Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson saved United, says Gregg

By Steven Beacom

Legendary Manchester United star Harry Gregg has paid tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson by describing him as the "man who rescued an institution".

It's a huge statement to make but sums up Gregg's admiration of the United manager, who will step down from his role at the end of the season.

Like Ferguson, Gregg's name will forever be linked to the Old Trafford giants.

The Northern Ireland man was an outstanding goalkeeper during the Matt Busby era and heroically saved the lives of fellow players and passengers following the Munich air disaster in 1958.

Down the decades Gregg has kept a close eye on events at United, marvelling at the club's dominance on the domestic stage over the past 20 years with Ferguson at the heart of all that success.

It was Ferguson, of course, who led United to a first league title in 26 years in 1993 ending a long spell of failure, bar the odd cup triumph here and there.

Gregg  told the Belfast Telegraph that he feared his old club was going nowhere until Ferguson took charge and led United to glory many times over.

"This man rescued an institution," stated Gregg.

"Manchester United were going through a bad time following on from the successful Matt Busby era. They had a lot of managers between Sir Matt and Sir Alex Ferguson and it did not go well at all.

"Without overstating the point I would say that given the previous standards the club held, Manchester United were heading towards oblivion until Sir Alex took charge.

"Look at Manchester United now. You don't need me to speak about the manager's record – that speaks for itself and it is a record that will never be surpassed.

"Very few people know Sir Alex Ferguson really well and I wouldn't be one to claim that I know him that well but I do know that what he has done for Manchester United is wonderful.

"His teams at United have always played the game the way it should be played. He is a throwback to a different time. He's had to adapt to certain rules from officials, who know little about the game, but he has always done it his way."

Last May after United lost the Premier League title on the final day of the season, a few days later Ferguson brought over a full strength side to face an Irish League XI at Windsor Park for Gregg's testimonial.

That was a measure of how much Ferguson revered Gregg and all that he did for the world famous football club.

"It was incredible when he brought his full strength squad over for my testimonial. I really appreciated that," said Harry.

"I am also well aware that without Sir Alex Ferguson's approval the Harry Gregg testimonial would not have taken place. He has been the boss at the club in every sense.

"That night of my testimonial I said that I believed United would win the title the next season under Sir Alex and I'm glad that happened to give him one final trophy."

On Ferguson's replacement David Moyes, Gregg stated: "The thinking behind it is that Manchester United wanted someone of Sir Alex Ferguson's ilk and someone who has his footballing beliefs."

Belfast Telegraph


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