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Harry Gregg's memories of the 1958 Munich air disaster

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg pictured reading a copy of the Manchester Evening News at his home near Coleraine in 2008. Picture by Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

AS the 40th anniversary of the Munich air disaster approached in February 1998, Harry Gregg reflected on the events of that fateful day.

In an interview with John Haughey, sports editor of The Irish News at the time, Gregg spoke of how how he feared he would never "see my wife and my little baby again" as the plane crashed on February 6 1958.

"It was totally in slow motion," he said.

"There was nothing dramatic about it. Then there was total darkness and I thought I was dead.

"It was five past three on a Thursday afternoon so with the total darkness you think you are dead."

He described how as the blood rolled down his face, he reached down to unfasten his seat-belt only to find it had been yanked off by the impact of the crash.

"I turned slightly to my right in the darkness and to my right and I could see a glint of daylight," he said.

"I managed to get to the hole and was able to look out to the snow on the runway."

After escaping, he said those he encountered all told him to run, but the cry of a child alerted the United goalkeeper back to the wreckage.

"And these people were still going, shouting 'run, run, run'," he said.

Recalling how he helped pulled team-mates and strangers from the wreckage, Gregg also said he had spoken little publicly until around 20 years after the disaster when numerous distortions began to annoy him.

"One guy I rang and I told him that I'd read his book, he asked me what I thought about it and I replied: 'Well I'm not going public but it's a work of fiction plus the fact that you talk about me in it and you've never spoken to me", he said.

Reflecting on the horror of that day, he said: "I don't live with it all the time".

"I swear I don't live with it," he added.

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