Harry Gregg (1932-2020)

raetsel

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2017
Messages
9,899

Regardless of your sporting allegiances, it would be churlish not to admire former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who died in Coleraine yesterday, aged 87. surrounded by his family. Harry was one of those genuine heroes on and off the pitch, who risked his life to save numerous people in the wreckage of the 1958 Munich air crash, including, Bobby Charlton, Matt Busby, and a two year old Yugoslav child. He was a modest, unassuming and dignified man whose reflective tone when interviewed about the tragedy later focused on his grief for those who died rather than his own heroic actions, which he invariably underplayed.
 


owedtojoy

Moderator
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
50,931

Regardless of your sporting allegiances, it would be churlish not to admire former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who died in Coleraine yesterday, aged 87. surrounded by his family. Harry was one of those genuine heroes on and off the pitch, who risked his life to save numerous people in the wreckage of the 1958 Munich air crash, including, Bobby Charlton, Matt Busby, and a two year old Yugoslav child. He was a modest, unassuming and dignified man whose reflective tone when interviewed about the tragedy later focused on his grief for those who died rather than his own heroic actions, which he invariably underplayed.
I was young at the time of the Munich air crash, but followed the Man U saga in school. I remember being let stay up to watch United beat Benfica in the European Cup Final, which was that team's proudest moment. Gregg was not with United then, having been transferred. He was unlucky in winning medals, sometimes missing finals through injury, going from his Wikipedia biography.

However, Harry Gregg will always be remembered as one of the great players Ireland (in this case Northern Ireland) contributed to English football. And he will be inseparable from the heroic Manchester United/ Matt Busby saga.
 

rainmaker

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
23,986

Regardless of your sporting allegiances, it would be churlish not to admire former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who died in Coleraine yesterday, aged 87. surrounded by his family. Harry was one of those genuine heroes on and off the pitch, who risked his life to save numerous people in the wreckage of the 1958 Munich air crash, including, Bobby Charlton, Matt Busby, and a two year old Yugoslav child. He was a modest, unassuming and dignified man whose reflective tone when interviewed about the tragedy later focused on his grief for those who died rather than his own heroic actions, which he invariably underplayed.
Indeed, a very class act. No stranger to tragedy in his personal life either I read, losing his first wife very young and a grown up daughter to the same disease.

A hero for any age.
 

raetsel

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2017
Messages
9,899
I was young at the time of the Munich air crash, but followed the Man U saga in school. I remember being let stay up to watch United beat Benfica in the European Cup Final, which was that team's proudest moment. Gregg was not with United then, having been transferred. He was unlucky in winning medals, sometimes missing finals through injury, going from his Wikipedia biography.

However, Harry Gregg will always be remembered as one of the great players Ireland (in this case Northern Ireland) contributed to English football. And he will be inseparable from the heroic Manchester United/ Matt Busby saga.
I was too young to remember Munich, but recall their European Cup win ten years later pretty well still. It's hard to fathom the fact that they were relegated just six years later.
I went to my first English League game in Old Trafford in 1972, when much of that squad were still together, to see them play Spurs with some Man United supporting friends. The rot had set in at that stage and Spurs won 1-4, with Martin Peters scoring all 4 for the visitors.
It's also hard to believe that Bobby Charlton ended up playing for Waterford in the League of Ireland a couple of years later, when he was supposedly on £500 a game. The days when fading former world class titans of the game ended their careers playing in Ireland are long gone. :)
 

Glenshane4

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
10,129
It's also hard to believe that Bobby Charlton ended up playing for Waterford in the League of Ireland a couple of years later, when he was supposedly on £500 a game. The days when fading former world class titans of the game ended their careers playing in Ireland are long gone. :)
For the same reason very few international footballers make themselves available for international duty while in their thirties. They just do not need the money. The modern day equivalents of Bobby Charlton do not need to earn money playing football in Ireland (or in the lower divisions of English football) when their best playing years are gone. Most of them are multi-millionaires long before they reach the age of 30.
 

between the bridges

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
45,510
West Germany striker Uwe Seeler likening Gregg to a "springing panther".

 

raetsel

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2017
Messages
9,899
For the same reason very few international footballers make themselves available for international duty while in their thirties. They just do not need the money. The modern day equivalents of Bobby Charlton do not need to earn money playing football in Ireland (or in the lower divisions of English football) when their best playing years are gone. Most of them are multi-millionaires long before they reach the age of 30.
The money is of course what changed everything. All the players from that era had to work to earn a living after their football careers ended. Bobby Charlton became a travel agent. I recall seeing him again in 1982 or '83 on the tarmac of Malaga airport obviously awaiting a planeload of holiday-makers as we landed. It was pretty surreal, and many of the passengers on the plane I was on were gob-smacked.
West Germany striker Uwe Seeler likening Gregg to a "springing panther".

I googled Uwe Seeler as I wasn't sure whether he was still alive, (or whether that quote was from the past) and was surprised to learn that he turned out for Cork Celtic just once, in 1978 against Shamrock Rovers and despite being thumped 6-2 he scored both Cork's goals. He was another giant of the game who lined out against Charlton in the 1966 WC final.
 

JacquesHughes

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
1,346
Great to see the old footage of Harry Gregg keeping goal without gloves.

He seems to have been quite a bloke- an unsung hero, and role model- possibly eclipsed by George Best. It's as if they were completely different generations.
 

The OD

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 10, 2005
Messages
11,923
Vaguely aware of him as I wouldn't be a big soccer fan but heard an interview with him about the Munich plane crash and he sounded like a proper hero.

RIP Harry.
 

wombat

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
34,581
Good to be reminded of what the word "brave" means, its widely abused in football commentaries. RIP.
 

Round tower

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2011
Messages
8,050
In the 90's their was a football question often asked
What PL player survived the Munich Air disaster?
Ans. - John Lukic which was not possible as he was born nearly 2 years afterwards. Their was a Mrs Lukic who with a young Daughter survived the crash

RIP Harry, a legend both on and off the pitch
 


Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top