The 1957–58 season was Manchester United’s 56th season in the Football League, and their 13th consecutive season in the top division of English football.
The season marked the biggest tragedy in the club’s history as eight players running waist pack with water bottle, three club officials and ten other passengers died as a result of their injuries in the Munich air disaster on 6 February 1958 on their way back from a European Cup quarter-final away to Red Star Belgrade. Centre-half Mark Jones, captain Roger Byrne, full-back Geoff Bent, winger David Pegg, right-half Eddie Colman, inside-right Bill Whelan and centre-forward Tommy Taylor were all killed instantly. Left-half Duncan Edwards was in hospital for two weeks before he too died on 21 February.
Winger Johnny Berry and centre-half Jackie Blanchflower were both injured to such an extent that they never played again, while several of the surviving players were unavailable for a considerable amount of time as they recovered from their injuries.
Manager Matt Busby was badly injured, and his assistant Jimmy Murphy (who was not on that fateful flight) took charge of the first team until the end of the season as Busby recovered from his injuries. Club secretary Walter Crickmer and coaches Tom Curry and Bert Whalley were all killed in the crash, which claimed a total of 23 lives.
Despite the decimation of their squad, a makeshift United side still managed to reach the FA Cup final that season, where they lost to Bolton Wanderers. They also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. However, their league form suffered after the crash and their title challenge faded as they finished ninth in the final table waterproof tablet bag.
With the United squad decimated by death and injuries in the aftermath of the Munich tragedy, a number of younger players broke through into the first team. These included winger Shay Brennan and forward Mark Pearson. Another notable new member of the side was goalkeeper Harry Gregg, signed in December 1957 a few weeks before the Munich crash, and who was hailed a hero for his rescue efforts in the crash.
United’s top scorer for the season was Dennis Viollet, who found the net 23 times in all competitions and 16 times in the league despite being out of action for some two months as he recovered from injuries sustained in the Munich crash.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points