Fri, Oct 06, 2006 - Page 24 News List

'Busby Babes' menu sold for ?12,000 at auction in England

AFP , LONDON

A menu card believed to be the last item signed by Manchester United's "Busby Babes" before they died in the 1958 Munich air disaster was sold at auction on Wednesday for £12,000 (US$22,600).

The card, autographed by 14 members of the famous young squad managed by Matt Busby, was bought by a private collector from London at a special soccer memorabilia sale in Ludlow, western England.

Auction charges meant the buyer had to pay more than £14,000.

The menu is dated Feb. 5, 1958, and bears the signatures of Duncan Edwards, Roger Byrne, Geoff Bent, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Liam "Billy" Whelan.

All were killed just hours after signing it.

The team, which also included England World Cup 1966 Bobby Charlton, had beaten Red Star Belgrade 5-4 on aggregate and signed the menu during the post-match meal at the Majestic Hotel.

Their plane crashed taking off in a blizzard at the German airport, where it had stopped to refuel. Twenty-three of the 43 passengers on board were killed in the crash.

Auctioneer John Mullock said the card was remarkable as it was so rare.

"We expected an awful lot of interest in it as there had been nothing like this had appeared on the market before," he added. "It is so rare, it is one of the most important items of football history relating to one of the worst disasters ever to hit the sporting world."

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