The Class of ’92 Forgotten Man: Terry Cooke

The class of ’92 is the most revered FA Youth Cup winning team of all time. Many of the players who won that trophy are world-renowned legends of the game; David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers. However, one more member of the 1992 team broke into the first team at the same time as his peers, but his name never gets a mention.

It is a name forgotten to time. That man is Terry Cooke. 

Cooke made his debut for the first team in September 1995. He caught the eye immediately with his high energy running and highlighted his display with an excellent diagonal cross pitch pass, enabling Ryan Giggs to score in United’s 3-0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers.

Cooke scored his first and only goal for the United first team in the second leg of the League Cup second round tie versus York City. Cooke played three further times in the Premier League throughout 1995 and made seven appearances in total. However, despite this bright start to his United career, Cooke could not establish himself as a regular first team player.

At the turn of the year, Cooke was loaned to First Division high fliers, Sunderland and later that year was loaned to Birmingham City. Cooke only made one further appearance for United. That came in the 1996/97 League Cup tie with Leicester City, in which a youthful United side were defeated 2-0.

Cooke was unfortunate in the fact that despite his talent, his best position was on the right-wing; a position that Beckham made his own in 1995/96, despite Beckham’s own preference to play in the centre of midfield.

Cooke left United in 1999, after spending the previous few seasons on further loans at various clubs and became one of the few players to cross the Manchester divide, when he joined Manchester City. Cooke enjoyed an impressive first season with the Blues, helping them achieve promotion to the First Division. However, following City’s promotion, he found himself playing an increasingly peripheral role in the first team, struggling for regular action.

From there, he dropped down the divisions in a career that unfortunately was in stark contrast to that of his more famous peers, with short spells with the likes of Wigan Athletic, Grimsby Town, and Sheffield Wednesday before he crossed the Atlantic to compete for American, Major League Soccer side, Colorado Rapids.

In an interesting twist of fate, Cooke captained his team to a 4-0 victory over Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy side. It was a nice moment for Cooke to get one over on the man who cemented his place in the United starting line-up at the expense of Cooke a decade earlier. Cooke scored one of the Rapids’ four goals and assisted two out of the other three in one of the finest performances of his career.

Cooke left the Rapids’ in 2009 and saw out his playing career with short spells at Australian side, North Queensland Fury and Azerbaijan ouftit, Gabon.

Cooke is currently a youth team coach at MLS side, Denver Kickers.

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