Manchester United have announced plans to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster on 6 February 2008.
* United players to wear a retro 1950s-style kit against Manchester City on 10 February
* Permanent, free exhibition telling the story of the Busby Babes
* South Stand tunnel to be renamed the Munich Tunnel
* Memorial service involving survivors, relatives of those who died, guests and fans
* MUTV to broadcast free-to-air on 6 February
The centrepiece of the commemorations will be the creation of a free, permanent exhibition telling the story of the Busby Babes. The exhibition, to be unveiled in the South Stand tunnel at Old Trafford (which will be renamed the Munich Tunnel), will be open to all visitors and designed to educate younger fans about the Busby Babes' early triumphs, the tragedy of the crash, the rebuilding process and United's eventual European Cup triumph in 1968.
A memorial service involving survivors and relatives of those who died will be held in the Manchester Suite at Old Trafford. The service will coincide with the moment in 1958 that the plane carrying players and staff back from Belgrade crashed on take-off at Munich airport. Details outlining how United fans can join invited guests will be published in January.
In addition, United's subscription TV channel, MUTV, will broadcast a series of exclusive, in-depth features and documentaries on 6 February, when all programmes will be free-to-air and without advertisements to Sky and cable customers.
The Reds' closest home match to the anniversary is on 10 February against neighbours Manchester City, who provided considerable support and assistance in the immediate aftermath of the crash and whose former goalkeeper, Frank Swift – a journalist on the ill-fated flight – died in the wreckage. Following a request some months ago, the Premier League has agreed to set aside its usual rules on kit design to allow the team to wear a special 1950s-style kit in the match, free from sponsorship and numbered 1 to 11. The kit is a one-off and will not be available for purchase. All fans present at the 10 February game will receive a memento of the occasion.
Club Chief Executive David Gill said: “The Munich air crash was not just about Manchester United. It devastated the lives of the 23 families of those who died, as well as those who never played again and united a city in grief. Those who are able to remember it say it was Manchester’s 'Kennedy moment': everyone knows where they were when the terrible news came through.
“It is a heavy responsibility that those of us who work for this great Club and those who live and work in this magnificent city have to show respect, admiration and regret over that loss some five decades ago. I hope the exhibition will enable generations of fans to understand the place Sir Matt and his teams have in the Club’s history, from the birth of the Babes to his crowning achievement in 1968.
“I believe that, in partnership with the families, fans, authorities, Manchester City and our sponsors, we have created a programme that will enable everyone to remember, pay respect to and learn about a wonderful side, cut down in its prime.
“The sincere thanks of the Club go to AIG and Nike for their wholehearted backing for the kit change, and to the Premier League for allowing us to mark the event in a unique way.”