The legendary Shtip born Yugoslav player every anniversary remembers with tears in his eyes that he was the man that could have changed history with just one goal. And save the lives of the Manchester United players that died in the Munich plane crash.
photo: Dragoslav Šekularac
The popular Šeki is half-Macedonian half-Montenegrin being born in Macedonia to a Macedonian mother and a Montenegrin father. Today he lives in Serbian capital city of Belgrade. His last visit to Shtip was in June 2017 when Bregalnica and Crvena Zvezda played a friendly match in his honor.
In an interview for Serbian TV channel RTS, Dragoslav Šekularac repeated what he always have said, that his missed chance sealed the fate of the Busby Babes.
“It was an unbelievable game. Manchester had a 3:0 lead and then we managed to equalize but we also had opportunities for a complete turn around. The biggest chance was the one I had, it was a 100% chance! But, I missed and they went to the semis.”
Back then the rules were different than today’s. Manchester United had defeated Crvena Zvezda 2:1 at home and with a 4:3 defeat a third game would have been played because there was no away goal rule. That game would have taken place just a couple of days later in Belgrade. Instead, United went into the semifinals of the 1957/58 UEFA Champions Cup.
“In that case they wouldn’t have headed home from Belgrade… Who knows how many times I have said to myself ‘Eh, Šeki, how the hell did you not become a better scorer, all those lads would have been alive if you netted that chance’.”
But Dragoslav wasn’t the only one that missed a great chance as Jovan Cokić had two as big opportunities for scoring that day.
“We were great friends with those players. All of them were nice and with good manners, true English gentlemans. After the game I went out with Bobby Charlton and deceased Tommy Taylor to the Metropol club and we had a great night. Because of that generation I have a great respect for Manchester United and even today at my home I don’t have a photo of me but instead I have one of that team that perished that 6th February in Munich.”
The infamous Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958 when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at München-Riem Airport, West Germany. Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene, among them 8 players and 2 coaches. Two surviving players could never play football again.