Sir Alex hails United coach as ‘one of greatest coaches of our time’

Alex Ferguson has hailed Eric Harrison’s “incredible” contribution to football following the death of the former Manchester United youth coach.

Ferguson enjoyed the fruits of Harrison’s labour during his iconic 27 years in charge of the club, with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers all among the players who came through the system on his watch.

After Harrison’s death at the age of 81 was confirmed by the club on Thursday, Ferguson paid tribute to the role he played in bringing success to Old Trafford.

“Eric’s contribution to football and not just at Manchester United was incredible,” he told the club’s official website.

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“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 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.

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“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.”

Having played in the lower divisions between 1957 and 1972, Harrison joined United in 1981 and was put in charge of the club’s youth set-up under manager Ron Atkinson.

He was kept on when Ferguson was hired as Atkinson’s successor five years later and ultimately helped forge one of the most successful periods in United’s history.


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