Manchester United have sadly announced that revered former youth team coach Eric Harrison, the man famously mentored Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and so many other young players, has died at the age of 81.
Harrison was diagnosed with dementia four years ago and is reported to have passed away ‘peacefully.’
Harrison first joined United in 1981, with Mark Hughes, Norman Whiteside, Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher also among the high profile names to have passed under his watchful eye.
It was under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson and the focus on youth players that Harrison’s incredible work really came to the fore and bear fruit.
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. pic.twitter.com/vS94a8MKxr
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 14, 2019
United won the FA Youth Cup for the first time 28 years in 1992 and lifted the prestigious trophy again in 1995. They had also been finalists twice in the 1980s and in 1993.
Harrison was awarded an MBE for services to football in the 2018 New Year honours and United have published Ferguson’s glowing comments from 2017 in response to that achievement.
“If you wanted a teacher who would give you the right way forward, the right path, Eric was that man,” the great Scot said at the time.
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 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/iv0uisTGCl
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) February 14, 2019
“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.”