DUNCAN EDWARDS EN EL AVIÓN QUE NO DEBIÓ DESPEGAR

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La tragedia de Munich es uno de los acontecimientos más tristes en la historia del deporte. Manchester United, víctima de un avión que no debió despegar.
A mediados de la década de 1940, el United se encontraba lejos de tener el protagonismo de hoy en la Premier League y era un protagonista casi desconocido en Europa. Esto cambiaría radicalmente con la llegada de Alexander Matthew Busby, o simplemente Matt Busby. El técnico escoces, un héroe en el United, provocó una revolución en el club. Junto a su histórico ayudante James Murphy, además de provocar importantes cambios sociales en el “ManU”. Apostaron fuertemente a los juveniles de la institución.
No le llevó mucho tiempo a Matt ver resultados, ya que dos años después saldría subcampeón de la Liga inglesa y en 1948 llegó la primera y gran conquista, la FA Cup. No se durmió en los laureles el incansable y purista escoces, quién nunca descuidaba el trabajo en las divisiones formativas de la institución. En la temporada 1951-52 llegó el campeonato de la Liga. Busby llevó al United la filosofía de juego de Hungría, la de Puskas y Kocsis, que habían revolucionado el estilo de juego de esa época. Paralelamente comenzaba a descollar un adolescente de 14 años, se llamaba Duncan Edwards, de Dudley. Un ojeador del Manchester lo vio jugar en un seleccionado escolar y recomendó su incorporación. Fue así como Duncan inició una corta (en tiempo) pero fulgurante y eterna carrera en el club. Con él en primera división, debutó con 16 años, estaban en formación los fabulosos “Busby Babes”. Paciente, intuitivo, amable con sus jugadores, predicador de un fútbol generoso, Matt Busby armó un equipo inolvidable alrededor de Duncan Edwards. La juventud de aquel plantel era ya de por sí un estilo; atacaban todo el partido; era un equipo que luchaba en toda la cancha, de frente y sin malas artes, daban espectáculo, convertían goles, mucho más no se les podía pedir. A un equipo ya de por si virtuoso, se incorporan el extremo Berry, Blanchflower, el zurdo Pegg, Foulkes, Viollet, el habilidoso Whelan y el gran Bobby Charlton. Como mencionaban los afiches de la época anunciando los partidos: “Hoy tocan los Busby Babes”, y en verdad, muchos partidos fueron grandes recitales.

Llegaron los títulos ligueros de 1955-56 y 1956-57 y la Community Shield (actual Supercopa de Inglaterra) en los mismos años. Edwards era la figura de ese equipo. Su extraordinario juego le valió ser convocado a la selección inglesa, debutando con 18 años y 183 días ante Escocia en la victoria de los ingleses por 7 – 2 en 1955. Consiguió el récord de ser el debutante más joven en la selección inglesa después de la Segunda Guerra, hasta que dicho récord fue batido muchos años después por Wayne Rooney y Theo Walcott. Futbolista versátil, jugaba y bien en casi todos los puestos, aunque su posición favorita era en la banda izquierda, que recorría a todo lo largo, entre la defensa, el mediocampo y la delantera. Otro legendario jugador de ese equipo, Sir Bobby Charlton, decía sobre él: “Era bueno con la derecha, bueno con la izquierda, con un extraordinario remate de cabeza y muy sólido en defensa. Era capaz de ponerte un balón a sesenta metros de distancia, con lo que pesaban los balones de aquella época, y dejarlo en tu pie. Es el único jugador ante el que me he sentido inferior”.

En la temporada 1956-57 de la mano de Edwards el “ManU” se convirtió en el primer equipo inglés en jugar la Copa de Europa, ya que el año anterior, en la primera edición, la Federación Inglesa no quiso inscribir al Chelsea “en ese nuevo torneo que habían creado en el Viejo Continente”. Tanto en esa Copa como en la siguiente, el United cayó en semifinales del torneo continental, dominado por el Real Madrid de Alfredo Di Stéfano. Con 21 años en 1957, fue tercero en la elección del Balón de Oro de la temporada, detrás de Alfredo Di Stefano y Billy Wright, capitán de la selección inglesa de los mundiales de 1954 y 1958.
Dominando la escena británica y afianzándose en Europa, el Manchester United tenía por delante al imparable Madrid de la “Saeta Rubia” y a otro rival insospechado: el destino. Disputando la Copa europea de 1958, el equipo inglés viajó a Belgrado, para enfrentar al Estrella Roja en el partido de vuelta. En la ida jugada en Manchester, el triunfo fue para los “Busby Babes” por 2 – 1 y tras un épico 3 – 3 de visitante, se disponía a regresar a Inglaterra, otra vez clasificado a semifinales, tras un largo viaje que incluía una escala en Alemania.
El vuelo 609 de la British European Airways, aterrizó en Munich para hacer combustible y caía una nevada tremenda. Acuciados por la Liga Inglesa que no accedió a postergarles la fecha por el campeonato inglés, el avión tuvo dos despegues fallidos. «Todavía no sé por qué despegamos», recuerda Charlton. Al tercer intento, el avión se precipitó contra una casa y la cabina se convirtió en una trampa de fuego mortal. Era el 6 de febrero de 1958. La catástrofe aérea causó numerosos heridos y 23 víctimas fatales, entre ellas ocho jugadores. Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor y Billy Whelan. 
Duncan Edwards no falleció en el accidente, sino 15 días después, víctima de las terribles heridas recibidas. Moría a los 21 años el que, para todos sus contemporáneos, estaba destinado a ser el mejor jugador inglés de todos los tiempos. Llegó a jugar menos de cinco años en primera división. El cuerpo de Duncan fue trasladado a su ciudad natal y fue enterrado con honores de jefe de estado en el cementerio municipal de Dudley. Más de 50.000 personas se reunieron en el exterior del recinto para despedir a su gran ídolo. Su tumba sigue siendo un santuario de peregrinación por los aficionados al fútbol. Unos días antes de volar a Belgrado, Duncan Edwards envió a un editor el manuscrito de su libro “Tackle Soccer This Way”, una guía para aprender a jugar.
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About Author

56 años, escritor. El fútbol y el rugby, mis pasiones. San Lorenzo de Almagro un sentimiento. Escribir sobre fútbol y sus protagonistas, un oficio que intento aprender día a día.

88 comentarios

  1. Excelente información. Para tomar en cuenta. Hagan nuevos informes que son originales y muy interesantes. Sigan asi! Uno de Charlton estaria bueno

  2. Hola gente, no paro de leer este pequeño gran homenaje hacia Edwards y quiero felicitar a Luis por su trabajo! Mi idolo es el Tata Martino y me encantaria que hagan un lindo homenaje sobre el. Un abrazo

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