|Duncan Edwards was famously the only player who made Bobby Charlton, another Manchester United legend, feel inferior.
He played fewer than 200 times for United and England, and scored only 26 top-level goals – yet was labelled the "most complete footballer in Britain – maybe the world” by his manager Matt Busby, while Tommy Docherty said that there was no doubt in his mind “that Duncan would have become the greatest player ever - not just in British football with United and England, but the best in the world.”
Sir Bobby Charlton said Edwards would have been a central figure in English football in the decade ahead. “Without question he would have played in the 1966 World Cup and been England captain,” he said. But Duncan Edwards did not even live to celebrate his 22nd birthday, the eighth and last player to die as a result of the Munich air disaster in February 1958, as the team returned from a European Cup tie in Yugoslavia. Had he lived, he would have been celebrating his 75th birthday on 1 October 2011.
Duncan Edwards is remembered in Manchester and in his home town of Dudley in the West Midlands.
In the Manchester United Museum at Old Trafford, a gallery tells the story of the Munich disaster and remembers the players, officials, newspaper reporters and airline staff who were among the 23 who lost their lives in the crash, or in its aftermath – like Duncan Edwards, who died 15 days later of his injuries.
Poignant exhibits include the telegram Duncan Edwards sent to his landlady in Manchester just before the plane’s previous failed take-off and illuminating newspaper coverage of the tragedy. There is no shortage of pictures and audio memories.
Duncan Edwards is one of the players given pride of place in the gallery of United stars in the museum - with his strip from the 1957 FA Cup Final among items on show. He has equal prominence with Sir Alex Ferguson on the certificate given to those who take part in an Old Trafford tour, with the ‘holy trinity’ of Denis Law, Charlton and George Best, and Sir Matt Busby, in between them.
Elsewhere in the ground, the tragedy is remembered by the Munich tunnel, the old south tunnel that was re-named in 2008, and a memorial plaque and clock.
A blue plaque was unveiled earlier this year at the house at Stretford in Manchester where Duncan Edwards lived when he was playing for United.
In the West Midlands, the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery includes Duncan Edwards’ first England shirts, his England caps, and a collection of programmes featuring him, as well as photographs, paintings and trophies. A special gallery is devoted to Duncan Edwards and other local sporting heroes.
A statue in Dudley town centre was unveiled in 1999 by his mother Sarah and Sir Bobby Charlton. Duncan Edwards was buried in Dudley Cemetery, where his grave (pictured) is usually adorned with red scarves. His funeral took place at St Francis’ Church on the Priory estate, where two stained glass windows commemorate his life.