United greats praise Eric

Eric Harrison former Halifax Town player.
Eric Harrison former Halifax Town player.

Two of the biggest names in football, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham, have expressed their joy that Eric Harrison has been awarded an MBE for his services to football in the New Year’s Honours list.

Mytholmroyd-born Harrison, 79, is the man credited with putting the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Beckham, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt on the road to stardom during his time as youth team coach at Manchester United.

Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles in his 26 years at Old Trafford, 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.

“He was fantastic in his time here,” said Ferguson, who added that he had brought players along in the “right way.”

Beckham admitted on his Instagram page that Harrison had “scared the hell” out of him as a kid but said the coach had done much for the youth of United.

“So proud of Eric for being awarded an MBE,” he posted.

Harrison, who has been suffering from dementia in recent years, began his football career as a player with his local club, Halifax Town.

He was a wing half in a professional career from 1957 to 1972, making 199 appearances for the Shaymen before going on to play for Hartlepool United, Southport and Barrow, where he had two spells.

Beckham, Scholes and Gary Neville all visited Halifax in 2017 to see Harrison after an invitation from his grandson Joe to come and see their former youth coach and mentor.