'Thank you Eric' – Neville and Beckham's emotional tribute to mentor Harrison ahead of funeral

The former Manchester United stars remember their former Class of 92 coach ahead of his funeral on Tuesday

Gary Neville and David Beckham have paid emotional tributes to Eric Harrison on the day of their former Manchester United mentor’s funeral.

Harrison, famed for guiding and nurturing the club’s Class of 92 which included the likes of Neville, Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, died at the age of 81 last week.

The former Halifax Town player, who was awarded an MBE for his services to football in the 2018 New Year Honours, worked for United for 27 years, bringing through scores of players, including Ryan Giggs, Norman Whiteside and Mark Hughes.

But it is for his work with the Class of 92, who went on to form the backbone of successful senior United sides under Sir Alex Ferguson in the 1990s and 2000s, that he is best known.

Neville posted on Instagram before being expected to attend the funeral along with Ferguson and his former team-mates.

He wrote: “Today is the funeral of this great man. Your own success in life is dependant on many things. However the people you are surrounded by and the guidance and example they set for you to follow are critical.

“Your family, teachers, coaches, friends, work colleagues, boss and many others influence your outcome.

“At the age of 16 I was fortunate enough to join Manchester United full-time. I was young, naive and in the hands of the coach. It’s difficult to put into words what Eric did for me that would do it justice.

“He never let up from the minute we walked in to the minute we moved up. He grounded us everyday. He made me understand the importance of consistency and reliability. A boss wants to know what his players are going to do. Always be there, always give their best and achieve the standard you’ve set yourself.

“He pushed us in training to a point of stress to know how far mentally and physically we could take ourselves. The match at weekend became the easy part, the fun and the reward for what you had done during the week.”

Neville recollected the work Harrison put into him and his other charges and added: “My family gave me the base to build on, Sir Alex had the ultimate faith and courage to see it through but in between that it would have all fallen over if I hadn’t met Eric Harrison. Thank you Eric.”

Beckham posted : “Today we say goodbye to a great man. As I look back on what and who made me as a person and as a player, my dad, the Boss and Eric.

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“I was stood one day in the cliff training ground in the reception just about to go to Annie Kay’s house (my digs) and Neil Webb walks past me and out the door, then Eric walks down the stairs from his office and right up to me and says “You will replace him in the first team one day“ I smiled with excitement but I also thought that’s not gonna happen any time soon and then it did.

“t was all about preparing us for the first team and preparing to play for Sir Alex Ferguson & Manchester United. David stop playing those #*!¥*+€ Hollywood balls will forever be the words that stay in my head but then Eric has me kicking a ball against a wall 60 times with both feet from different distances and that became one of my biggest strengths.

“Ultimately it was The Boss that had that faith in us and took us to the next level but the person that prepared us and we wouldn’t have been the players and men we turned out to be was Eric… Thank you Eric and goodbye.”

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