Harry often travelled to watch matches at Fortwilliam Park

Harry Gregg will be remembered with great affection at Tobermore United Football Club where he often turned up for matches at Fortwilliam Park.

Born in the south Derry village in ‘the hungry thirties’, Harry would have travelled up in the bus with Portstewart FC and stood with his flat cap with the rest of the supporters in the main stand, chatting and soaking up the atmosphere.

On Friday members of Tobermore United are expected to travel for his funeral service in St Patrick’s Parish Church, Coleraine.

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The Manchester United legend passed away at the age of 87 in the Causeway Hospital on Sunday.

Harry GreggHarry Gregg
Harry Gregg

Tobermore United FC said in a Facebook post that Harry was an inspiration for youngsters thinking of taking up the sport: “The club would like to pay tribute to the late Harry Gregg who died today. Born in Tobermore in 1932 he was the hero of the Munich air disaster.

“An example of what it truly means to be a teammate, colleague, friend and to show kindness to others.

“He undoubtedly was an inspiration to the young men who played in Tobermore United’s team in their first season back in 1965.”

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Long time Tobermore supporter, Brian Weir said in a Facebook comment: “Harry Gregg was my hero even before the Air Crash and undoubtedly the best goalkeeper ever to have been born in Tobermore. I can remember the hushed conversations outside Tobermore Post office the following morning as we waited for the bus to school and the sense of relief when we heard that night that he had survived (for those of a younger age remember we had no mobile phones or teletext).

Years later I met Harry Gregg and asked for his autograph. He signed my book and as he walked away I said that growing up in Tobermore I had always wanted his autograph. He whirled around and said with some pride ‘I was born in Tobermore’.”

Mr Gregg will always be remembered as a heroic figure for rescuing fellow passengers from the Munich air disaster.

Manchester United legends Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson were among those to pay tribute after the former Northern Ireland goalkeeper died.

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Sir Bobby, one of six people Harry pulled from the burning wreckage in 1958, said he was “a fantastic goalkeeper but more importantly an incredible human being”.

“For all the matter of fact things Harry said about that night in Munich for me he will always be remembered as a heroic figure,” he added.

“A shining light both on and off the pitch. He deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest names in Manchester United’s history.”

Mr Gregg became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when United, and Sir Matt Busby, shelled out £23,000 in 1957, and he was voted the best at the World Cup a year later.

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He spent nine years with the Red Devils and played 247 times for United and 25 times for Northern Ireland.

Mid Ulster District Council has opened books of condolences in the Bridewell, Magherafelt, Burnavon, Cookstown, and Hill of the O’Neill in Dungannon.

Councillor Trevor Wilson said he welcomed decision of the Chairperson, Councillor Martin Kearney, describing Mr Gregg as one of the greatest goalkeepers of our time and a great ambassador for Northern Ireland.