In Memory of Harry Gregg

Harry Gregg OBE

The PFA is deeply saddened by the passing of Harry Gregg OBE. 

The former Manchester United goalkeeper passed away on Sunday aged 87, and was hailed a hero after rescuing survivors of the Munich air disaster in 1958. 

Sir Bobby Charlton, who Harry had pulled from the wreckage, led tributes to him today, calling him ‘a fantastic goalkeeper but, more importantly, an incredible human being’. 

Harry had signed for United just two months before the tragedy, in which 23 people died, and returned to the wreckage twice, helping to save Sir Bobby, Dennis Violett, Jackie Blanchflower, a pregnant mother and her young daughter and manager Sir Matt Busby.

Incredibly, just two weeks later, he kept a clean sheet against Sheffield Wednesday, knocking them out of the FA Cup, and said he didn't want the tragedy to define his career or life. 

Harry signed for a record goalkeeping fee at United in December 1957 and went on to make 247 appearances for the club, though his playing career there was blighted by injuries. After a brief stint playing at Stoke, Harry moved into management at Shrewsbury Town, Swansea City, and Crewe Alexander, before returning to Old Trafford as head goalkeeping coach. 

He also gained 25 international caps for Northern Ireland, and later that year helped them reach the quarterfinals of the 1958 World Cup, where he was named goalkeeper of the tournament. 

In his later years, Harry launched a foundation to encourage young people to participate in football and was made an OBE in the Queens New Year Honours in 2019.

As tributes continue to pour in, the PFA extends our deepest condolences to Harry’s friends and family. Football has lost a legend and we join Manchester United, Northern Ireland and the entire football community in mourning this loss.