Manchester United Mourns As Former Coach Dies PHOTO CREDIT: Independent.ie
Manchester United Mourns As Former Coach, Eric Harrison Dies
PHOTO CREDIT: Independent.ie

Former youth coach of Manchester United, Eric Harrison has passed away. Harrison died on Wednesday night aged 81.

The Englishman is credited with producing Manchester United’s famous Class of 92 youth side.

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Concise News reports that news of his death was confirmed on Thursday by United, where Harrison spent 17 years as a youth team coach after moving from Everton in 1981.

“Manchester United is extremely saddened to report that our former youth coach Eric Harrison passed away on Wednesday,” the club says. “Eric served United with distinction as a mentor of young players, including a number of prodigies who achieved great success with club and country after graduating to the first team at Old Trafford.”

Harrison, who was a former player himself before turning to coaching on his retirement in 1972, was responsible for producing the group of players who were originally known as “Fergie’s Fledglings”, including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. These stars went on to play for the first team under Sir Alex Ferguson.

United icons pay tribute

Neville writes on known Twitter account: “We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us. He taught us how to play, how to never give up, how important it was to win your individual battles and what we needed to do to play for Manchester United Football Club. Eric we owe you everything.”

In 2017, when Harrison was awarded an MBE (the same award Anglo-Nigerian boxer, Anthony Joshua received not too long ago) for his services to football, Ferguson says: “If you wanted a teacher who would give you the right way forward, the right path, Eric was that man. He was fantastic in his time at United. When I came in as manager, I decided to keep him on the coaching staff. As I got to know him and the work he was doing, I realised it was a great decision.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Ferguson paid tribute to his long-serving member of staff. “Eric’s contribution to football and not just at Manchester United was incredible,” he says.

“When I came as a manager I was lucky enough to have Eric on the staff as head of youth development, so I got to see the work he did and not just with the Class of 92 but with all the young players.

“He built character and determination in those young players and prepared them for the future. He was a teacher, he gave these players a path, a choice and he only did that through his own hard work and sacrifice.

“He was able to impart that education to the young which made him one of the greatest coaches of our time. On a personal level Eric had a wicked, dry sense of humour and was straight-talking and I admired that in him.”

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We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us. He taught us how to play, how to never give up, how important it was to win your individual battles and what we needed to do to play for Manchester United Football Club. He was always watching and always with us everytime we played, I can still hear him telling me NO MORE HOLLYWOOD PASSES. I can still see him as we played on The Cliff training ground looking down on us either with a proud smile or a loud bang of his fist on the window knowing any minute he would be on his way down to probably advise me in the most polite way to stop playing those passes. More importantly he made us understand how to work hard and respect each other and not just on the pitch. We won’t forget the life lessons he gave us. Eric we love you and owe you everything. ❤ Gary, Phil, Ryan, Paul, Nicky and David.

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Beckham is not left out. “He was always watching and always with us every time we played, I can still hear him telling me NO MORE HOLLYWOOD PASSES,” he writes on his official Instagram.

“I can still see him as we played on The Cliff training ground looking down on us either with a proud smile or a loud bang of his fist on the window knowing any minute he would be on his way down to probably advise me in the most polite way to stop playing those passes.

“More importantly he made us understand how to work hard and respect each other and not just on the pitch. We won’t forget the life lessons he gave us.”