FC Halifax Town are among those who have today paid tribute to Eric Harrison, who has died aged 81.
The legendary former Manchester United coach and Town player, of Mytholmroyd, was responsible for the rearing of the famous ‘Class of 92’, including worldwide superstars David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
He had the reputation for being a hard task master as he oversaw United’s fabled academy for nearly two decades. However, the players he produced gained a rich haul of silverware, United notably winning the treble in 1999.
Harrison, who had suffered from dementia in recent years, began his football career as a player with his local club, Halifax Town, making 199 appearances for the Shaymen before going on to play for Hartlepool United, Southport and Barrow.
A statement from the Shay club included: “FC Halifax Town would like to pass on their condolences to the family and friends of former Halifax Town player Eric Harrison.
“Rest in Peace Eric.”
Harrison was awarded an MBE for his services to football in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles in his 26 years at Old Trafford, to said he was “so delighted” for Harrison.
Ron Atkinson brought Harrison to the club and Ferguson said it had proved a great decision to stick with Harrison when he had taken over as boss.
Beckham, Scholes and Gary Neville all visited Halifax in 2017 to see Harrison after an invitation from his grandson Joe.
Harrison spent seven years in the first team at Halifax and his commitment to football was never in doubt: he married wife Shirley on one morning in October 1962 before playing in a 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury in the afternoon.
A statement from Manchester United said the club was “extremely saddened” by Harrison’s death.
Gary Neville described Harrison as “the man who made us”, Ferguson said Harrison’s contribution at United was ”incredible” while ex-England captain Beckham said on Instagram that “we won’t forget the life lessons he gave us.”