Manchester United old boys heap praise on Gregg
Two former Manchester United stars paid their own tributes to legendary Old Trafford goalkeeper Harry Gregg on his Testimonial night at Windsor Park.
Pat Crerand — who played alongside Gregg as well as the great George Best — and Sammy McIlroy were both in Belfast to enjoy the occasion as Sir Alex Ferguson brought virtually a full strength first-team squad to take on an Irish League select side.
“This is a tribute that is well deserved,” said Crerand.
“Harry was a great goalkeeper, but he is also a great man and great friend.
“I was single and on my own when I signed for Manchester United, but he looked after me and we ended up as neighbours.
“For the club to do this for one of their former players shows just what they think of him and it's a great honour for Harry that Sir Alex Ferguson made sure this game happened and made sure the full first-team squad was here.”
The current United players, who honoured Gregg with a stylish performance in a 4-1 win, flew straight back to Manchester on Tuesday night after being whisked away from Windsor Park shortly after the final whistle — with just a few stopping to give young fans a treasured autograph.
Only goalkeeper David De Gea, who has already joined up with the Spain squad for Euro 2012, the Da Silva brothers and injured pair Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick missed the game.
And while one Northern Ireland legend was honoured, another local man, Jonny Evans, captained the United team in his home town of Belfast.
Another Belfast man, former Northern Ireland boss McIlroy, who won the FA Cup with United in 1977, said: “It was a great night for Harry and he deserves this as a great servant of both Manchester United and Northern Ireland.
“To see Sir Alex Ferguson bring his top players like Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans to Belfast shows you the esteem in which Harry Gregg is held. And for Harry to be honoured with a sell-out crowd is magnificent.”