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Coleraine gives Harry Gregg a send-off fit for the hero he was

Mourners gather for funeral of football legend Harry Gregg [Photos] Close

Well wishers and mourners line the streets as the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Harry Gregg takes place on February 21, 2020 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Well wishers and mourners line the streets as the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Harry Gregg takes place on February 21, 2020 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine.  
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Family members carry the coffin of former Manchester United goalkeeper, Munich air crash survivor, Harry Gregg after the church service of his funeral at St Patrick's Parish Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland on February 21, 2020 (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Family members carry the coffin of former Manchester United goalkeeper, Munich air crash survivor, Harry Gregg after the church service of his funeral at St Patrick's Parish Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland on February 21, 2020 (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Among the mourners to arrive at the church were former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and former striker Denis Law.
Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.

Among the mourners to arrive at the church were former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and former striker Denis Law. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.

The funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

The funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Alex Ferguson and Denis Law (behind) at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Alex Ferguson and Denis Law (behind) at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Mary Peters as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Mary Peters as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Richard Montgomery as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Richard Montgomery as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

David Hunter as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Hunter as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Arlene Foster as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

David Jeffrey as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Jeffrey as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Lady Mary Peters at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Lady Mary Peters at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Oran Kearney at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Oran Kearney at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

 Denis Law  at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Denis Law at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Sir Bobby Charlton as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Sir Bobby Charlton as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick’s Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick’s Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Sir Alex Ferguson as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Alex Ferguson arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parish Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parish Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Bobby Charlton at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Bobby Charlton at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Mourners arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Mourners arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

Well wishers and mourners line the streets as the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Harry Gregg takes place on February 21, 2020 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Modest Harry Gregg would probably have been embarrassed by all the fuss. But there was never going to be any other result as the final whistle sounded for one of the world's greatest goalkeepers - and bravest of men - who received an extraordinary send-off in Coleraine, the town where he kicked off his illustrious football career over 70 years ago.

On a day of high emotion, Harry's funeral, which had begun with a private family gathering at his home at Articlave near Castlerock, later played out in public as people thronged the centre of Coleraine in their hundreds to bid the hero of countless footballing glory days and the singular disaster of Munich a fond and heartfelt farewell.

Some of the biggest names in football united at St Patrick's Church to honour the Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend who died in hospital on Sunday aged 87.

Former Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who was a massive fan of the Ulsterman, flew in along with Denis Law and another Busby Babe, Bobby Charlton.

Sammy McIlroy was also there and Roy Keane sent an apology and urged people to celebrate Harry's life.

Other sporting and political figures included the First Minister Arlene Foster, Lady Mary Peters and Irish League managers including David Healy from Linfield, David Jeffrey of Ballymena United and Oran Kearney from Coleraine.

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David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

But it was the presence of what Harry would have called the 'ordinary' people on the streets of Coleraine which spoke just as powerfully about the respect for a life remarkably well lived off the football field as well as on it.

Outside the church Manchester United and Northern Ireland scarves were everywhere and fans of another of Harry's old clubs Coleraine, who had been partying after a cup final win six days earlier, were in more sombre and sorrowful mood as a hearse arrived carrying the coffin of the town's humble hero, who risked his life to pull injured people out of the wreckage of the plane in Munich in February 1958.

An enormous wreath with flowers and foliage in the red and white, and green and white, of Harry's most famous teams was on top of his coffin as it was carried into the church.

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Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Typical of the man who shunned the limelight, cameras were not allowed into St Patrick's but the service was relayed to the waiting crowds outside, undeterred by the relentless rain and wind.

Inside the church, Harry's wife Carolyn, his four daughters and son John heard the Rev Canon John McCammon describe the late footballer as 'a remarkable Northern Irishman'.

He said: "Harry was an outstanding professional footballer, a man of exceptional courage. He was a tough man but he was also compassionate and gentle."

BBC journalist Stephen Watson, who accompanied Harry on a journey back to Munich 12 years ago to film a documentary about the tragedy, almost broke down several times as he delivered his tribute from the pulpit.

He revealed that football-crazy Harry had once flunked an exam so that he would not have to go to a grammar school where they played rugby and not football.

He said that despite all his footballing successes, the Munich air disaster, in which 23 people were killed, cast a shadow over Harry's life that he found difficult to dispel.

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The Munich air disaster

The Munich air disaster

The Munich air disaster

He added that Munich was always a mental torment for Harry who had 'a constant battle against grief and guilt'.

He continued: "Harry was determined that even though Munich shaped his destiny, it would not shape his life.

"Harry's actions, though, on the runway that fateful day meant he transcended sporting greatness," he added. Stephen recalled Harry's courage as he ignored warnings from the captain of the crashed plane who told him to run away because he feared the aircraft was about to explode

He said: "Harry went back selflessly into the carnage and the horror inside the burning wreckage and he saved many team-mates along with 'the boss' Sir Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton plus a pregnant Yugoslavian woman and her 22-month-old daughter (Vera and Vesna Lukic).

"He was called the hero of Munich, but he always wanted to be remembered simply as a footballer and a coach of some repute," added Stephen, who also talked of two personal tragedies which took a 'massive toll' on Harry's life - the deaths of his first wife Mavis and daughter Karen from breast cancer.

Mourners gather for funeral of football legend Harry Gregg [Photos] Close

Well wishers and mourners line the streets as the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Harry Gregg takes place on February 21, 2020 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Well wishers and mourners line the streets as the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Harry Gregg takes place on February 21, 2020 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine.  Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine.  
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg at St Patrick's Church of Ireland in Coleraine. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Family members carry the coffin of former Manchester United goalkeeper, Munich air crash survivor, Harry Gregg after the church service of his funeral at St Patrick's Parish Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland on February 21, 2020 (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Family members carry the coffin of former Manchester United goalkeeper, Munich air crash survivor, Harry Gregg after the church service of his funeral at St Patrick's Parish Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland on February 21, 2020 (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Among the mourners to arrive at the church were former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and former striker Denis Law.
Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.

Among the mourners to arrive at the church were former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and former striker Denis Law. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.

The funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

The funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Alex Ferguson and Denis Law (behind) at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Alex Ferguson and Denis Law (behind) at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Healy and Oran Kearney as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Mary Peters as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Mary Peters as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Richard Montgomery as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Richard Montgomery as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

David Hunter as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Hunter as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Arlene Foster as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

David Jeffrey as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

David Jeffrey as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Lady Mary Peters at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Lady Mary Peters at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Oran Kearney at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Oran Kearney at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

 Denis Law  at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Denis Law at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Sir Bobby Charlton as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Sir Bobby Charlton as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick’s Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick’s Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Sir Alex Ferguson as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Alex Ferguson arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parish Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parish Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The coffin of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg arriving at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine, for his funeral. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Bobby Charlton at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Bobby Charlton at the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg takes place at St Patrick's Church in Coleraine. Enroute to the sevice the cortege stopped at Coleraine showgrounds. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton and wife Norma arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sir Bobby Charlton arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

DUP leader Arlene Foster arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Former Manchester United youth player David Jeffrey arrives for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Mourners arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Mourners arrive for the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, at St Patrick's Parsh Church, Coleraine. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday February 21, 2020. See PA story FUNERAL Gregg. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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Well wishers and mourners line the streets as the funeral of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Harry Gregg takes place on February 21, 2020 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

On a lighter note Stephen laughed that Harry could be 'stubborn, thran, direct and opinionated' and wife Carolyn said he 'got more like Victor Meldrew every day' but he added that spending time with him was always eventful and entertaining.

Harry's friend and former Irish League footballer and manager Liam Beckett, now a football pundit, took up the theme.

There was laughter in the packed church as he regaled the congregation with carefully selected anecdotes about Harry but his admiration shone through as he recalled how he had been the perfect role model for aspiring young footballers like him from a working class background.

Liam said: "He never courted publicity, that's what I loved about him - all the adulation that people poured on his shoulders he took in his stride.

"When I saw him most at ease with himself was with the family. That was when he was most content."

A legacy of which Harry was proud, Liam added, was the charitable sporting foundation that took his name.

Liam said the cross-community foundation was set up for children from all backgrounds and that Harry 'never had any time for any of that other nonsense'.

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Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Keith Gillespie and Liam Beckett as the funeral of Harry Gregg takes place at St PatrickÕs Church in Coleraine on February 21st 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Harry's disdain for modern day coaching techniques for young children was later reflected in a poem Jumpers for Goalposts which he wrote and which was read by former Northern Ireland international Pat McGibbon, who used to play for Manchester United.

In it Harry said if coaches got their way with their ever more elaborate systems, 'my favourite game will soon be played without a ball in sight'.

Another poem - written by Pablo Doherty - was read by Paul McGuinness, the son of ex-United boss Wilf McGuinness, whose manager father was credited by Harry as being a major influence on him after he signed him for Doncaster Rovers from Coleraine.

Pablo's poem imagined how Harry Gregg would shortly be playing in goals in a team of football greats in heaven like George Best, Stanley Matthews, Danny Blanchflower and Duncan Edwards, who was another victim of the Munich air crash.

Harry's son John later asked the congregation to remember Edwards yesterday on what was the 62nd anniversary of his death in a Munich hospital.

His voice breaking with emotion, John said that his dad was a "really, really good father".

"The thing with dad was everybody said about his bark, but at the back of that was a real softness you very rarely saw," he said, adding that while heaven is supposed to be a quiet and peaceful place, that would change within 30 minutes of his father's arrival.

The Gregg family had issued an open invitation to the public to fill the small number of seats that were available in the church.

But others were content to pay homage from outside. Richard Montgomery (35) wore the colours of his two footballing loves, Manchester United and Coleraine.

"I grew up listening to stories about Harry and his courage at Munich and watching videos about the Busby Babes," he said.

Liverpool fan David Hunter was incognito. "I'm also a passionate Northern Ireland supporter and admirer of Harry Gregg whom I saw for the first time at Windsor Park in 1962 against Poland. I wasn't so keen on what he did for United, though!"

Margaret Stinson, who knew Harry, said: "He was a wonderful man and he definitely was very humble. He was a real Coleraine man and he never forgot his roots."

Ivreen McNeill, who works in Coleraine FC's club shop, said: "I met Harry from time to time and I always found him to be a lovely man."

Another face in the crowd outside the church was the DUP's MP for East Londonderry Gregory Campbell who said of Harry: "He was a character. They don't make them like him anymore."

En route to Coleraine cemetery Harry's cortege stopped briefly at the Showgrounds, home of the town's football club, where dozens of supporters and young players were waiting to applaud their former player. A large banner hailed him a Manchester United legend.

Just yards away the cortege also paused outside a house flying a Coleraine flag in Windsor Avenue where Harry was raised and which he recalled with his oft-quoted words:

"I'm Harry Gregg from 34 Windsor Avenue in Coleraine who played football - I was useful on some days and rubbish on others. That's how I want to be remembered. Not for something that happened on a spur of a moment."

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Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg

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Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg

Belfast Telegraph


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