Bobby Charlton and Denis Law attend funeral of Doncaster Rovers legend and Munich Air Crash hero Harry Gregg

The funeral of former Doncaster Rovers legend and Munich Air Crash hero Harry Gregg has been taking place in Northern Ireland this lunchtime.

By Darren Burke
Friday, 21st February 2020, 1:57 pm
Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 1:58 pm

Former Manchester United team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton, who also survived the 1958 tragedy which claimed 23 lives, was among the mourners at the funeral in Coleraine.

Gregg, who made 99 appearances for Doncaster before joining United, died on Sunday aged 87.

He bravely rescued team-mates and other passengers following the plane crash as United returned from a European Cup game.

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The funeral of Harry Gregg takes place in Coleraine. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Former Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson and United legend Denis Law were also among the mourners.

Also attending are First Minister Arlene Foster; former Northern Ireland international and manager Sammy McIlroy; members of Coleraine FC, including manager Oran Kearney; and David Healy, Northern Ireland's record goalscorer and Linfield manager.

Welcoming mourners, Rev Ian Ballentine said the large crowds outside the church were a tribute to Harry Gregg, who he described as an ‘outstanding professional footballer and a man of exceptional courage’.

In a eulogy, BBC NI's Stephen Watson said Gregg was a ‘great stickler for timekeeping’ so would have been thrilled that everyone had arrived at the church on time.

Family members and mourners attend the funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Recalling the Munich disaster, he said that Gregg was told by the captain of the plane to run away as it was about to explode, but he ‘went back into the carnage to rescue several team-mates and a pregnant woman and her daughter’.

Mr Watson said: "What happened at Munich was a mental torment for Harry - he had a constant battle against grief and guilt.

"But as he told me - it was getting back to football that saved his sanity. He used the game to heal his scars.

"He was called the Hero of Munich, but he always wanted to be remembered simply as a footballer and a coach of some repute."

Sir Bobby Charlton attends the funeral for former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

The congregation also listened to a poem written by Pablo Doherty, the son of legendary Northern Ireland international Peter Doherty who signed Gregg for Doncaster Rovers at the age of 19 and managed the national side at the 1958 World Cup where Gregg was named best goalkeeper.