Manchester United legend Harry Gregg OBE has died peacefully in hospital aged 87.
Gregg was known as “The Hero of Munich” for his actions in the Munich air disaster, pulling his teammates – including Bobby Charlton, Jackie Blanchflower and Dennis Viollet – from the burning plane and tending to the wounds of manager Sir Matt Busby.
He also helped Vera Lukić, the pregnant wife of a Yugoslav diplomat and her two-year-old daughter.
Gregg at the Munich Air Disaster 50th Anniversary Memorial Service in 2008.
The Northern Ireland international played 247 times for the Red Devils and kept 48 clean sheets.
One of those clean sheets came just 13 days after the Munich disaster when he lined up alongside fellow survivor Bill Foulkes in a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Fellow countryman George Best, who used to clean Gregg’s boots, said, ‘Bravery is one thing but what Harry did was about more than bravery.’
The March 1958 Manchester United lineup: Bobby Harrop, Ian Greaves, Freddie Goodwin, Harry Gregg, Stan Crowther, Ronnie Cope, Seamus Brennan, Jack Crompton (trainer), Alec Dawson, Mike Pearson, Billy Foulkes (captain), Ernie Taylor, Colin Webster, and Bill Inglis (assistant trainer). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images).
Gregg played 25 times for Northern Ireland and was voted the best goalkeeper of the tournament in the 1958 World Cup.
Despite being one of United’s greatest ever keepers, he never won a medal. He was injured when United beat Leicester City 3-1 in the 1963 FA Cup final and a series of injuries in 1964-65 meant that Gregg didn’t play enough games to qualify for a league championship medal.
Tributes have been pouring in for the much loved man.
Sir Bobby Charlton said ‘Harry was a fantastic goalkeeper, but more importantly he was an incredible human being. I was proud to call him a teammate. For all the matter of fact things Harry said about that night in Munich for me he will always be remembered as a heroic figure.’
Sir Alex Ferguson said ‘Harry was a man of great character and a true legend at our club. I loved his company and the many pieces of advice he gave me.’
The Harry Gregg foundation was set up in 2015 to ‘inspire young people to follow in Harry’s footsteps and live the dream’.
Our condolences go to the family and friends of the great man at this sad time.
R.I.P: Harry Gregg, 27 October 1932 – 16 February 2020