people had gathered to remember the victims, added the FCB president. "And it is also a beautiful message that unites us in our common mourning: football builds bridges, especially in its darkest hours.”

Football builds bridges, especially in its darkest hours.

Herbert Hainer

When you look around Manchesterplatz and look into the history, "we see a strong community, a strong cohesion and a connection between the people of Manchester and Munich," continued Hainer. "The disaster 65 years ago robbed this great club Manchester United of some successful chapters in its history. It is comforting to see that we have also been given gifts: 65 years side by side – that is a message sent out from this place. We should all be grateful for that."

FC Bayern Manchester United
Over 2,000 people, fans of Manchester United and FC Bayern, came to the memorial service on Monday.

Hainer expressed "our deepest sympathy" to Bryan Robson as a representative of Manchester United and its fans on behalf of FC Bayern, and recalled that then president Alfred Reitlinger immediately visited the injured in hospital. "Life does not end at the white lines of the pitch and sporting rivalry – the mutual respect between our clubs will last forever." Hainer thanked late former FCB advisory board member Hermann Memmel, who was highly involved in the memorial site, as well as the City of Munich and the "Red Docs Munich" fan club, led by Dr. Mark Salzmann, for their commitment at the site. Hainer's thanks also went to the staff at the Rechts der Isar Hospital at the time, "who did everything humanly possible in the fight between life and death. Your efforts then were a strong sign, 13 years after the end of the war, that the time had come to look forward together, help each other and overcome boundaries."

Memorial Manchester United

Concluding his speech, Hainer turned to the fans of Manchester United. "You’re the soul of your club, you’re the soul of football! Through your grief, the Busby Babes will live on forever, and because your heart beats for Manchester United, the whole club will remain alive forever. You are all the Flowers of Manchester. And you can be proud of the unique way your club has blossomed in 65 years. Thank you for allowing us, FC Bayern Munich, to accompany you on your path – including and especially on paths that go far beyond sport."

On the anniversary of the air disaster, Manchester United have also reported on their club channels about FC Bayern's commitment to commemoration of the tragedy. Read here.

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