New Year's Honours: Former Doncaster Rovers star and Munich Air Disaster hero Harry Gregg honoured

Former Doncaster Rovers footballer Harry Gregg, 86, has been awarded an OBE for services to football in the New Year's Honours.

Saturday, 29th December 2018, 9:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 1:52 am
Harry Gregg (left) in action for Doncaster Rovers with Charlie Williams (right) in the 1950s.

The Northern Ireland born goalkeeper began his professional career at Doncaster Rovers in 1952 and became a household name after moving to Manchester United in 1957 for a then world record fee for a '˜keeper of £28,000.

However, not long after moving to Old Trafford came the tragedy for which he is best remembered, the Munich Air Disaster of 1958.

He is sometimes called 'The Hero of Munich' because he pulled some of his United teammates from the burning plane during the disaster '“ including Bobby Charlton, Jackie Blanchflower and Dennis Viollet.

Among others he helped were Vera Lukić, the pregnant wife of a Yugoslav diplomat and her daughter, Vesna, as well as his badly injured manager Sir Matt Busby. 

George Best, who used to clean his boots, said, "Bravery is one thing but what Harry did was about more than bravery. It was about goodness."

Returning from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade, the team's plane crashed on a snowy airport runway at Munich, claiming the lives of 23 people, eight of them United players including Doncaster's David Pegg.

But he always played down his actions and earlier this year he travelled to Old Trafford for the 60th anniversary of the Munich crash, and said he believed it would be his last trip to the historic ground.

On the football field, he made 25 appearances for Northern Ireland as a goalkeeper and played a total of 247 appearances for Manchester United.

He made 94 appearances for Rovers before his switch across the Pennines and later played for Stoke City before going into management with Shrewsbury Town, Swansea City, Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle United,