David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes all visited the man that helped launch their Manchester United careers, after they were told he was suffering with Alzheimer’s.
MANCHESTER UNITED’s class of 92 achieved greatness thanks to their talent and exceptional coaching.
But for dementia sufferer Eric Harrison, who coached them during their top-flight, he had no recollection of the men who paid him a visit- these were the men he had helped turn into world class stars.
Harrison was a juggernaut during the 90s at United and was equally respected and feared by the young men that he coached.
The world class players that were guided to greatness by Harrison hadn’t forgotten the debt they owed to him and visited him when they were contacted by Harrison’s grandson, with the devastating news that he was suffering with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society shared images from the meeting organised by his grandson Joe, detailing that the players had visited their youth coach within a week of being contacted.
One of the saddest parts of his illness, is that the great man no longer watches the game he used to love.
In an interview with The Times, Eric’s daughter Vicky said: “Football has always been his major passion. He would always stop everything to watch any match- any football, any level- so it was devastating for us when he lost interest in watching it on TV.
“That’s when we knew he was completely changing. That’s what dementia does. Until this, football had been his life.”
Eric Harrison had coached David Beckham, Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as part of the 1992 FA youth cup winning side.
In Ryan Giggs’s autobiography, he shared his experience of working with Harrison, he said: “It was like joining the army and Eric Harrison was sergeant major,I had some real bollockings from him and you couldn’t answer back.
“He was tough, but he was also an excellent coach and tactician. He made the game so easy.”
It was this strict demeanour that still had the footballers on edge when they paid Harrison a visit, according to Harrison’s daughter.
Explaining how the meeting came about she said: “My dad still has all the players’ numbers in his phone and, unbeknown to me, Joe contacted a few of them. Within a week, they had all come round.”
Joe is cycling from London to Brighton to raise funds for Alzheimer’s and has already raised over £1,000.
The cycling event is a large fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s society.