On a snowy night in February of 1958, a plane carrying Manchester United's football (soccer) team skidded off the Munich runway during an attempted takeoff, killing more than 20 passengers. Among the dead were reporters, aircraft personnel, and eight Manchester players. Numerous others were injured. In the days following, some of the injured crash victims died in the hospital while the rest of the Munich air disaster survivors attempted to put their lives and the team back together.
At the time of the Manchester United air crash, the team was in the midst of the European Cup, recently advanced to the semi-finals. Speculation was rampant: would the team continue in the tournament? Would United even last as a team, or would they fold? As a precursor to later soccer-related tragedies - like the Hillsborough disaster - the Munich air disaster was exemplary of unprecedented sportsmanship, strength, and tribute.