The passage to Wembley came to signify United's resilience, an inner spirit that could never be destroyed. The distinguished sight of Sir Bobby Charlton sitting in the stands at Old Trafford on Saturday will stir particular reminiscences; having recovered from his Munich injuries, Charlton unleashed two specials in the 2-2 Villa Park meeting with Fulham, a team inspired by Johnny Haynes and Jimmy Hill.
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Slightly strangely, the replay was staged at Highbury on a Wednesday afternoon, hardly ideal for followers of United.
One fan, John Russell, journeyed down on the train, determined to show his support.
"Outside Highbury we met Albert Scanlon, a crash survivor, and he looked dreadful,'' recalls Russell.
"He was on crutches, white as a sheet, his head still bound from wounds incurred, his face scarred. Amazingly, he played again the following season, as bouncy as before.''
Testament to United's character came in a 5-3 classic win, including another Charlton rocket, sweeping United to Wembley. Different times, different personnel but United's toughness endures.