A Tale of Two Cities: Manchester & Madrid 1957-1968
by John Ludden
This is the tale of two cities divided by football and united by tragedy. The story begins in enmity when United's Busby Babes face Santiago Bernebeu's Galacticos in the 1957 European Cup semi-final. United were a team made up of hand-reared British and Irish youngsters who had conquered British football with relative ease. They faced Madrid's reigning European Champions led by 'The Blond Arrow' Alfredo di Stefano. Inevitably United lost that tie over two legs but the pair seemed certain to be rivals for years before the Munich Air Disaster ripped apart Manchester's pride and joy. In the years that followed Real Madrid's president moved heaven and earth to help his club's former foes and a series of friendly matches were played to help United's languishing coffers as Real completed their now legendary 5 European Cup victories in a row from the inception of the tournament. Following the Mancunian side's recovery and rehabilitation, the clubs met once more and this time it was for real. United's aging side battled through to the 1968 European Cup semi-final to face the Madrilenos once more. Madrid, by now six times winners, looked certain to go through when they raced into a 3-2 aggregate lead in Spain before David Sadler and Munich survivor Bill Foulkes scored late goals to send United through to a date with destiny against Benfica in the Wembley final. This riveting footballing story featuring most of the greatest players of the fifties and sixties but most importantly two great rivals and friends: Madrid President Santiago Bernebeu and United manager Matt Busby.
- Empire Publications firstname.lastname@example.org, December 2011
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