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29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Sat May 17, 2008 2:23 pm

FORTY YEARS AGO!!! Bloody hell,

The season had ended with us losing our Title to City, the general opinion was we threw it away, after having overcome Gornik Zabrze in the quarter finals, the team incidentally Matt said about at the start of the season "Whoever wins the European Cup is going to have to beat Gornik to do it"

But, after securing the tie 2-1 on aggregate it was like the League was treated as a way to get everyone match fit for the semi final against Real Madrid, the loss of Denis Law for the rest of the season due to another knee operation was a terrible blow, many people questioned Uniteds ability to get past Real without the Lawman, Real Madrids president at the time said, that although he was sad that Denis had such a crippling injury, he was relieved he wouldn't have to send his team out to face United with Denis in the side

Doubts grew after we beat Real 1-0 at Old Trafford, Matt said it was enough, everyone else, except my Dad said he was joking, we would get slaughtered out there, as for the League, it's hard to believe we scored ten goals in our last three games and still ended up on the losing side twice

To be honest nobody really cared when City won the Title, we were all too focused on the return leg, the general feeling was this was this teams last shot at it

Back in those days there was no live TV coverage of games, so when the second leg came round off went the TV and on went the radio for the second half commentary, there had been a good omen that morning, Dad had applied for 2 European Cup Final tickets back in October, direct from Wembley, they had come in that mornings post

We waited tensed for the radio to cross live to Madrid, and then came the news Half Time United were 3-1 down, our goal was an own goal, Dad blew a fuse, I was just about to say, "you can give my ticket away, I don't want it" something stopped me

Just as well, because as everyone knows United came back and we were through

*************************************************************************************************************
The night before the game, believe it or not, I slept like a Baby, funny, until the Liverpool games of recent years I've never sweated or been nervous over a match, never worried about the outcome, always been confident about the team, it's when the game starts I get the tension I was the same with this one

We got up early caught a train to London and by 11:30 Dad and me were walking down Tottenham Court Road, the train had been packed with United fans and it seemed like every train arriving at Euston was full of red and white, fans today may find it strange, but everywhere we went people were wishing us luck, newspaper sellers and barrow boys told us "Bring the Cup home United" We went into one shop to get something, the bloke had his front window decked out in Spurs stuff, behind the counter he was wearing a cardboard hat, the sort the Daily Express used to give away with "Manchester United" on it - the whole country was behind us

Down at Trafalgar Square we got talking to some United fans who had driven down, they told us that quite a few bridges on the motorway had banners and Union Jacks hanging over them wishing United luck - I would say this was probably be the last time the whole country was right behind and English club in Europe -

After wandering around London, doing the usual things, sight seeing etc we got to see one of the highlights of the day, Harold Wilson, The then Prime Minister came out of the front door of No 10 to wave to about 300 United fans who had apparently disrupted a Cabinet meeting with chants of "Wilson out, Busby in" with Jim Callaghan he spent about half an hour shaking hands and having his photo taken with people, Dad still has one that an American couple took of him with Harold, they got Dads name and address, promised to send him the photo and sure enough they did a few weeks later - Can't really see even the charismatic Mr Blaire mingled with footy fans these days

We eventually set off for the Stadium, the tubes were packed, years later I was to find out this was perfectly normal for London at 5 in the evening, during the day Dad and me hadn't had one cross word, which was unusual as I was an incredibly wise 14 year old and Dad was just plain dumb, but I ruined that, we were walking down Wembley Way, the crowds were pretty thick already, we had just seen some ticket touts get their heads kicked in and their tickets were now being given away to anyone who needed one when we heard another commotion

It was Police motorcycle outriders escorting the Benfica coach through, United fans stood and applauded the Benfica lads who waved and smiled back, one person, an idiot shouted "You won't be smiling later on" not saying who it was but he got a terrific backhander from his Dad, and told "You wont be going on that Stretford End next season"

The biggest worry was the programmes, I had to get 10 for lads at school, Dad had to get 10 for workmates, where would we find a Programme seller who would let us have 20 programmes? easy, the first one we asked, he had a ticket and wanted to sell up and get inside the ground, we walked around the ground for a bit, Dad started telling me about the Babes, he never talked about them much, but tonight he didn't stop, it was like he really wanted me to understand what this night meant to him, others, United and Matt and Jimmy

We went into the ground, for those who never went, the old Wembley was a dump, but there was one thing, it had something, I'd been once before, when an Uncle "Wigan Willie" dragged me along to watch the Rugby League Final a few years ago, he banned me for life Wigan went down 21 - 2 against St Helens

But you knew you were somewhere special, it just had that extra special aura, inside the ground we found our seats were almost directly in line with the edge of the penalty box, Dad was happy there, we were at the opposite end of the ground to the players tunnel and opposite the Royal Box

In front of us were the Benfica fans - and everywhere else Wembley was a sea of red and white, with a fair amount of blue, a lot of us had donned blue and white scarves to go with our red ones, and everywhere you looked there were United banners and flags, all totally banned from Wembley, we just stood watching in awe, there must have been 80,000 United fans in the ground --- minimum, next thing is Dad is talking to this couple behind us, they were Arsenal fans, the woman was telling Dad, "We saw their last match, we had to come tonight ---- for Duncan"

We just stood for awhile watching the singing and chanting coming from either end, it seemed strange to see the opposite ends of a football ground trying to sing the same song, or chant the same chant louder than the other, a lot of the time was spent in answering each other "United - Champions" or sending out questions "Who are the Greatest" - "United"

The teams came out amidst a cacophony of sound, the teams had been announced the day before United lined up Stepney, Brennan, Dunne, Crerand, Foulkes, Stiles, Best, Kidd, Charlton, Sadler, Aston - no subs back then except Jimmy Rimmer was stand in for Alex Stepney, and I didn't have to look that line up to check, like every United fan who was around at that time I have that team engraved on my heart

So the stage was set, it had been such a hot day, now it was a beautiful warm evening, everything was turning out perfectly

***************************************************************************************************************

The match got under way with United attacking our end of the pitch, and how we missed the King! Even Dad, who never criticised or singled out one player above the rest was furious at George and Sadler, I remember the exact words he said after ten minutes were repeated years later by Jimmy Murphy "This match should be over now" we had clear cut chances that if Denis was playing would have given us a 4 maybe 5 goal lead, we wiped the floor with Benfica in those first 10 minutes, Johnny Aston turned them inside out, and Bestie and Sadler muffed everything

Benfica then decided to kick us off the pitch, Aston and Best took some horrific punishment, George would have one player come flying in and try to hack him down, he would ride that tackle and then as he started to speed away another Benfica player would race after him and mercilessly chop him to the floor, then look at the ref pleading innocence - the match started to turn ugly, United players were going down off the ball, then Benfica would dive, I, and many others was disgusted by Eusebio that night, I always said he was a cheat after seeing him in the 66 World Cup, and that night he was proving it, Alan Ball had said "He's everyone's friend, shaking hands, smiling and patting you on the back, he's a fukkin conman, the refs think he's a gentleman and he gets away with everything"

He was, diving and dirty tackles, getting free kicks awarded to Benfica after they had hacked one of our lads down, it simmered and bubbled and finally blew up in the 38th minute, Nobby was incensed by Eusebio dropping Bestie with an elbow to the throat and then smiling and showing the ref he'd been fouled, he hammered Eusebio and off it went, the two teams went for it and an all in brawl started just outside the United penalty box, the stadium erupted in jeers and boos, the match restarted and the noise of whistling and booing was deafening

I can still remember sitting there with my scarves scrunched in my hands held up to my face and tears streaming down my face and just saying over and over, "It wasn't supposed to be like this, it was supposed to be a great night, not like this"

The fouls got worse and United gave up on trying to play football and started dishing it out to Benfica themselves, several more scuffles started and thankfully the half time whistle went and the teams walked off to a barrage of abuse

***************************************************************************************************************

I don't know exactly what Matt and Jimmy said in that dressing room, but we came out a different team in the second half, Benfica carried on with the diving and fouling for the first 5 minutes or so, but when they saw we weren't going to buy into it they settled down to just normal Portuguese cheating, but we were again starting to outplay them, and then in the 56th minute Bobby rose and with a glancing header United took the lead, we went mad, and so did the lads, we charged forward knowing another goal would sink Benfica, we just couldn't carve one out, several close calls, George was so unlucky on several occasions, Johnny Aston was playing the game of his life on the left wing, ripped them to shreds, but we still couldn't find the net,

The Benfica started to come back, they came close enough to start the nerves jangling in the 70th minute and they started getting closer, looking around at the number of United players who had their socks rolled down I was petrified we were tiring more than they were, the old Wembley pitch was notorious for sapping players strength, so far none of our lads had gone down with cramp, the big Wembley curse, but we were looking weary

Then around the 80th minute they scored, I think they heard the groan back in Manchester,

A non-stop chant of "United, United" echoed around Wembley as we tried to lift the team, I suddenly realised I wasn't sitting down any more, in fact I'd been standing on my seat since Bobby scored.

The came what looked like the end of the dream, Eusebio burst through for a second time, he'd been foiled a few minutes earlier, he wouldn't be foiled a second time, you could see that in the way he struck the ball, I think everyone of us in that stadium knew right then and there we'd lost the European Cup, it was a goal, he'd scored

Except we forgot about Alex Stepney

How he saved it I will never know, and unlike todays keepers he didn't just get his body in the way, or block the shot with his legs, he saved it and he held it! If he hadn't then the rebound would have been in the back of the net, Eusebio, cheat that he was, still happened to be one of the greatest footballers on the planet, he wouldn't have missed again

How we held on, again I don't know, but we did ............... nobody on this earth could have predicted what was coming next

***************************************************************************************************************

I was sitting down, completely drained, Dad had his arm around me, I felt terrible, I'd forgotten he was there, seems daft now, but for the first time in years I realised how much I loved him, more than any of those players out there, even Denis or Matt, I wanted United to win for Dad, all he did was tell me to make sure I washed my face before I got home, apparently it was dirty and tear stained,

The first period of extra time started, Benfica had a brief attack, nothing much, then they got a free kick in a dangerous position, it came to nothing, then as the ball was coming out Dad started grabbing my arm and pointing and shouting "George, George" and the ball came to him, he took it and beat his man and then brought out the keeper, he was right in front of us when he scored, I can still see him turning away before the ball had even crossed the line

It's an image I'll always have of George that goal, how he ran through, not looking at the ball, or his feet, head up looking at the way through the defence, I don't know why I remember that image from that game more than the others, we knew that's what he did, he never looked at the ball, or his feet, when he ran he always looked around, he seemed to know instinctively were the ball was

2-1, we had the bit between out teeth, we just surged forward, all the tiredness was gone, we were a fresh team, within one minute, came Kiddo's turn his first header came back out, he leapt again and it was 3-1, we were going beserk now, Dad was standing and shouting his head off, again we came another near miss, then it came out, then it went back, then it was cleared then we came again and there fittingly was Bobby with a sensational goal

4-1, we all seemed to sense that was it, there would be no more goals, the team seemed to slow right down, I was looking at the clock on the scoreboard and tried to add it up, was it only 9 minutes ago we started extra time?

At first we were all just singing and cheering, then when the ref blew the whistle for the end of the first 15 minutes it sunk in, this was our Trophy!

The whole ground erupted in unison to the chant "Champions of Europe" the Arsenal couple behind us were hugging Dad, then as the second half started the whole of Wembley rose to it's feet and the victory songs started, "We shall not be moved" "Who's that team we call United" and then the whole 100,000 crowd started belting out the loudest version of "When the Reds go marching in" I've ever heard, everyone was singing, I looked down and the Benfica fans were on their feet and clapping along, I don't remember much about the last part of the match, I do know I never wanted it to end, I kept looking around Wembley trying to mentally photograph every face, scarf and banner - what a shame we didn't have camera phones back then

When the final whistle went the place was mayhem, players and staff were on the pitch surrounded by cameramen, the flashbulbs were popping so much it was almost like a strobe out there

Dad was sitting down, head in his hands, crying, I looked around and he wasn't the only one, for a minute or so Wembley seemed to quieten down a bit, then it erupted again with the chant "Busby, Busby" from were we were we could sort of make out that the players were trying to force him to go up and accept the European Cup, he wouldn't, it was fitting that Bobby did, if Denis had been fit then it would have been his job, but knowing the Lawman he would have handed it over to Bobby or Bill Foulkes to go up

The rest of it was like a dream, seeing that oversized trophy held aloft, reflecting the flashes from the camera's, the lap of honour was brilliant, as the team got to our part of the ground they gave the Trophy to Nobby who repeated his World Cup dance right in front of us

***************************************************************************************************************

Leaving Wembley was such a wrench, but once we got outside it was mayhem, we joined a mile long conga line that danced down Wembley way, the tube back into the city was rocking with singing fans, and when we got to Trafalgar Square, what a sight, United fans were dancing and splashing in the fountains, the police were laughing as well, quite a few of them had United rosettes on that fans gave them, I kept looking at the fountain, it was a boiling hot night, I'd love to jump in with all the other fans, Dad would never let me

Where was he anyway? He was here just a second ago, I looked around and there he was, best suit and everything

In the bloody fountain!


One point of interest = A few days later London Police reported that during the day of the Final there was not one single United fan arrested, not one single report of vandalism, fighting or trouble of any sort, in fact they said apart from the huge celebrations it was one of the most peaceful London days on record

With the exception of 2 United fans who got let off with a warning for trying to take a City of Westminster Parking meter back home to Manchester as a souvenir


[center]THE STRETFORD END - EUSEBIO? WE SAY KIDDO[/center]

[right]25 Lounge Credits awarded by Administrator for this post[/right]



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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Sun May 18, 2008 5:20 am

that is a top post lawman
EUSEBIO? WE SAY KIDDO

thats top stuff

but giving it from a personal perspective added to the enjoyment
top post (Y)

can you give us more info though on the semi final?
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Sun May 18, 2008 8:07 am

GREAT READ MATE
[center]"It will be a very emotional day for me, to play one last time at Old Trafford in front of our amazing fans. I am going to savour every moment and I hope the fans and Manchester United can also share in my special day.”

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue May 20, 2008 10:37 am

amazing read, Lawman (Y)

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Wed May 21, 2008 5:53 pm

I hope we do it again tonight.
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue May 27, 2008 4:29 pm

Just finished watching the game, thanks to vuudu. (Y)

What a game.
Some things crossed my mind along the game.
A weird first half. A fantastic second half. And a glorious extra time.
Bobby Charlton, what a player, what a captain, respect. That first goal was pure class and perfection. Ronaldo's goal against Chelsea doesn't come close.
George Best. Unique. He made a fantastic game he scored a goal but, a play comes to my mind. In the 2nd half, in the right corner of Benfica box he passes beautifully by 3 players and shoots. The GK saves it and Sadler shoots again with GK saving it again with his feet. That play by Best was delicious. Special player.
Aston, fantastic performance. For me, he was the most dangerous man in the first 70 minutes. I was really impressed with his game. That lad deserved that Cup.
Nobby Stiles... I love him...
Last one Stepney. 2 or 3 World Class saves. That one against Eusébio when the game was 1-1, was out of this world. That was a torpedo by Eusébio, and Stepney hold it. :shock: . As Lawman said, it's hard to believe that he actually made that save.

As a Sporting fan, it's a joy to watch Benfica losing the European Cup Final against United.
Never the less, it would be wrong not to point a couple of good things in that team.
First, Eusébio played well, witch gives even more credit to United win. In the first half, when United was totally in control of the game he hit the bar from nowhere. That's the kind of player that change the game in a second. That shoot was terrific. He made a fine game everytime Stiles gave him some space, Witch was not offen... :D :D ... However, and I allready knew Lawman opinion on this issue, I can not say that he was a cheater. Yes, sometimes he went a little easier to the grown but other times that didn't happen. The play Lawman talks about was in my opinion a normal thing, Sadler and Bobby tried to tackle him at the same time, Eusébio doesn't go down and runs after the ball, meanwhile the ref blows the whistle and Eusébio crush violently against Crerand and not against Best. Yes, it was a violent play from Eusébio, and Stiles did make clear that it was off limits, but that happens in many games. What I can't say is that Eusébio cheated in that game. Imo, he didn't, and this comes from someone that doesn't like the God treatment that many Portuguese give to Eusébio.
Second, and most important thing. Eusébio was a great player, yes. But, imho, I think that the most important player in Benfica team was Coluna. Coluna his known as the great captain of Benfica and Portugal. That man was out of this world. He had 33 yo when he played this final, and imo he was the best player in the Benfica side. I saw some games that he did against my Sporting, and this game against United only confirms what I allready knew, he was a Great footballer. Respect to Coluna (the translation of his name says everything - column). He was, in those years, the strengh of Benfica and Portugal. Also a great captain, like Sir Bobby.

Well, as I said, it was with great pleasure that I watched that game. What more could I ask for, United won and Benfica lost.

Without no doubt, between the 3 European Cups, this was the most exceting game. Great players, great teams and a great win.

Btw Lawman, after watching the game and after reading your words, allthough I was not even born, I felt that I was there, in that day in Wenbley. An extraordinary inside view of that match. Thank you, your father and all the United fans for that extraordinary support.

UNITED

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue May 27, 2008 5:21 pm

Is the video posted somewhere? I'm dying to watch that game.
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue May 27, 2008 7:01 pm

Muziq wrote:Is the video posted somewhere? I'm dying to watch that game.
vuudu posted the following in the United related videos topic:
vuudu wrote:For the Oldies and the ancient ;) and those who appreciate history and those who are just plain bored
European cup final 1968 man utd v benfica
glorious summer night at Wembley
Watch Charlton, Law Best,Kidd, Aston against Augusto, Eusebio, Torres, Coluna, Simones among others.
This is not a direct download or a stream, it is a torrent. Come join the torrent world

Code: Select all

http://www.mininova.org/get/1437548

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue May 27, 2008 7:27 pm

Thanks Sergio, didn't notice it. I'll be sure to downloaded it even though I hate torrents :P
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue May 27, 2008 7:32 pm

Torrent not found...

The torrent you requested (number 1437548) does not exist in our database.

This could mean that:

* The torrent was old, and automatically removed by our system. This happens if no torrent activity is recorded for a while.
* The torrent was removed by one of our moderators, for example because we received complaints from users.
* We received a copyright takedown request, and removed the torrent in compliance with our copyright policy.
VUUDU!!!!

Help me please :P
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Wed May 28, 2008 7:36 am

1968

respect to that

one of our finest hours

(Y)
[center]"It will be a very emotional day for me, to play one last time at Old Trafford in front of our amazing fans. I am going to savour every moment and I hope the fans and Manchester United can also share in my special day.”

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[/center]

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Wed May 28, 2008 9:23 am

Xico wrote:
Muziq wrote:Is the video posted somewhere? I'm dying to watch that game.
vuudu posted the following in the United related videos topic:
vuudu wrote:For the Oldies and the ancient ;) and those who appreciate history and those who are just plain bored
European cup final 1968 man utd v benfica
glorious summer night at Wembley
Watch Charlton, Law Best,Kidd, Aston against Augusto, Eusebio, Torres, Coluna, Simones among others.
This is not a direct download or a stream, it is a torrent. Come join the torrent world

Code: Select all

http://www.mininova.org/get/1437548
the torrent has been removed, its not there anymore
Anywhere else to watch this game?
Can You Hear The Sound Of Drumming? Must Be The Victory Coming..
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Wed May 28, 2008 12:05 pm

This one works as at 11:04AM 28 May

European Cup Final 1968 - Man Utd v Benfica

Code: Select all

http://isohunt.com/torrent_details/43940811/?tab=summary
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:04 pm

I just saw this game on TV and I have to say, we talk about the trio Law, Charlton & Best but let me tell ya, we should be talking about Kidd & Aston as well because they were amazing in that game. Especially John Aston. Sometimes I wonder if he is ever gonna stop running because not only was he quick as hell, but he was clever in using his pace too.
w00t!

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:45 am

i am sorry vuduu but that one ain't available either......am searching for more tho'
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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:12 pm

ok i found one but thass taking for ages.

back to the topic.
Lawman...post of the month if not year mate. u got me next to tears on that one.,........'
"We saw their last match, we had to come tonight ---- for Duncan
"
that line got me from the very beginning. What an experience it must have been. i wonder if anyone has done a documentary of that win with fans' experiences like this one. i think it would make a brilliant film and i know i wld want to watch it. any budding film makers in the lounge??
brillinat writing lawman and can't wait for the match to download so i can watch the whole thing and read this again. thank you and thank your dad too for me.....for being a united man and making u one too
"I play to fight.....the idea of losing" - Le King Eric Cantona

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:21 am

i dont know why but after reading that ,i am crying on the inside .

if that makes any sense (Y)

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Re: 29th May 1968 Champions of Europe

Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:18 am

I just saw an extended highlights of the match on MUTV and damn players like best, aston, charlton, stiles, stepney were brilliant. Aston and Best ran the show on the wings although as the lawman's post said, the benefica players just kept hacking at them. Best seemed to lose it at one point. Best's goal was brilliantly taken. There was one goal that was rules off side i think. he was soo cheeky for that one but really good.
I thought Aston was the biggest threat for them cos he seemed to be be free of his man a lot of times and he had so many crosses in. Sadler sadly wasn't up to it. Then I remembered this post about Denis Law being injured. I was thinking he would have had a hat trick in the regulation 90 mins.
I also remember one incident where stiles (i think it was him, the short guy but looked like no one could mess with him), after a free kick was given against him fell down like he was fouled although no one was within a couple of feet of him. that was hilarious. By the end the united players gave it as good as they got.
Besides Aston, Charlton, Stiles and Best I will never forget Stepney. What a brilliant keeper he must have been. He had more than 2-3 brilliant saves that you hardly get to see from some of the best keepers of our time. His save from Eusebio was unbelieveable. Even on the black and white footage I thought it was already going in. He also saved a heard on his left side. The best part about him was that he held on to the ball instead of punching it away. What a team! I almost cried when they showed Busby walking out and then Chalrton hugs him and hugs him again. What a feeling it must have been for them.
"I play to fight.....the idea of losing" - Le King Eric Cantona

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