A matter of months after the passing of Gordon Banks, the goalkeeping union will mourn the death of yet another goalkeeping great, Harry Gregg who passed away on Sunday at 87.
Gregg will not only be remembered for being part of Manchester United’s finest ever team and Northern Ireland’s best of all-time, he leaves a legacy far surpassing most other footballing legends, saving several lives and showing immense bravery in the face of one of the most tragic disasters in the history of the sport.
The Munich air disaster in 1958 robbed the world of the likes of Duncan Edwards and several other stars, but if not for the heroics of Harry Gregg, could have lost more.
The Londonderry born ‘keeper pulled his teammates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet from the burning wreckage, as well as a 20-month old baby and its mother.
Remarkably, Gregg would play less than a fortnight after the haunting night in Munich, in a match against Sheffield Wednesday and was a key part in the rebuilding of Matt Busby’s Manchester United side that would go onto win the European Cup a decade later.
Gregg embodied the spirit and heart that resurrected United and although he had left for Stoke City a year before Charlton and co.’s European Cup triumph over Benfica, he was a figure of strength the club needed in their darkest moment.
On the international stage, Gregg was voted the best goalkeeper of the 1958 World Cup for Northern Ireland just a year after Matt Busby signed him from Doncaster for a then record £27,000.
Following his departure from Old Trafford, Gregg went onto play for Stoke for a single where he was the teammate of the aforementioned Gordon Banks, before spells at Shrewsbury and Swansea.