Harry Gregg was bravest keeper, says Pat Crerand
Pat Crerand says Harry Gregg is the bravest goalkeeper he has ever seen and wants the Northern Ireland public to come out and support his testimonial at Windsor Park.
Harry's game, to recognise his remarkable career, between old club Manchester United and an Irish League XI, managed by Martin O'Neill and Linfield boss David Jeffrey, takes place on May 15.
It promises to be quite an occasion, especially if United win the title two days before at the Stadium of Light where they are due to face O'Neill's Sunderland side.
Crerand, who played alongside ‘dear friend’ Gregg at Old Trafford, says the testimonial, organised by the George Best Carryduff Supporters’ Club, is rich reward for one of the true legends of the game.
“Harry was a great, great player for Manchester United and Northern Ireland. I wasn't at United at the time but I recall the 1958 World Cup finals when he was named the best goalkeeper in the tournament which was some accolade,” says Crerand.
“I was always a big admirer of his and when I joined United we became close. Harry, myself, Noel Cantwell and Maurice Setters used to go everywhere to watch games and because I couldn't drive he would take me all over the place. He was and still is a good man, honest and straight to the point. He's never been shy of an opinion, but there's nothing wrong with that.
“As a goalkeeper he goes down as one of the best and certainly the bravest I've ever seen. He also did a great job as United's goalkeeping coach. I'm delighted he is getting a testimonial and hopefully people will come out and support it because he deserves that.”
Crerand, who works for MUTV, adds: “United will bring a strong team over and there will be a real party atmosphere if we arrive as league champions. I'm coming over myself and am looking forward to seeing Harry again.”
Crerand also played with another Northern Ireland football icon — George Best. So, how would he compare Bestie with the modern day maestro, Barcelona's breathtaking Lionel Messi?
He says: “When George was playing against men like Tommy Smith and Ron Harris they kicked lumps out of him. Now you only have to look at a player and it's a free-kick. Also George never played on perfect pitches like today. There's no doubt Messi's special but George is right up there with him”
l Tickets for Harry Gregg's testimonial are on sale through Ticketmaster.