Carlisle United will hold a minute's silence at their next home game in memory of their former manager and Manchester United legend Harry Gregg, who has died aged 87.

The Blues described Gregg - a hero of the Munich air disaster - as a "great man".

The Northern Irish great, who was in charge at Brunton Park in 1986/7, died in hospital in Coleraine.

The news was announced by his foundation in a statement which said: "It is with great sorrow that we inform of the death of Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Harry Gregg, OBE.

"Harry passed away peacefully in hospital surrounded by his loving family."

Tributes have been paid from across the game to a man known not just for his playing and coaching career but his heroic actions at the Munich air disaster in 1958.

Gregg bravely rescued Manchester United team-mates and other passengers from the wreckage of the plane whose crash killed 23 people.

Carlisle joined the tributes today with chairman Andrew Jenkins speaking on the club's website about the legend.

Jenkins said: “Harry was a good man, a great man, and those who knew him often wondered why he didn’t get a Knighthood for what he did at Munich.

“I was delighted to see him get his MBE and OBE later in life, but he was a true hero in every sense of the word on that day.

"It’s not something he talked about too much, but I think everybody knew the importance of what he’d done in the immediate aftermath of the crash."

Manchester United said they had learned of the news "with deepest sadness", adding: "The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club go out to Harry’s family and friends."

The Northern Ireland FA added: "A legend of the game and a brave, selfless giant of a man. RIP, Harry Gregg."

Born in Magherafelt in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Gregg played for Doncaster Rovers before joining the Old Trafford club in 1957.

He spent nine years with Manchester United, playing before the tragic events in Munich and then afterwards, when the club tried to recover from the dreadful plane crash.

Gregg also won 25 international caps for Northern Ireland, playing in the 1958 World Cup, also playing for Stoke City before moving into management with Shrewsbury, Swansea, Crewe and, in 1986, Carlisle.

He was at the helm in the 1986/7 Third Division season, taking the reins from Bob Stokoe, and in charge of a side that included players such as Ian Bishop, Malcolm Poskett, Mike McCartney, Billy Wright, Paul Haigh, John Cooke, John Halpin and Scott McGarvey.

After relegation to the Fourth Division amid a period of struggle and tight financial times at Carlisle, he left the club in the autumn of 1987.

He was later credited with introducing future owner Michael Knighton to the Cumbrians. Gregg also laid the foundations for the development of some young players at Brunton Park.

Jenkins added of his time with Carlisle: “Things didn’t quite work out for him as manager here, but he was such a hard worker and fiercely loyal.

"He’d coached with us under Bob [Stokoe], and his playing and coaching experiences spoke for themselves, and I remember Bob telling me that he would be a good appointment as manager because he was a strong and very focused character.

“He wanted to take the team back to where he felt it should be, but it was a tough season, with games lost that we probably should have won.

"Whenever he spoke about the team he always commented that we were just two or three players away from being a very exciting side, and he had a clear idea of the direction he wanted us to go in.

“As ever with football the pressure is on if you aren’t picking up results. I recall we had a spell through the Christmas period whilst he was in charge where we lost game after game. We all found that to be very difficult, because it saw us slide down the table.

“That run of poor results continued and it was hard for us all to suffer another relegation, but his determination to put that right was there for all to see. The work ethic from him was fantastic, and we kept in touch after he left the club. He truly was a great man.”

Gregg later set up the Harry Gregg Foundation to help promote the development of young players in Northern Ireland.

He was made an MBE in 1995 and awarded an OBE in 2019, for services to football.

In 2018 Gregg spoke of his part in the aftermath of Munich, modestly writing in the Mail: "I am no hero. That much I know. On another day the same thing could have happened and I would have been the first to run and I would not have looked back.

"I did what I did that day out of instinct and many others would have done the same if they could. In life, you are what you are and it is hard to change."

Two other legends of Manchester United - Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson - today paid tribute to Gregg.

Sir Bobby, a fellow Munich survivor, said: "Lady Norma and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harry Gregg.

“I was proud to call him a team-mate. For all the matter-of-fact things Harry said about that night in Munich, for me, he will always be remembered as a heroic figure.

"It’s incredible to think that he went on to play in a match against Sheffield Wednesday just 13 days after that tragic night. A shining light both on and off the pitch. For so many reasons, he deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest names in Manchester United’s history. 

“Harry will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with Carolyn and his family at this very sad time.”

Sir Alex added on the club's website: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harry Gregg.

“Harry was a man of great character and a true legend at our club. I remember that he was always very excited and proud to host our youth team at his boarding house for the Milk Cup every summer, so he could recount the tales of his playing days.

"I loved his company and the many pieces of advice he gave me.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Carolyn and his family at this very sad time. God bless Harry.”