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

Gregg rescued team-mates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet from plane wreckage

The English Football League has led the tributes to Harry Gregg after the former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper died aged 87.

His death was announced by the Harry Gregg Foundation on Monday morning.

Gregg was hailed as a hero of the Munich air disaster on February 6, 1958, in which 23 people were killed.

He was a survivor and twice returned to the burning fuselage to drag team-mates and strangers to safety.

Gregg rescued United team-mates Bobby Charlton and Dennis Viollet from the BEA Flight 609, as well as a 20-month old baby and her badly injured, pregnant mother.

The EFL tweeted: "Our thoughts go out to the family of Harry Gregg this morning after the passing of the former player and manager aged 87."

Manchester United tweeted: "It is with deepest sadness that we have learned of the passing of former player Harry Gregg OBE. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club go out to Harry's family and friends."

Doncaster tweeted: "The thoughts of everyone at #DRFC are with the friends and family of Harry Gregg, who made 99 appearances for Rovers before being signed for Manchester United by Matt Busby in 1957 and becoming a hero of Munich. RIP, Harry."

Former United midfielder and Northern Ireland international Norman Whiteside tweeted: "Harry Gregg what a man we love you Sir RIP. As a 15 year old boy Harry came to visit me in hospital in Manchester to make sure I was in the right hands of Manchester United ?? What a man ?? RIP."

Current United assistant manager and former midfielder Mike Phelan tweeted: "RIP Harry Gregg. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. The #ManUtd family."

Manchester United also paid an emotional tribute by posting a video on social media about Gregg's spell at the club.

Sir Bobby Charlton told United's website: "I was proud to call him a team-mate. For all the matter of fact things Harry said about that night in Munich, for me, he will always be remembered as a heroic figure. It's incredible to think that he went on to play in a match against Sheffield Wednesday just 13 days after that tragic night.

"A shining light both on and off the pitch. For so many reasons, he deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest names in Manchester United's history.

"Harry will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with Carolyn and his family at this very sad time."

Sir Alex Ferguson, who took his United team to play in Gregg's testimonial in Belfast in 2012, said: "I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harry Gregg.

"Harry was a man of great character and a true legend at our club. I remember that he was always very excited and proud to host our youth team at his boarding house for the Milk Cup every summer, so he could recount the tales of his playing days.

"I loved his company and the many pieces of advice he gave me. My thoughts and prayers are with Carolyn and his family at this very sad time. God bless Harry."

Updated: February 17, 2020 03:39 PM

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