Eric Harrison, the Manchester United youth coach credited with developing their ‘Class of 92’ has died, aged 81.
Harrison, who was diagnosed with dementia four years ago, passed away peacefully with his family by his side.
A lower-league player at Halifax, Hartlepool, Barrow and Southport, he became youth team manager in 1981.
But he enjoyed his greatest success after Sir Alex Ferguson revamped United’s scouting network following his appointment as manager in 1986.
The club said it was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Eric’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time,” it added.
In 1992, the United side managed by Harrison won the FA Youth Cup with one of the best crop of young players in the English game.
Gary Neville, David Beckham and Nicky Butt all went on to have long careers with England. Ryan Giggs and Robbie Savage did the same with Wales.
“We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us,” Gary Neville said.
“He taught us how to play, how to never give up, how important it was to win your individual battles and what we needed to do to play for Manchester United Football Club. Eric we owe you everything.”
The following year, Neville, Beckham and Savage were joined by Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Keith Gillespie in the team that lost the final against Leeds.
In 1995, a United team captained by Phil Neville and coached by Harrison won the Youth Cup again.
Mark Hughes, Norman Whiteside, Clayton Blackmore and Graeme Hogg also became internationals after playing in a United FA Youth Cup final side managed by Harrison.
In total Harrison spent 27 years at Old Trafford and was awarded the MBE in December 2017.
Harrison also spent four years as Wales assistant manager under Mark Hughes.
Former Wales striker John Hartson tweeted: “Sorry to hear the passing of Eric Harrison. I worked with Eric when he was Mark Hughes’ assistant with the Wales national team. A lovely man.”