Eric Harrison: David Beckham, Gary Neville and Sir Alex Ferguson lead tributes to former Manchester United coach who has died, aged 81

RIP

Harrison, who is credited with developing Manchester United’s legendary ‘Class of 92’, passed away on Wednesday night

Former Manchester United stars David Beckham and Gary Neville, along with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, have led the tributes to Eric Harrison, the former coach who died on Wednesday night, aged 81.

Harrison is credited with developing the ‘Class of 92’ during his time as a United coach, with Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the two Neville brothers, Gary and Phil, among others tutored by the Yorkshireman.

He played for Halifax, Hartlepool, Barrow and Southport before hanging up his boots and entering the world of coaching in 1972, with Harrison moving to United from Everton nine years later.

Harrison was hired by Ron Atkinson but stayed on as youth coach when Sir Alex began his reign as manager, and he’ll forever go down in history for the role he played in developing the ‘Class of 92’ during their formative years at Manchester United.

Tributes have been pouring in for Harrison, who suffered with dementia in his final years, with his former protégés leading the way.

Beckham, who played 394 times for United before leaving for Real Madrid, wrote on Instagram: “He was always watching and always with us every time we played, 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 either with 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.

“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. ? Gary, Phil, Ryan, Paul, Nicky and David.”

Gary Neville echoed Beckham’s sentiments on Twitter.

“We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us,” he wrote.

“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.”

Sir Alex released a statement on Thursday morning to pay tribute to a man he worked closely with for a number of years.

“Eric’s contribution to football and not just at Manchester United was incredible,” United’s legendary manager said.

“When I came 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.”

Ferguson added: “On a personal level Eric had a wicked, dry sense of humour and was straight-talking and I admired that in him.”

Ferguson’s former assistant, and current United number two, Mike Phelan also paid his respects on Twitter.

He wrote: “A great coach and more importantly a great man RIP Eric you brought so much to Manchester United Football Club.”

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