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Kenny Morgans

Former Busby Babe;

Born: March 15, 1939; Died: November 18, 2012.

Kenny Morgans, the former Manchester United player who has died aged 73, was often referred to as The Ninth Victim of Munich. He escaped from the infamous air crash in Germany in 1958, but his career never recovered and for the rest of his life he suffered survivor's guilt over the fact he lived while so many of his team-mates died.

At 18 years old, Morgans was the youngest player on the plane and one of eight players who survived the crash. Two of them never played again but most went on to achieve great success, including Bobby Charlton who went on to win over 100 England caps.

Morgans's survival was a close-run thing. His name was over-looked in the search for survivors and it was only by chance, five hours after the crash, he was discovered. He had been a member of the players' "card school" sitting at a table in the centre of the aircraft. After the second abortive take-off, he and Bill Foulkes moved from the centre to the back, a move which meant they survived while passengers further forward died.

When the plane crashed, Morgans was thrown backwards into the cargo hold, losing consciousness and lying under a wheel in the hold, until discovered by two cameramen returning to the wreckage to retrieve film from the hold.

He was told, while in hospital in Munich, if he hadn't been found then, he would surely have died from hypothermia overnight.

After the crash, Morgans returned to the United team, being voted Man of the Match as United lost to AC Milan in the European Cup semi-final, but he was left out of the team which faced Bolton Wanderers in the 1958 FA Cup Final and his career never recovered.

He remained at Old Trafford for a further three seasons, but made only four appearances, meaning that in all he played just 23 games for the club following his debut against Leicester City in December 1957.

He returned to his native Swansea and Swansea Town, where Matt Busby found him as a 15-year-old tearing the United defence apart in an FA Youth Cup tie. He played in the United sides which won the same competition in 1956 and 1957, with Morgans captaining the latter squad.

The squads were truly a band of brothers and, as he himself admitted, losing so-many friends in the snow and slush of Munich had killed his joy at playing football. He played barely 60 games for the Swans before moving to Newport County, playing 130 games for that club before retirement in 1967.

Back in Swansea, he married Stephanie, his fiancee at the time of the Munich crash.

He ran a pub for a decade but hadn't totally forsaken football; he was part-time manager of Cwmbran Town for a spell, before becoming a ship chandler, the career he followed until his retirement.

Some of the Munich survivors felt United didn't look after them as well as they might have, but Morgans remained a fan of the club until his death. He was guest of honour at the United Former Players Association's 25th anniversary dinner.

The likelihood is he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following the crash but that condition was unknown in 1958 and he received no help. A potentially brilliant career was stillborn.

He is survived by Stephanie, his wife of more than 50 years, and a family including a great-grandson with whom he would play park football in his 70s.

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