This is one of the most beautiful poems I have come across. To the many that may not know in the sport of football, back in the 6th of February 1958, a plane carrying players, employees, journalists and friends of Manchester United Football Club, who were travelling home after an European Cup tie, crashed upon take-off. 20 died on the spot, and another three died in the hospital. Among them, were 8 talented players and 3 team staff. It is a tragedy that still lingers on until today.
This poem is dedicated to the dead, on this Christmas eve. The origins of this are currently unknown, but it has been posted in some FaceBook pages today. We will never understand the impact, as we are not born the that era, and many support clubs other than Manchester United. But the legacy lives on, in football. We know that they were top young European footballers, and they deserve this tribute.
T’was the night before Christmas, Old Trafford was bare.
The staff all gone home, there was nobody there..
The lights cast a shadow, a soft glimmer which
lit up the soft green grass on the pitch.
Just as the clock gave out its twelfth chime
An old man appeared, as if frozen in time.
He gazed at the tunnel, then broke out in voice
“ITS TIME TO BEGIN.. LETS HAVE YOU MY BOYS”
Out from the tunnel appeared a lone figure
Same as in life, only infinitely bigger
The old man called out as he slowly drew near
“good evening Duncan, are the rest of you here”
The figure broke out in wide open smile
“Good Evening Sir Matt, it has been a long while
The rest are all coming, they’ll be here soon,”
As seven more shadows were cast by the moon.
Whelan and Bent, Pegg, Taylor and Byrne,
Jones , and Colman, they came out in turn.
He greeted each one, just by calling their name
then proudly announced “do you fancy a game”
They took to the pitch, and the still night was broken
By leather on leather, not one word was spoken
They played once again, like they did long before
And imagined the sound of the Old Trafford roar
Edwards called out “come on lads lets pretend
That we’ve just scored a goal at the old Stretford End”
As they ran to the edge of the pitch by the goal
There in the stands sat a solitary soul.
His eyes were all puffy, his cheeks wet with tears
As his mind wandered back to those wonderful years
“come down and join us” they cried all as one
“yes come down and join them” said Matt “go on son”
The lonely man stood and with much pain he said
“I’m afraid I can’t play with you, you are all dead.
You are all ghosts, and I am alive
That was the price that I paid to survive”
My role was to go on, inspire the team
And finally realise Matt Busbys dream
To tell of your greatness, and as I get older
To burden the weight of your life on my shoulders.”
The ghost of Sir Matt then raised up his head
Giving out a loud groan, he finally said
“Bobby, You survived, that much is true
But we wouldn’t be here if it were not for you
For you are the one who has kept us alive
That was the reason you had to survive
If you were with us, all we have would be gone
And the game that we play could no longer go on
If you can’t understand why it happened this way
Then come here and watch when United play
They sing about us, they remember us all
We live and we breathe with each kick of the ball
The legends that live here, Robson and Best,
Cantona, Law, Giggs, Scholes and the rest
They are us, we are them, we are all here as one
And that is the reason United goes on
So come down and join us, we’re begging you do
You are still one of us, and we’re still one of you”
And then Bobby’s face rose and he gave them a smile
And he said “I would love to come play for a while”
They played and they played, as they did in the past
Only not quite as skilful, and not quite as fast
And when it was over, and when it was done
They’d defeated Benfica by four goals to one.
Then Sir Matt said “lads, its been fun you know
But It’s now Christmas day, and we really must go”
They walked to the front of the stadium and turned
And Sir Bobby said “there is something I’ve learned”
“You did not die, on that February night
You’re still here with us, as you’re with me tonight
And you’ll live on forever as long as we play”
As the ghosts disappeared down Sir Matt Busby Way.
If you wish, please read the full details of the tragedy at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_air_disaster.