Ferguson leads tributes to 'incredible' Harrison

Harrison was fundamental to the development of David Beckham and the Neville brothers

Harrison was fundamental to the development of David Beckham and the Neville brothers

SIR ALEX FERGUSON has paid tribute to “one of the greatest coaches of our time” following the death of Eric Harrison at the age of 81.

Harrison joined United as a youth coach in 1981 and was behind the legendary ‘Class of 92’ side featuring David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup.

Ferguson described Harrison as “one of the greatest coaches of our time" and added "Eric's contribution to football and not just at Manchester United was incredible. He built character and determination in those young players and prepared them for the future.

“When I came as 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 was a teacher, gave these players a path, a choice. He only did that through his own hard work and sacrifice. On a personal level Eric had a wicked dry sense of humour and was straight talking and I admired that in him.”

Harrison was diagnosed with dementia four years ago and passed away peacefully with his family by his side.

Gary Neville said: “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."

Harrison also spent four years as Wales assistant manager under Mark Hughes.

Former Wales striker John Hartson tweeted: "Sorry to hear the passing of Eric Harrison. I worked with Eric when he was Mark Hughes' assistant with the Wales national team. A lovely man."

Paul McGuinness: Why the lessons of Eric Harrison will live on

More stories

Sign up to our newsletter to get all the latest news from The Guru