Manchester United Munich Air Disaster Hero Harry Gregg Dies at 87

Ross Houston
February 18, 2020

He was back playing for Manchester United just 13 days later against Sheffield Wednesday.

"It is with great sorrow that we inform of the death of Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Harry Gregg, OBE", a message on the Harry Gregg Foundation Facebook page said.

In the immediate aftermath of the Munich Air Disaster, the goalkeeper saved the lives of Dennis Viollet and Bobby Charlton, as well as a 20-month old baby and her badly injured, pregnant mother.

Tragically, eight United players lost their lives.

"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".

"Bravery is one thing but what Harry did was about more than bravery", Best wrote in the foreword to Gregg's autobiography in 2002. We would ask that the privacy of the family is respected at this hard time.

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".

Gregg also played for Doncaster Rovers and Stoke City, and had spells as a manager at Shrewsbury Town, Swansea City, Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle United between 1968 and 1987.

Gregg, a Northern Ireland worldwide, helped rescue some of his teammates and other passengers on board the plane which came down in Munich as United travelled back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade on February 6, 1958.

Gregg and his family moved to Coleraine after he was born in Tobermore and he excelled as a player for his hometown club before moving to England. In June 1995, Gregg was awarded an MBE, later receiving an OBE in 2019.

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