FORMER Swindon Advertiser sports editor Terry Woodhouse remembers Harry Gregg, who passed away this week at the age of 87. 

Harry Gregg, the former Northern Ireland goalkeeper who died on Sunday, will be remembered by many older Swindon Town fans after his eventful spell as assistant manager to Lou Macari at the County Ground back in the 1980s.

Harry was already a hero after surviving the 1958 Munich air disaster which killed 20 people, among them eight Manchester United players including England stars Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor.

Harry was flung out of the plane, but went back to help save several people, including Bobby Charlton, manager Matt Busby and a Serbian woman and her baby daughter.

Macari told me that after he was appointed Swindon manager in 1984, Harry (then out of contract) turned up at his home on several occasions asking if he would consider taking him with him to Swindon.

Although they were both ex-Manchester United players, they were from different eras and never played together.

But Macari (320 appearances 1973-1984) eventually agreed to take Gregg (210 appearances 1957-1966) as his assistant, but the following April they fell out in a big way and even stopped speaking to each other.

The Swindon directors obviously deemed this an intolerable situation and sacked them both - although Macari was soon reinstated and went on to take Swindon to the Division Four championship.

I always found Harry to be polite and respectful, although he mainly preferred to take a back seat when it came to dealing with the press.

He rarely spoke about the air crash, although on one anniversary he did open up to Advertiser sports reporter Clive King, giving an interview at his Blunsdon home.

He talked at length on that occasion, resulting in what I rated as one of Clive's best ever feature articles.

Harry was voted FIFA World Cup Best Goalkeeper in June 1958. After leaving Swindon he went on to manage Carlisle before retiring to his native home area of Coleraine in Northern Ireland where he ran a hotel for several years. He was awarded an MBE in 1995 and an OBE last year for services to football.