Manchester United today posted the following on their website regarding Alex Stepney attending the memorial service in Munich for Franz Beckenbauer:

Manchester United’s legendary goalkeeper Alex Stepney today (Friday) led the club’s representation at the memorial service of Franz Beckenbauer at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Before the ceremony, Stepney visited Manchesterplatz, the site of the 1958 Munich Air Disaster, to lay a wreath for his team-mate and friend Sir Bobby Charlton and their great on-pitch rival Beckenbauer.

Bayern Munich legend Beckenbauer passed away this month at the age of 78, three months after Sir Bobby died aged 86, representing a huge loss for European football of two of its greatest figures.

Stepney, who won the European Cup with United in 1968, later joined the memorial service for Beckenbauer at Bayern’s stadium, which was attended by many greats of world football – including former United and Bayern star Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Stepney’s career crossed paths with Beckenbauer on a number of occasions, including when he was on the bench at the famous 1970 World Cup quarter-final in Mexico. In that game, England manager Alf Ramsey made the fateful decision to bring Charlton off with England 2-0 up, only for a German revival spearheaded by Beckenbauer, who scored the first goal for Germany in their 3-2 win.

Later in their careers, Stepney and ‘Kaiser’ Franz faced each other again, this time in the North American Soccer League when Stepney’s Dallas Tornado met the all-star New York Cosmos in the semi-final. Stepney remembers the grace of Beckenbauer and his New York Cosmos team-mates. Stepney’s Dallas lost over the two legs, despite a victory in New York, becoming the first team to beat Beckenbauer’s team that season.

Manchester United and Bayern Munich have always been united by a special bond forged following the Munich Air Disaster and, speaking after the memorial service, Stepney said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be here today to represent Manchester United and all of the team-mates I played with who had such admiration for the great Franz Beckenbauer – not least our dear Sir Bobby Charlton.

“I was also humbled to lay a wreath at the crash site to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives on that terrible night in February 1958, and to remember Sir Bobby, who was the last remaining survivor.

“It was especially poignant that, at the moment I laid the wreath, snowflakes started to fall. It was exceptionally moving.”

The card on the wreath read: United forever – paying tribute to football legends Sir Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer. From Alex and all at Manchester United.