Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Rare programme of 1958 match Man Utd never played because of Munich air disaster goes under the hammer
By Daily Mail Reporter
An 'incredibly rare' Manchester United programme is set to sell for £7,000 at auction this week.
The programme is for the game that was due to take place two days after the Munich air disaster.
It was recently unearthed after spending 25 years stashed in an under-stairs cupboard of a collector's house.
An auctioneer called to inspect a pile of matchday programmes was stunned when he saw the one for Man Utd v Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 8, 1958.
The 12-page magazine was printed at about the same time United's plane crashed on take-off in Munich on February 6.
23 people were killed in the tragedy, including eight players from the legendary 'Busby Babes' side.
The Man Utd team had been returning to England after playing a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade on the night of February 5.
There is even a write-up in the Wolverhampton matchday programme of United's 3-3 draw with Red Star that made it into the publication at the last minute.
After the disaster all the programmes that had been printed were ordered to be destroyed - although it is thought a handful were kept by printing staff.
This one was snapped up by the current vendor about 25 years ago. He has kept it ever since under the stairs of his home in Torquay, Devon, along with hundreds of other programmes.
Because the publication is so rare and so poignant it is being tipped to sell for £7,000 at auction this week.
Robert Adcock, of auctioneers Sporting Memorys, said: 'This programme is incredibly rare because only a handful of them made it out of the printing works.
'There is a big market for old football programmes, especially in the Far East, and this one must be the Holy Grail of them. It is the iconic programme that all serious collectors will want to get their hands on.
'Nobody knows how many of them were printed but however many there were they were ordered to be destroyed, but some staff at the printers took the odd one home.'
The 'Busby Babes' had played their European Cup tie in Belgrade and stopped at Munich to refuel.
The pilots attempted to take off twice but aborted and by the time the third attempt was made snow and slush had built up on the runway, leading to the plane crashing.
As well as the eight players, three of the club's staff were killed along with 12 others on the flight.
The short write-up for the Red Star game in the programme congratulated Man Utd for progressing through to the quarter finals of the European Cup.
The line-up for the team that was due to play against Wolves two days later also appeared in the publication.
Of the starting XI, five died in the crash including defender Duncan Edwards and striker Tommy Taylor.
Mr Adcock said: 'Most programme collectors believe the programme for the first game United played after the disaster - an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday - is highly-sought after but it is nowhere near as rare as this one.
'The vendor paid £200 for it 25 years ago so he knew how important and significant it was.
'He kept good care of it over the years, keeping it in a cupboard under the stairs. It is in excellent condition.'
The auction takes place on Thursday.
A very rare program and likely to make or even exceed the estimate. On two occasions, in the past I have auctioned the Belgrade/Man U program. On both occasions it sold for £2,000.