The sad passing of Harry Gregg brings a variety of thoughts to many. To his family and friends the sorrow in loss of a pivotal part of their life. To the world of football and wider sporting family, the loss of an inspiration, a legend and hero.
A statement issued to media this afternoon it read “We at the Harry Gregg Foundation say goodbye to our figurehead and mentor but never to the inspiration which he shared, promoted and encouraged. An inspiration that facilitates opportunities for young people, possibly even to live their dream as he was lucky to have done. An understanding that the sport which he loved, has the capability to gift so much to so many, regardless of individual ability. It is our desire that we shall continue to provide Harry Gregg with the legacy which he truly deserves and in his words “ Inspire Those Who Have Dreams”.
Harry was an extraordinarily ordinary man. Extraordinary in that despite all that he had experienced and achieved over his life time, he was grounded firmly in principles, morality, justice and respect, sometimes to his own detriment.
He always remained amazed in the fortunes of life experience that a young Henry Gregg of 34 Windsor Avenue was to be bestowed with.
Harry scorned fame and notoriety and was always uneasy in the company of pretentious ‘Big Time Charlie’s’ and self indulgence.
When in the company of the great and the good Harry would always align to the character and morality of a person, as opposed to any aura of achievements or riches. Title, position, fame and fortune didn’t always render you not to be an arsehole (to borrow a phrase).
Modest people who achieved through passion, desire, commitment, determination and a little bit of luck fascinated him more.
He had an understanding that behind most success and achievement was a host of pivotal and in many cases unsung characters. These were often the names from throughout his career and life that he would recall most in admiration.
Perhaps as these were rolls which Harry himself facilitated on many an occasion, unbeknown to many and never to be publicly mentioned by him.
A mentor, a confident, an advisor, an influencer, a support or safety net in troubled times or just someone to give out a dose of reality when required. These are some of the traits that earned Harry respect and admiration and even occasional scorn.
He held very simplistic views of football and felt often that the game had become too commercial and over complicated. “Let the players play and the runners run”, “Coaches should coach and administrators should administer and never the two should cross”. “You can’t teach raw talent and ability”, “We are all supporters and they are the life blood of football” being just some of his observations.
He also held forthright views about youth football where he believed younger kids should be left alone to enjoy, play and most importantly, fall in love with the game. To perhaps emulate his youth where entire communities socialised each and every day by playing football on streets, entry ways, greens and meadows. He often described his Foundation’s small sided games centre as a vast meadow where if left alone and not over cultivated the best of the wild flowers would find a way to grow strong and be seen.
Harry Gregg will quite rightly be renowned for some well documented, career defining and life changing moments for club and country, but there was much more that defined this remarkable man who blessed us with his friendship.”
Another Busby Babe, never to be forgotten!