A group of Manchester United fans are walking from Oldham Athletic’s Boundary Park ground to Old Trafford to raise money in tribute to former Reds captain Roger Byrne.
The supporters have set up a new initiative called The Roger Byrne Gorton Memorial Fund (RBGMF), and are aiming to support charitable works in Gorton – the south-east area of Manchester where the United and England defender was born.
The walk from Boundary Park will begin at 9am on 10 December, pass Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and then reach Old Trafford, before heading back to The Royal Oak pub in Gorton for entertainment and fundraising.
Donations are invited via the group’s GoFundMe page, while all United fans are invited to join in the walk.
Organiser Brendan Bell told us:
“Roger, the captain of the Busby Babes, died in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster and we intend to ensure that his legacy is handed on to the future generations of the people of Gorton.
“We will endeavour, through raising charitable donations and through supporting the charitable works in Gorton, Manchester, to keep his memory preserved and enhanced.
“All monies from the sponsored walk will be going to local dementia care in the Gorton area, as well as wider dementia charities – something close to a lot of us Gorton lads.”
The RBGMF held its first fundraising event on 8 September – Roger’s birthday – and raised £2,750, which was donated to the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation, Abbey Hey Primary School (Roger’s former school), Francis House, Abbey Hey FC, the Association of Former Manchester United Players and Gorton Foodbank.
The hope is that the forthcoming 10-mile walk between two of Greater Manchester’s best-known football grounds will drive similar levels of support for the Gorton community.
Roger Byrne was born in 1929, and joined United in 1949, before making his debut for the first team in November 1951. He was the most experienced member of the legendary team that became known as the Busby Babes, leading the side to two titles in 1956 and 1957, before his tragic death at Munich, aged just 28. In addition to his 280 United appearances (20 goals), Byrne also appeared 33 times for his country and was expected to feature in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.