Monday, April 6, 2020 | ePaper

Gregg, former Man United player and Munich hero, dies at 87

  • Print


AP, London :
Harry Gregg, a former Manchester United goalkeeper called the "hero of Munich" for rescuing two teammates as well as a baby and her pregnant mother from the burning fuselage in the 1958 air disaster that killed 23 people, has died. He was 87.
Gregg died peacefully in a hospital, surrounded by family, The Harry Gregg Foundation said Monday.
A former Northern Ireland international, Gregg spent nine years with Manchester United after joining as the world's most expensive goalkeeper in 1957. He played 247 times for the club, including in a victory in an FA Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday 13 days after the air crash in February 1958.
The team was returning from a European Cup game when their airplane crashed after refueling in Munich. Gregg escaped the wreckage, having sustained only a bloody nose, but returned on two occasions to help teammates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet and then a 20-month-old girl and her badly injured mother.
Gregg also helped revive United manager Matt Busby, who survived the disaster. Eight United players died in the crash.
"He will always be remembered for what he did at Munich," Charlton was quoted as saying by the BBC, "but on top of that he was a really great goalkeeper."
In his autobiography, called "Harry's Game," Gregg said the air disaster in Munich "established my identity" but "the notoriety has come at a price."
"For Munich has cast a shadow over my life which I found difficult to dispel," he wrote.
United said Gregg's contribution to United "could never be underestimated."
"Although it has been said many times before, we will not see his like again," the club said. "In short, he was, without question, one of the great figures in United's history and his name and deeds, both on and off the field, will always be remembered and revered."
Gregg was part of the team rebuilt by Busby after the Munich disaster but never won a medal with United, injury having ruled him out of the win over Leicester in the 1963 FA Cup final and restricting his appearances in two title-winning campaigns , in 1964-65 and 1966-67.
"A real tough nut," United said of its former 'keeper, "Gregg was vocal, commanding and abrasive."
He left Old Trafford for a brief spell at Stoke before an underwhelming managerial career, when he was in charge of Shrewsbury, Swansea, Crewe and Carlisle.
Gregg played 25 times for Northern Ireland, including at the 1958 World Cup, when he was selected as the best goalkeeper in the competition.
When Windsor Park in Belfast was officially reopened following development in 2016, Gregg was afforded a warm on-field ovation by the fans as well as meeting boxing champion Carl Frampton and golfer Rory McIlroy.
Four years earlier, then-United manager Alex Ferguson brought a full-strength squad to Windsor Park to face an Irish League XI in honor of Gregg, whose career at United ended without a testimonial.
In his program notes, Ferguson described Gregg as "beyond legendary" and "a most reluctant hero."
Gregg was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours.


More News For this Category

 Neymar donates $1m to fight coronavirus

Neymar donates $1m to fight coronavirus

AFP, Rio De Janeiro :Neymar has donated $1 million to fight the impact of the new coronavirus in his native Brazil, according to TV network SBT.The Paris Saint-Germain star, the

FIFA cancels all June internationals over virus

All international football matches scheduled for June were postponed on Friday following the first meeting of FIFA's coronavirus working group. It was also decided to hold discussions with confederations to

Former Ivory Coast defender Ignace Guidy dies aged 64

Former Ivory Coast international Ignace Guidy has died at the age of 64, AFP learned on Thursday from a friend of Didier Drogba, who offered his support to the grieving

Premier League stars in firing line over taking pay cut

Premier League stars in firing line over taking pay cut

The Premier League's highly-paid players have become an unwilling target amid the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with government officials wading in to tell stars to take pay

Wimbledon chief fears 'no more tennis this year'

Wimbledon chief Richard Lewis admitted on Thursday that he feared the remainder of the 2020 tennis season could be wiped out.Tennis has been in lockdown since early last month and

China-based Donadoni fears for family in Italian coronavirus hotspot

China-based Donadoni fears for family in Italian coronavirus hotspot

Roberto Donadoni should be in the thick of China's football season but his thoughts are consumed by the suffering that the coronavirus has brought to his hometown in northern Italy.Nearly

Cummins in 'holding pattern' as IPL season in doubt

Cummins in 'holding pattern' as IPL season in doubt

Australia's leading fast bowler Pat Cummins said COVID-19 lockdowns would make it "tight" for the big-money Indian Premier League (IPL) to go ahead this month as planned, leaving some of

Suarez 'hurt' by criticism of Barca players' pay cut delay

Suarez 'hurt' by criticism of Barca players' pay cut delay

AFP, Montevideo:Uruguay star Luis Suarez complained on Thursday that he has been "hurt" by criticism of him and fellow millionaire Barcelona players for the time it took to agree to

'I struggled to breathe': Dybala reveals coronavirus nightmare

'I struggled to breathe': Dybala reveals coronavirus nightmare

AFP, Milan :Juventus star Paulo Dybala revealed Friday how he "struggled to breathe" after contracting coronavirus which has killed over 9,000 people in Italy.The Argentine international announced last Saturday he

UEFA chief says season can still be saved

The head of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) said European football leagues were still looking at all options and not ruling out finishing this season-if the coronavirus pandemic subsides."We