Seventy Six years ago today, in Dudley in the West Midlands, Manchester United legend Duncan Edwards was born.
A talented half-back, he was a man-mountain of a boy, if there could be such a term, and when growing up was courted by local clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Wolves were the big force back then, but it was Manchester United that he was destined to play for.
“Manchester United is the greatest team in the world. I’d give anything to play for you.” Edwards told Matt Busby, who’d made a personal visit to Duncan’s house on 31 May 1952.
Busby had just signed one gem of a player.
He was just 16 years and 185 days old when he made his debut for the reds, against Cardiff City on 4th April 1953; the first of 177 gem he would go on to play for the club. He wouldn’t even be signed on professional terms for a further eight months, but there was something about this lad that was special.
He was bigger than any of his team mates in the United youth ranks, and became a first team regular for the reds and for England as barely a kid. He won two league titles, and 18 England caps, scoring five goals.
Widely regarded as one of, if not the best footballer in the world at that time, his life were to be taken so young before people could find out just how good might have turned out to be. Many former professionals who saw Duncan play believe that if he wasn’t to become the best ever footballer the world had seen, then he already was when he died. He had talent in many different positions, and a fighting spirit that would be with him until his last moments of life.
Edwards was injured in the Munich aircrash on 6th February, 1958. Doctors said at the time that it was a miracle that he’d survived the impact of the crash, and he’d fight on for another fifteen days before he couldn’t fight any longer, and died in the Rechts Der Isar hospital, Munich of kidney failure.
Today we remember a flower of Manchester, who will never be forgotten.
Happy birthday. Rest in peace.
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