Greatest European Nights

My greatest European night

Philip Thornley, 75, looks back Manchester United's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the second leg of the 1957 European Cup quarter-final, the first season an English club had ever played in Europe

European football was a novelty. The manager, Matt Busby, had to petition the FA to allow United to play and so this was the first season that an English club had taken part.

My pal Kenny Watson got two tickets. This game wasn’t played at Old Trafford: it had been bombed during the war and didn’t have floodlights yet. Manchester City’s Maine Road did so that’s where it took place. It was a bit of an adventure because we didn’t know where the hell it was. It was packed when we got there; 70,000 people, all standing. We were passed down to the front because, aged 13, we couldn’t see a thing from the back of the terraces.

United were 5-3 down from the first leg but there was an excitement in the air. I’d never seen foreign players before; they had a superb centre-half called Jesús Garay, who was incredible with his head. I can’t remember the first two goals going in. I remember Johnny Berry getting the winner though and wow, you’ve never heard anything like it. The whole place erupted. It was an amazing night.

There were some excellent players in that team. You had Roger Byrne marshalling the back and we also had some very slight players, like Eddie Colman; he’d swivel his hips and leave someone on his backside. Then you had Duncan Edwards. He hit the ball so hard. He was tremendous, he really was. It was a tragedy that he died, along with so many other players, as a result of the Munich air disaster. That happened a year to the day later.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

European football was a novelty. The manager, Matt Busby, had to petition the FA to allow United to play and so this was the first season that an English club had taken part.

My pal Kenny Watson got two tickets. This game wasn’t played at Old Trafford: it had been bombed during the war and didn’t have floodlights yet. Manchester City’s Maine Road did so that’s where it took place. It was a bit of an adventure because we didn’t know where the hell it was. It was packed when we got there; 70,000 people, all standing. We were passed down to the front because, aged 13, we couldn’t see a thing from the back of the terraces.

United were 5-3 down from the first leg but there was an excitement in the air. I’d never seen foreign players before; they had a superb centre-half called Jesús Garay, who was incredible with his head. I can’t remember the first two goals going in. I remember Johnny Berry getting the winner though and wow, you’ve never heard anything like it. The whole place erupted. It was an amazing night.

There were some excellent players in that team. You had Roger Byrne marshalling the back and we also had some very slight players, like Eddie Colman; he’d swivel his hips and leave someone on his backside. Then you had Duncan Edwards. He hit the ball so hard. He was tremendous, he really was. It was a tragedy that he died, along with so many other players, as a result of the Munich air disaster. That happened a year to the day later.

Read the full story
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European football was a novelty. The manager, Matt Busby, had to petition the FA to allow United to play and so this was the first season that an English club had taken part.

My pal Kenny Watson got two tickets. This game wasn’t played at Old Trafford: it had been bombed during the war and didn’t have floodlights yet. Manchester City’s Maine Road did so that’s where it took place. It was a bit of an adventure because we didn’t know where the hell it was. It was packed when we got there; 70,000 people, all standing. We were passed down to the front because, aged 13, we couldn’t see a thing from the back of the terraces.

United were 5-3 down from the first leg but there was an excitement in the air. I’d never seen foreign players before; they had a superb centre-half called Jesús Garay, who was incredible with his head. I can’t remember the first two goals going in. I remember Johnny Berry getting the winner though and wow, you’ve never heard anything like it. The whole place erupted. It was an amazing night.

There were some excellent players in that team. You had Roger Byrne marshalling the back and we also had some very slight players, like Eddie Colman; he’d swivel his hips and leave someone on his backside. Then you had Duncan Edwards. He hit the ball so hard. He was tremendous, he really was. It was a tragedy that he died, along with so many other players, as a result of the Munich air disaster. That happened a year to the day later.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Greatest European Nights

My greatest European night

Philip Thornley, 75, looks back Manchester United's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the second leg of the 1957 European Cup quarter-final, the first season an English club had ever played in Europe

European football was a novelty. The manager, Matt Busby, had to petition the FA to allow United to play and so this was the first season that an English club had taken part.

My pal Kenny Watson got two tickets. This game wasn’t played at Old Trafford: it had been bombed during the war and didn’t have floodlights yet. Manchester City’s Maine Road did so that’s where it took place. It was a bit of an adventure because we didn’t know where the hell it was. It was packed when we got there; 70,000 people, all standing. We were passed down to the front because, aged 13, we couldn’t see a thing from the back of the terraces.

United were 5-3 down from the first leg but there was an excitement in the air. I’d never seen foreign players before; they had a superb centre-half called Jesús Garay, who was incredible with his head. I can’t remember the first two goals going in. I remember Johnny Berry getting the winner though and wow, you’ve never heard anything like it. The whole place erupted. It was an amazing night.

There were some excellent players in that team. You had Roger Byrne marshalling the back and we also had some very slight players, like Eddie Colman; he’d swivel his hips and leave someone on his backside. Then you had Duncan Edwards. He hit the ball so hard. He was tremendous, he really was. It was a tragedy that he died, along with so many other players, as a result of the Munich air disaster. That happened a year to the day later.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

European football was a novelty. The manager, Matt Busby, had to petition the FA to allow United to play and so this was the first season that an English club had taken part.

My pal Kenny Watson got two tickets. This game wasn’t played at Old Trafford: it had been bombed during the war and didn’t have floodlights yet. Manchester City’s Maine Road did so that’s where it took place. It was a bit of an adventure because we didn’t know where the hell it was. It was packed when we got there; 70,000 people, all standing. We were passed down to the front because, aged 13, we couldn’t see a thing from the back of the terraces.

United were 5-3 down from the first leg but there was an excitement in the air. I’d never seen foreign players before; they had a superb centre-half called Jesús Garay, who was incredible with his head. I can’t remember the first two goals going in. I remember Johnny Berry getting the winner though and wow, you’ve never heard anything like it. The whole place erupted. It was an amazing night.

There were some excellent players in that team. You had Roger Byrne marshalling the back and we also had some very slight players, like Eddie Colman; he’d swivel his hips and leave someone on his backside. Then you had Duncan Edwards. He hit the ball so hard. He was tremendous, he really was. It was a tragedy that he died, along with so many other players, as a result of the Munich air disaster. That happened a year to the day later.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

European football was a novelty. The manager, Matt Busby, had to petition the FA to allow United to play and so this was the first season that an English club had taken part.

My pal Kenny Watson got two tickets. This game wasn’t played at Old Trafford: it had been bombed during the war and didn’t have floodlights yet. Manchester City’s Maine Road did so that’s where it took place. It was a bit of an adventure because we didn’t know where the hell it was. It was packed when we got there; 70,000 people, all standing. We were passed down to the front because, aged 13, we couldn’t see a thing from the back of the terraces.

United were 5-3 down from the first leg but there was an excitement in the air. I’d never seen foreign players before; they had a superb centre-half called Jesús Garay, who was incredible with his head. I can’t remember the first two goals going in. I remember Johnny Berry getting the winner though and wow, you’ve never heard anything like it. The whole place erupted. It was an amazing night.

There were some excellent players in that team. You had Roger Byrne marshalling the back and we also had some very slight players, like Eddie Colman; he’d swivel his hips and leave someone on his backside. Then you had Duncan Edwards. He hit the ball so hard. He was tremendous, he really was. It was a tragedy that he died, along with so many other players, as a result of the Munich air disaster. That happened a year to the day later.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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