We declare no bias for the match tonight. Similarly, our new ‘Featured Item’ is a fantastic piece of Manchester United memorabilia…BUT it does have Manchester City links: it’s a programme from the Manchester United v Atletico de Bilbao 1957 match, which was played at Manchester City’s then home grounds at Maine Road.
The programme is signed by 11 of the Manchester United players – Busby’s Babes, seven of whom died tragically in the Munich Air Disaster exactly one year to the day later. Billy Whelan is the only one to die in the crash, who didn’t sign the programme. The match on the 16th January 1957 had been a great one. Manchester United had travelled to Bilbao earlier in the month to play Atletico Madrid in the quarter finals on the European Cup. The Spanish team had won 5-3 in Bilbao, but Manchester United’s 3-0 win at Maine Road, in the second leg, enabled them to qualify for the semi-finals. Man U then went on to lose to Real Madrid in the semi-finals. Weirdly, when Manchester United played Atletico Madrid in March of this year, it was the first time the two teams had met again since 1957.