Former Manchester United coach Eric Harrison has died aged 81. Harrison was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and spent his final few months in a nursing home. During his 27 years as youth-team manager at United, he nurtured the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes into first-team players.
Harrison was awarded an MBE for his services to football in the 2018 New Year Honours. Gary Neville paid tribute to Harrison in a heartfelt post on Twitter on Thursday morning.
“We’ve lost our mentor,” Neville wrote. “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.”
Manchester United tweeted: “We are extremely saddened to report that our former youth coach Eric Harrison passed away last night. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Eric’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”
Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Eric’s contribution to football and not just at Man Utd was incredible. 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 built character + determination in those young players + prepared them for the future. He was a teacher, gave these players a path, a choice. He only did that through his own hard work and sacrifice. He was 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”