AIRBUS UK Broughton have landed a new assistant manager who counts Paul Gascoigne and Juninho as former team-mates – and they did it with the help of The Chronicle.
Craig Harrison, who played with England legend Gazza and the Brazilian World Cup winner at Middlesbrough, has become Gareth Owen’s right-hand man.
The 30-year-old, who also turned out for Preston and Crystal Palace before retiring through serious injury, first met the Wingmakers boss when his girlfriend booked Owen’s band, Easy Street, for his birthday bash last month.
Harrison then read in The Chronicle that the former Wrexham midfielder was looking for a number two. One phone call later, and the rest is history.
Harrison said: “I had a quick chat with Gareth at my surprise 30th but I didn’t think anything of it. I then saw the job in the paper, called him up and from then it’s blossomed.
“It’s amazing how fate sometimes takes control, and now I’m really looking forward to passing on my knowledge and working with the lads to hopefully get Airbus high up in the Welsh Premier League.”
Gateshead-born Harrison moved two years ago to Chester – where his girlfriend is from – and it was then when he began to rediscover his passion for the game.
Having graduated through the youth team ranks at Boro, he made 24 appearances for the Riverside outfit in the Premier League and Championship before signing for Palace in September 2000 for £200,000.
The defender established himself as a fans’ favourite at Selhurst Park, but he was forced to hang up his boots in 2003 after suffering a double compound fracture of the tibia and fibula of his left leg.
Harrison, who also had a spell on loan at Preston, said: “The injury was similar to the one David Busst suffered for Coventry against Manchester United, although his was a little bit worse as he dislocated his ankle at the same time.
“It was a traumatic time and it was very hard to deal with as I was only 25, coming up to the peak of my career.
“I was very bitter with football but after the initial heartache, I began to miss it. And when I moved to Chester, I started helping John Cadwallader at Upton AA in the West Cheshire League.
“I’ve played at Middlesbrough under Bryan Robson, under David Moyes at Preston, and under Steve Bruce and Trevor Francis at Crystal Palace, so I’ve picked up knowledge from all of them and I think I’ve got a lot to give.”
Harrison knows the Airbus players and the league well, and the Wigmakers player- manager is delighted.
Owen said: “As soon as I spoke to Craig, I got a good feeling about him. He’s come from a background that demands instant respect – he is the ideal man for the job.”
And what did Harrison think of Owen’s band, which also features Connah’s Quay Nomads ace Chris Williams?
He said: “They were brilliant – there’s a plug from me!”