The 6th February will forever remain a poignant reference point for United fans of all generations. On that fateful day in 1958, the Flowers of Manchester were not allowed to fully bloom, one of the most gifted crop of players to grace the beautiful game decimated by one tragic accident.
Their legacy remains ingrained and immortalised into the Manchester United DNA, with it almost being an unwritten law that people immersed in the club, in what way, shape or form, are educated accordingly into what they stood for and still represent to this very day.
The spirit of the Busby babes is verbalised from the terraces on match day, ‘we’ll never die’ is the famous chant that reverberates home and away, irrespective of how the current team are faring on the pitch.
There is a vested interest in rekindling and celebrating that spirit off it too. At Carrington, United’s training complex, they have gone to great lengths to constantly remind staff, from the players to the tea lady, that United are not just a Premier League club, but an institution with a wealth of history and more chapters left to write.
In stark contrast to the current American president, the construction of a wall actually materialised. Both sides of the corridors are filled with various academy graduates down the years to mark their emergence into the first team. The latest incumbents, since Jose Mourinho took to the throne at Old Trafford, include Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Axel Tuanzebe and now Marcus Rashford. The striker described making it onto the wall as a ‘proud moment’- celebrating his meteoric rise to the top within the space of two years.
The moment they are inducted onto the ‘great wall’ appears to symbolise a watershed moment, a moment that is held with immense honour and pride. The incredibly life-like designs replicating memorable moments in United red highlight the lengths the club continue to go to set themselves apart.
Not solely content with being surrounded by history, United continue to make it: United, to this very day, have included at least one homegrown player in their match day squad since 1937. It takes no maths expert to calculate that record has existed for over 80 years.
Jose Mourinho had this long held reputation for wrecking young players’ careers, so it appeared somewhat fitting that, as United commemorated the Busby Babes, he replaced one academy graduate in Paul Pogba with another in Scott McTominay. Mourinho is clued up on his history, fully aware of that unprecedented record. It would appear he is desperate to not be the person to break that sequence.
As we all reflect on what the Busby Babes mean to us, in our own ways, just take a minute and compare them to the current day. Their legacy and the blooding of youth shows no sign of abating.
The Flowers of Manchester, never forgotten.