How Small Town America Covered News Of The Munich Air Disaster


The Munich air disaster in 1958 devastated the soccer world after a plane carrying the Manchester United team crashed killing 23 of the 44 passengers on board, many of them United players and personnel.

While the crash sent shockwaves through Great Britain and the soccer community, the news was also covered in the United States.

To my surprise, I found that the news article was the cover story in the St. Petersburg Independent newspaper on Thursday, February 6, 1958. The paper ran the following headline on its cover, “Airliner With Soccer Champs Crashes, Sets Houses Afire.”

The choice of words for the headline, focusing on houses in flames and relegating the news about 20 being killed, was a poor decision. But it’s still impressive at least to see a small town American newspaper reporting on a soccer-related tragedy instead of banishing it to the back pages of the publication.

I found the St. Petersburg Independent newspaper by searching through the Google News Archives, which recently added newspaper stories from around the world to its archives. The St. Petersburg Independent, a Florida newspaper near Tampa, is no longer in business.

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