uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright John Peters Getty
Picture caption Ro-Shaun Williams of United U19s laid a wreath at Partizan Stadium

A service to mark 60 years since the Munich air crash that killed 23 people, including eight Manchester United players, has happened.

The crash, on 6 February 1958, happened on United’s return from a European Cup tie in Belgrade.

Two crew members, three club staff, eight journalists, eight players and two passengers were killed.

A minute’s silence was included by the Old Trafford service the time of the crash, at 15:04.

Thousands of fans turned out for the ceremony.

Manchester United encouraged season ticket holders aged over 65 but stated all supporters were welcome.

Former United players Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg, who survived the crash, were at the ceremony, along with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Captain Michael Carrick and manager Jose Mourinho laid wreaths.

uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright Tom Purslow Getty
Picture caption Michael Carrick, Sir Alex Ferguson, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Jose Mourinho paid their respects
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Picture caption Crash survivor and former United player Harry Gregg attended the service
uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright PA
Picture caption A minute’s silence was held at 15:04
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Picture caption Tributes to the so-called Busby Babes have been left at Old Trafford
uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright Paul Ellis Getty
Picture caption Some flowers were delivered from the USA into the Old Trafford ground
uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright Tom Purslow Getty
Picture caption Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson gave a reading at the service
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In the scene: Simon Stone, BBC Sport

Around 4,500 people were present for the day’s 40-minute provider, which poignantly took place amid a light snow fall.

Club officials wore ties bearing the names of the eight players who died in the catastrophe, while United chaplain John Boyers in a roll call of the 23 who lost their lives in the crash.

The existence of the two remaining survivors, Harry Gregg and Sir Bobby Charlton, was particularly well received.

Gregg, who went into the club’s Carrington training ground earlier to meet the players, said it would be the last time that he comes to Old Trafford.

He sat behind present first team manager Jose Mourinho, who made a point of shaking the Northern Irishman’s hand.

Sheffield Wednesday, United’s first opponents after the crash, were represented, as were Bishop Auckland, who loaned the team players.

Kenny Dalglish was also present, as was former Manchester City star Mike Summerbee, in a nod to the loss felt by the whole city at the death of former Blues keeper Frank Swift.

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Gregg told BBC Sport NI he did not feel the disaster had explained him or the club.

“I don’t believe what happened in Munich made Manchester United. It’s a really large part of Manchester United history but it is not all Manchester United,” he said.

“I’ve seen Manchester United through bad times and good times.

“I am just very glad that Harry Gregg from 34 Windsor Avenue was counted good enough to play for what I consider to be one of the best clubs in the world.”

uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright Reuters
Picture caption An agency has also been held in Munich
uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright Allsport/Getty Images
Picture caption The victims of the crash were remembered at Saturday’s match at Old Trafford

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness and chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge took part in a memorial service held in Munich.

The team tweeted a tribute:

United fans have also paid their respects to the victims by visiting the site of the crash.

Wreaths were laid at Partizan Stadium in Belgrade, Serbia where the group had played before the crash.

The team held a silence before the Premier League home game against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

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The Munich air disaster

uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright PA

Sir Matt Busby’s team, nicknamed the Busby Babes, were in unstoppable form that season with supporters speculating they may have won a part of the FA Cup, Division One title and the European Cup.

Seven of the players were killed in the crash, with rising star Duncan Edwards dying 15 days later in hospital.

Club legend Sir Bobby Charlton, who was 20 at the time, suffered head injuries, while Busby was critically ill and had the final rites given to him.

Among the journalists killed was Frank Swift, the former Manchester City and England goalkeeper, who died on his way to hospital.

The plane’s co-pilot Ken Rayment was the last victim, dying 23 days after the crash.

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Writing in his blog, United midfielder Juan Mata stated the victims “will not be forgotten, they will always be remembered and will be a part of United’s history forever”.

“The passion, determination and courage shown by the club to continue in these dreadful moments have left an indelible mark forever.”

Many of the side’s former and present players, such as Rio Ferdinand, Edwin van der Sar and Carrick, paid tribute to those who died on Twitter, with the hashtag #FlowersofManchester.

The National Football Museum in Manchester also staged a minute’s silence at 15:04 in the Hall of Fame and opened a book of condolence.

The museum said it had added a variety of new items to its Busby Babes screen.

uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright National Football Museum
Picture caption A book of condolence has been opened at the National Football Museum
uniteds-munich-air-disaster-remembered-premier-league Picture copyright National Football Museum
Picture caption The National Football Museum has added items to its Busby Babes screen

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-42959196