The Class of ’92 is the title that is given to six players; David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Gary Neville. These six players belong to a true football fairytale reality. A story that is not just known by Manchester United fans but football fans across the globe. It has been retold year after year and will continue to be so generations into the future. We all know what happened. But does this group of footballing heroes that began their United career over 20 years ago hold any relevance in today’s game?
The answer is yes. Despite the huge influx of foreign players that has led to an imposition of new domestic player rules and despite the commercialisation of the game we know and love, the story of ’92 still has important characteristics that need to be remembered and implemented.
With stories emerging left right and centre about youth players disenchantment with the game it is hard to believe that there is much of a way forward. To mention only a few the Raheem Sterling saga and the hint of Saido Berahino’s poor attitude has done nothing to discredit this common discourse. There is no doubt that these players have the talent but it appears as if they, along with many other young talents, lack something that is just as important – attitude, discipline and drive. These are characteristics that were imperative to the climb to the top that the Class of ’92 endured. It is something that was not only in the individual’s but it was also something that was instilled from the top down. It was part of the english game but more importantly it was part of Manchester United’s game.
The endeavour that was displayed by these six players was something that has been heralded but was also implemented by the managerial system that included the great Eric Harrison and Sir Alex Ferguson. This framework needs to be preserved and has been for many years by Manchester United. Despite Louis van Gaal letting him go, Danny Welbeck epitomises the belief that these types of young players still exist and can still thrive in the English league. For all red devils It was a disappointment to say the least to see a player like that go. A product of the youth system that resembled a lot of what the Class of ’92 represented. A player that displayed ruthless work rate and commitment to his team. A player that just wanted to play football and do his best.
Of course we have to cut the youth some slack. They are being constantly bombarded and disillusioned by agents and the extortionate money that is involved in the modern era. They need support now more than ever. But quite simply they should be grounded. Brought back to the basics. Asked why they started playing football in the first place. There is still hope of course. At Manchester United particularly. It is a huge positive that Van Gaal has player management style which is rooted in much that has just been said. It is even more positive that Ryan Giggs is alongside him. A fraction of the Class of ’92 with an influence that still remains.
This article was researched and written by Zachary Gain. You can follow him on Twitter.