David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson were among the football royalty attending the funeral of their former coach, Eric Harrison, in Halifax today.
Mr Harrison, who hailed from nearby Mytholmroyd, mentored Manchester United’s celebrated “class of ’92” and was responsible for forging Beckham’s fledgling career, as well as those of Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Gary and Phil Neville – many of whom are also expected at Halifax Minster.
Mr Harrison died earlier this month at 91, having been diagnosed with dementia four years ago.
Sir Alex, who appointed him head of youth development at Old Trafford, had called him one of the greatest coaches of his time. He was expected to deliver the eulogy today.
The Minster is just a 10-minute walk from The Shay, the Halifax Town ground where Mr Harrison’s professional career began.
On his wedding day in 1962, he exchanged vows with his wife, Shirley, in the morning and played in a 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury in the afternoon. It was one of 199 appearances for the club. He also played for Scarborough, before moving into coaching.
Following his death, Gary Neville described him as “the man who made us”, and Sir Alex said his contribution at Manchester United had been ”incredible”.
Beckham said at the time that “we won’t forget the life lessons he gave us”.
He and Neville were among the players to have visited Mr Harrison in a Halifax nursing home during his illness, after an invitation from his grandson, Joe.
In 2013, Mr Harrison was featured in a film about the Old Trafford graduates of 1992 and the historic season that followed at the end of the decade, when the team became the first in British football to win the treble trophies of the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Mr Harrison was awarded the MBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list. Unable to travel to London to receive it, he was invested in Halifax.