Harry Gregg, former Man United goalkeeper and Munich air disaster hero, dies aged 87

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, a hero of the Munich air disaster, has died at the age of 87.

Harry Gregg made 247 appearances for Manchester United.

Harry Gregg — hailed as a hero for saving lives in the air crash which killed eight of Manchester United's “Busby Babes” in Munich — has died at the age of 87.

Gregg — who was United's goalkeeper — rescued a baby and team-mates Bobby Charlton and Jackie Blanchflower from the wreckage of the plane on February 6, 1958.

Gregg became the world most expensive goalkeeper when he joined United in December 1957 for £23,500 and went on to be voted the best at the following year's World Cup.

“It is with great sorrow that we inform of the death of Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Harry Gregg, OBE,” the Harry Gregg Foundation announced on its Facebook page on Monday.

“Harry passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by his loving family. The Gregg family would like to thank the medical staff at Causeway Hospital for their wonderful dedication to Harry over his last few weeks.

“To everyone who has called, visited or sent well wishes we thank you for the love and respect shown to Harry and the family.”

Gregg, who legendary United manager Alex Ferguson said was his hero, was humble about his bravery in Munich.


“I would be telling lies if I said that I thought about it all the time. In fact I would go insane,” he said in 2018 before a service marking 60 years since the disaster.

“I know the media would like to talk about what happened on a runway. I don't blame people for that, but if all I was ever part of, or all I ever achieved was to do with what happened in Germany, in Munich, if that was what my life was all about, it didn't come to very much.”

The disaster, after a refuelling stop, killed eight of the young side dubbed “the Busby Babes” who had won successive league titles. The crash left manager Matt Busby fighting for his life.

The ill-fated aircraft was bringing the team back via Munich from Belgrade after it had reached the European Cup semifinals.

The plane crashed on its third take-off attempt in terrible weather conditions killing 23 people, including three of the club's backroom staff, two crew, eight journalists and two others.

The club recovered to become the first English team to lift the European Cup 10 years later on a deeply emotional night at Wembley.

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