Eric Harrison.

Sir Alex leads tributes to Eric Harrison

Thursday 14 February 2019 08:24

Sir Alex Ferguson has led a wave of tributes to his former colleague Eric Harrison, following the news that the legendary Manchester United youth-team coach has passed away.

Sir Alex told us: "Eric's contribution to football, and not just at Manchester United, was incredible.

“When I came in 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. 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.”
Eric stands proudly with his former youth-team players, after they had won the 1999 Champions League.
Many of Eric's former protégés used social media to share their admiration for his life and work.
Gary Neville, the captain of the famous United side that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup, posted on Instagram: "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. 
“He was always watching and always with us everytime we played. More importantly he made us understand how to work hard and respect each other and not just on the pitch. We won't forget the life lessons he gave us. Eric we love you and owe you everything."
The message was signed off from 'Gary, Phil, Ryan, Paul, Nicky and David'.
David Beckham added: "I can still hear him telling me NO MORE HOLLYWOOD PASSES. I can still see him as we played on the Cliff training ground looking down on us with either a proud smile or a loud bang of his fist on the window, knowing any minute he would be on his way down to probably advise me in the most polite way to stop playing those passes."
Sir Alex Ferguson with Eric Harrison at the latter's book launch in 2001.

Norman Whiteside
: "Such sad news to hear about my former youth coach Eric Harrison’s passing. A born WINNER which he instilled in all his players. RIP Eric."

Peter Schmeichel
: "Eric Harrison, one of football's greatest people, has sadly passed away. Responsible for the development of the Class of '92 and so many other great players that came through the Man United Academy, he was one of the club's biggest heroes. RIP Eric."
Ben Thornley: "Such sad news to hear of Eric Harrison’s passing - he was an integral part of my education - not only in football but life in general - hard work, commitment and respect. A brilliant mentor to whom I owe - as others before and after me do - so much. Thank you Eric, may you rest in peace xx."
Former first-team coach Rene Meulensteen: "Saddened to hear of the news that Eric Harrison has passed away. He was a great coach who would always take the time to listen and offer great advice. What you’ve done for the club is incredible and your legacy will live on through many you’ve coached and mentored."
Eric mentored many future first-team stars in the early 1990s.
Current first-team coach Mike Phelan: "A great coach and more importantly a great man. RIP Eric you brought so much to Man United Football Club."
Michael Carrick: "So sad. Thoughts are with Eric’s friends and family. I’ve heard so many stories over the years about the influence Eric had on the lads coming through the youth team. Schooling and developing them into some of the world's best players. Such an integral part of the club. RIP."
David May: "Gutted to hear the news about Eric Harrison. Thoughts are with his family, he was a lovely man."
Wales international John Hartson: "Sorry to hear of the passing of Eric Harrison. I worked with Eric when he was Mark Hughes’s assistant with the Wales national team. Lovely man. RIP Eric."
Eric in later years, with the Class of '92 at an exhibition match against Salford City.
Danny Webber: "Sad to see you go Eric... Not only a great coach but a great man and a leader of men. #RIP #MUFC #MBE"
Chris Casper: "Eric Harrison wasn't just a great coach in the development of many players, he was also a great man who guided young people and helped shape the lives of many more, thanks for everything Eric."
Alex Bruce: "Devastated to hear the news about Eric. A special man who taught me the fundamentals of what it took to become a professional football player at a young age. Thoughts are with his family."
Danny Higginbotham: "Eric Harrison was a wonderful coach for players coming through at Man United and helped produce some of the best but as much as anything he taught you how to conduct yourself and make that step from boy to man. A fantastic influence on so many including myself. RIP Eric."