Mickey Harte has revealed that Alex Ferguson wrote to him and invited him to Manchester following the murder of Catholic PSNI officer Ronan Kerr.
Ronan Kerr was killed by a bomb that exploded beneath his car in April 2011 in a crime that was widely condemned across all political divisions in Northern Ireland.
Former Tyrone manager Harte carried Kerr’s coffin at the funeral, which was symbolic of both communities coming together to grieve a heinous act against the 25-year-old Catholic police officer.
Mickey Harte on Alex Ferguson’s letter.
Harte has revealed in his new book new book ‘Devotion: A memoir’ that former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson wrote to him after the funeral, which took place just three months after the tragic death of the Tyrone man’s daughter, Michaela.
“Some time after the funeral, I got a letter from Manchester: Alex Ferguson had taken the time to write to me. I could hardly believe what I was reading,” Harte revealed.
“He wrote: ‘I was always impressed by your achievements with the Tyrone team and how long you’ve been there. I meant to write to you after what happened to your daughter. I knew I had to write to you after Ronan Kerr.’
We are very proud to publish Mickey Harte’s new book Devotion: a moving and lyrical memoir about life, love and loss, from a true giant of Gaelic games. 📖
— HarperCollins_Ire (@HCinIreland) October 14, 2021
‘The trip gave us a lift, something we badly needed.’
“He left a contact number for me to get in touch. I remember calling him and he said to come over to Old Trafford. So we got tickets for a derby game through Martin Logan, a great friend of mine from Galway who spent most of his life in Manchester.
“Myself and the boys went across in October 2011. But we picked the worst day possible: City beat United 6-1.
“I called Alex a couple of weeks afterwards and told him about the game we had been to. He said: ‘I hope you don’t think it’s like that all of the time.’ But the trip gave us a lift, something we badly needed. And the boys got a real kick out of it.”
The two legendary managers have now moved on from Tyrone and Manchester United respectively, but each man will be remembered for bringing success on a scale that neither side had experienced before.
Ferguson is now enjoying his retirement, but Harte is still very much involved in Gaelic football management, having been appointed as Louth’s senior football manager last November.