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Thursday, September 03, 2009

My Sentimental Journey.

My Sentimental Journey.

I gazed out of the train window and said to myself am I really going to Munich after all these years. Did I really want to go? What did I expect to find. Could I cope? Bobby and Matt (my dear friend) would not be there, why have I been drawn? Fifty years I have thought of a name, Munich, it was embedded on my brain and was there nearly every day at some stage. I was going, yes me, to Munich.

I stepped off the train and I was there , 51 years after the accident that took over, to some extent, my life. How did I now feel? I do not know, only now I was in Munich. Everybody was rushing around doing their normal work, was this wrong I thought, and then I had to pull myself together and say yes of course they must, how were they to know that I was here to say hello-goodbye to a memorial.

My good friend travelling with me, John Speight got along with his map reading etc. And had time to brush up on his German. I could only speak English but so what, I was there and that is what mattered. After a restless night we made our way to the memorials, my thoughts started again, how would I feel. What did I expect. Was this really the goodbye. I had said all this to Sir Matt and the Babe’s years ago. Bobby was still with me thank god, no disrespect to anyone else but I idolise the man Sir Bobby Charlton and always will until that dreaded day which will come to us all. After John decided on the best route we headed for the, I do not know what, a sight I did not want to see, but had to, my mind was a little blurred now. We had perhaps a mile to go of walking through a lovely suburb of Munich; that name again.

John said there it is, I could see nothing for a while until I spotted the stone memorial built so beautifully in 2004. We went past and onto the original, John spotted it first and then there it was, in front of me, 50 years on. No tears, no real feeling, just a glance, then time for a photo or two to remember - not that they would ever be needed. A few cars passed by with some quizzical looks. “So what”, I said to myself. I was here to remember the Babes. After 5 minutes we made our way to the new memorial, similar to the one that is proudly built into the wall at the Babe’s home at Old Trafford. This was different again, in the distance I looked over at some Greenland and wondered whether the accident took place there, I did not dwell as it was very near. I did not want to know the exact spot, that would have been too much.

Flowers were in front of the memorial, I said a hushed thank you to whom had placed them as I placed my United shirt on top of them. John followed with his scarf. Were we spoiling the look of the newly named road Manchester Platz. I did not think so; it was my way of telling the Babes they would not be forgotten. After what only seemed a few seconds we left with our photos intact. I looked back and thought to myself , i will never come back, but how pleased and proud I was to have finally said my final goodbye to those that gave so much.

I was also proud to think that Munich would look after the memorials; after all they had done so now for 50 years. Now back at the hotel I felt relief, I had been, and me and my good friend John were already discussing our team for the Villa game. Manchester United will never die.

Bill Layton, Peterborough