Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United Munich hero Harry Gregg's well-versed paean to legend Sir Alex Ferguson

By Cate McCurry

Northern Ireland and Manchester United goalkeeping hero Harry Gregg has written a poem in tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Gregg, who was hailed a hero in the aftermath of the 1958 Munich air disaster in which 23 people - including players and staff of the United team and journalists - died, wrote it in honour of the former Old Trafford boss.

In a video uploaded by his grandson, also called Harry, the former footballer explains that the poem was something he "scribbled on a piece of paper" many years ago.  

It explores the simpler times of football and how he fears for the future of what is often referred to as the beautiful game.

The video was recently played at an event in Lurgan attended by Sir Alex. The mental health awareness event was organised by Train To Be Smart (TTBS), a charity founded by ex-Man United defender Pat McGibbon.

"Sir Alex had a very positive reaction to the poem," the Lurgan man said. "David Healy and Roy Carroll who also played under Sir Alex was there and it went down really well with them.

"The poem is about old-fashioned values. You can complicate things too much and I think that is what Harry was trying to say within the poem. The amount of work he has done within the Harry Gregg Foundation in which he is bringing back the traditional values and letting people play regardless of their level of ability, is paramount to what Harry is trying to establish."

Mr Gregg, who pulled passengers from the burning aeroplane, referred to some of football's greatest players including Roy Keane, Johnny Thompson and Denis Law. He explained: "The reason I say those things is because I was fortunate enough to play under Peter Doherty of Doncaster Rovers who transferred me to Manchester United to work under the great Matt Busby who was followed later on in life by Alex Ferguson.

"He allowed all those people I mentioned to go out and express themselves and do their own thing with their own skill and had the belief if they weren't good enough they shouldn't be there, if they are good enough let them out and play."

Watch the video online at belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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