Tonight is the Harry Gregg testimonial in Belfast and Sir Alex Ferguson has taken a strong squad over the water for tonight’s game. It is reported that only Rafael and Fabio are the first teamers that have not traveled this morning.
The match this evening kicks off at 7:30pm BST and below are some fantastic quotes from News Letter
Manchester United legend Harry Gregg has spoken of his pride ahead of a glamour testimonial in his honour this evening – only weeks after recovering from serious illness.
The 79-year-old is on the mend after suffering a series of mini strokes and will receive the adulation of a packed Windsor Park as Sir Alex Ferguson’s star-studded team visit Belfast to pay tribute to the former goalkeeper.
The Premier League side are playing an Irish League Select XI, which will be jointly managed by David Jeffrey and Martin O’Neill.
Gregg – dubbed a hero for his role in the 1958 Munich air disaster – admitted it would be an emotional occasion for himself and his family.
“It is wonderful. It is a very nice gesture by the people who set it up and it is a great tribute by Manchester United,” he told the News Letter yesterday.
“It is nice to be remembered – an old man like me.
“I am delighted that United are coming over and I’m delighted that [Sir Alex] thought I was worthy of a testimonial.”
The modest Castlerock man – who won 25 caps for Northern Ireland and represented his country at a World Cup – insisted that at his stage of life he never expected such an occasion.
“They tell me it is completely sold out, which is wonderful.
“But I don’t kid myself, it is sold out because the great Manchester United are coming here.”
Gregg only returned home earlier this month after a spell in hospital.
Reflecting on his ill-health, he said: “I’m still walking and I’m still breathing. I just get up a bit slower than two months ago.”
At the weekend, the Manchester United fanatic watched his team narrowly miss out on claiming their 20th league title to arch rivals Manchester City in one of the most dramatic end-of-season finishes ever.
Despite the setback, the ex-goalkeeper maintained the experience would ensure the Red Devils come back even stronger next season.
“The wheel always turns,” he said. “The very fact that they lost means [Sir Alex] will definitely not retire – it will make him more determined.”
Gregg – himself a former United coach – developed a close bond with Ferguson after recommending the Scotsman for the Old Trafford hotseat years before his arrival in the mid-1980s.
The respect is mutual, with Sir Alex paying tribute to Gregg as a “special man”.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s match, the United manager said: “We’ll bring our strongest team over. I mean for Manchester United to honour a player who, apart from his experience of the Munich air disaster, you’ve got to remember the career he had here. So it’s absolutely apt that we send our best squad of players.”
Gregg came to the aid of teammates following the horrific accident involving the famous “Busby Babes” team returning from a European Cup tie in 1958. Twenty-three people – including eight players – lost their lives.
Asked who he would be cheering on from the stands, Gregg responded: “If they are wearing red I will be supporting them!”
For a stream for tonight’s game click here.