Manchester City Council

Manchester Respect

I'm honoured today to attend the service of remembrance at Old Trafford to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster. I was a youngster at primary school when the tragedy took place 50 years ago and for me it is a very blurred memory - a bit like the grainy black and white photographs in the Manchester Evening News commemorative edition, but for thousands in Manchester and millions around the world the memory of this terrible disaster remains fresh. Half a century later, the scale of the tragedy is not diminished and it's a tribute to our city that so many have paid their respects at Man United today in so many different ways.

The service is respectful and sensitive, and we are all moved by the tributes and by the intensity of the occasion. I am far from the only Man City fan here today, for this is not about football rivalry or even about football; this is about honouring pioneers in taking Manchester to the world, about showing respect to all those who lost their lives, and expressing our support and admiration for those who carried on in the most difficult of times in a spirit of selflessness and bravery.  I was appalled later at the small number of mindless spectators at the England match who broke the minute's silence; a disgrace to themselves and our country.

On Sunday, when the eyes of the world will be on Manchester as the United / City Derby is beamed around the globe, I desperately hope that everyone supports the minute's silence and that our city isn't disgraced in the way England was disgraced today. It doesn't matter whether you are red or blue or don't care two hoots about football, it's about being respectful to everyone touched by the tragedy. Fifty years ago Manchester was a city united in grief.   Fifty years on we should still be a city united in dignified memory and silent contemplation of the awful events in Munich on February 6th 2008.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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