|Birth: ||Mar. 7, 1933|
County Antrim, Northern Ireland
|Death: ||Sep. 2, 1998|
John "Jackie" Blanchflower, was a Northern Ireland football player. He graduated from Manchester United's youth system and played for the club on 117 occasions, before his career was cut short due to injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster.
He was the younger brother of Danny Blanchflower, the captain of the Tottenham Hotspur side that dominated English football in the early 1960s.
Blanchflower's first appearance in a professional game was for Manchester United on 24 November 1951 against Liverpool, away at Anfield. He helped the club to two league titles during the 1950s.
Nicknamed "Twiggy" by his teammates, he was renowned for his versatility. Initially, he played many games as a forward, but the Manchester United manager at the time, Matt Busby recognised his intelligent positioning sense and aerial power and chose to play him at centre-half. He scored 27 goals during his time at the club.
On 6 February 1958, the Manchester United team that had travelled to Belgrade for the second leg of a European cup tie had their chartered plane stop in Munich to refuel. Weather conditions caused the plane to crash when the pilot attempted to take-off from Munich airport and 23 of the 43 passengers on board were killed.
Jackie Blanchflower was severely injured, suffering from a fractured pelvis and arms and legs, and crushed kidneys, and his right arm was nearly severed. He was in hospital for two months and was read the last rites in the early days, but survived.
He tried to return to football, but never made a full recovery. Doctors advised him not to return to football due to fears he would damage his kidney and, a year later, Blanchflower retired from football. The Munich air disaster had ended his short career at the age of just 24, having earned 12 caps for Northern Ireland.
By January 1959, Blanchflower was on the dole. Louis Edwards offered him a job in his meat factory, loading pies on to lorries, but he declined.
Among the succession of jobs Blanchflower undertook were running a sweets and newspaper shop, working for a bookmaker, a pub landlord, a printer, and, following studies, an accountant in the Greater Manchester Youth Association. He later became an after-dinner speaker and was a regular on the after-dinner circuits until just before his death in 1998.
A longtime resident of Stalybridge, Jackie died from cancer on 2 September 1998, aged 65, survived by his three children.
(Of the players to have survived the Munich tragedy, he was the second to die, following Johnny Berry, who died in 1994.)
Created by: Kris Burns, UK
Record added: May 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69828558
Kris Burns, UK
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