Eric Harrison passes away

Thursday 14 February 2019 07:30

Manchester United is extremely saddened to report that our former youth coach Eric Harrison passed away on Wednesday. He was 81.

Recruited from Everton's staff in 1981, 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.

The most famous group of youngsters to emerge under Eric's tutelage was the Class of '92 - his FA Youth Cup-winning side in that year included David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. He led the club to another final of that prestigious competition in the following season, with Paul Scholes and Phil Neville added to the line-up, and then in 1995, the Reds won the trophy again, this time with Phil as captain.

Mark Hughes and Norman Whiteside were two notable players Harrison helped to develop in his first five years at the club, when he worked under the man who appointed him, Ron Atkinson. But it was during Sir Alex Ferguson's tenure that Eric's ability to guide and nurture talent really came to the fore and other examples who would rise through the ranks to the senior squad included Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher.

Eric was awarded the MBE for his services to football in the 2018 New Year honours list. Reacting to that achievement in December 2017, Sir Alex said of his former colleague: "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.

"The Class of '92 was the pinnacle of his coaching but all the young players who came through at that time will recognise the contribution he made in their careers and the character he built in them. He made them good human beings."

As a player, Harrison began his career with Halifax Town in 1957 as a wing half and he also represented Hartlepool United, Barrow and Southport.

After leaving United, he spent some time assisting Mark Hughes when his former prodigy was manager of the Wales national team.

Everyone at Manchester United sends their deepest condolences to Eric's family and friends at this sad and difficult time.