Football has been marred by disastrous and tragic incidents in several occasions. On 6th February, 1958 several Manchester United players nick named "Busby Babes” died in the infamous Munich Air Disaster while returning from a European Cup game against Red Star Belgrade.

In April 1955, UEFA established the European Cup, However, the English league winners, Chelsea, were denied entry by the Football League's secretary, Alan Hardaker, who believed not participating was best for English football. The following season, the English league was won by Manchester United, managed by Matt Busby. The Football League again denied their champions entry, but Busby and his chairman, Harold Hardman, with the help of the Football Association's chairman Stanley Rous, defied the league and United became the first English team to play in Europe. The team nick named the "Busby Babes" for their youth – reached the semi-finals, beaten there by the eventual winners, Real Madrid. Winning the First Division title again that season meant qualification for the 1957–58 tournament, and their cup run in 1956–57 meant they were one of the favourites to win. Domestic league matches were on Saturdays and European matches midweek, so, although air travel was risky, it was the only choice if United were to fulfil their league fixtures.

After overcoming Shamrock Rovers and Dukla Prague in the preliminary and first round respectively, United were drawn with Red Star Belgrade of Yugoslavia for the quarter-finals. After beating them 2–1 at Old Trafford on 14 January 1958, the club was to travel to Yugoslavia for the return leg on 5 February. On the way back from Prague in the previous round, fog over England prevented the team from flying back to Manchester, so they flew to Amsterdam before taking the ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich and then the train to Manchester. The trip took its toll on the players and they drew 3–3 with Birmingham City at St Andrew's three days later. Eager not to miss Football League fixtures, and not to have a difficult trip again, the club chartered a British European Airways plane from Manchester to Belgrade for the away leg against Red Star.The match was drawn 3–3 but it was enough to send United to the semi-finals. The plane landed in Munich for refuelling It then crashed on its third attempt to take off from a snowy runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany. The entire football team and the fans were devastated and traumatized as the club were hit by severe damage.