Above: Champions League Final May 21, 2008. Image by Mitch Gunn / Shutterstock.com
‘This is the One’ strums and crashes in and without an image we already know this is about something special, something extraordinary… and something from Manchester.
In 1992 a youth football team won the Youth Cup. Nothing out of the ordinary there, it was an annual occurrence, but what was incredible, and unlikely to be matched, was the fact that six of that team, unlike so many who compete at Youth Level, went on to have professional careers. Hugely successful professional careers. Those six players – often cited as “The Golden Generation” – formed the spine of the most successful, biggest soccer teams in the World. Manchester United.
The Class of 92 tells their story, in their own words, of the footballing careers playing for England’s most successful club.
With the use of old footage from school level through to Champions League glory in Barcelona in 1999, and interviews with Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Gary Neville, the narrative focuses on the bonds these six made, each one of them playing for their boyhood favorite team during the club’s most successful period.
Along with hearing the more famous war stories of past victories, the real essence exposed by the film is the obvious brotherhood and ‘all for one’ attitude that has grown among these athletes.
Much has been said and written about the father figure of the club who gambled with local “kids” and proved everyone wrong as they went on to win nearly every honor in the game, but the feeling of togetherness is really due to the drive, character and determination of the individuals from the youth team. Every one of them speaks very humbly and thankfully about the opportunities given by (Youth Coach) Eric Harrison and (Club Manager) Alex Ferguson, but the camaraderie and ‘never say die’ spirit comes from the trust and faith given and accepted by each one of those players and an unbelievable friendship formed and remained, like family.
Yes, past triumphs are spoken of, they have to be; it was such an integral part of their lives, but mostly it seems as if six lads from North West England are just telling stories about growing up together, and they could be any lads. They were just “the lucky ones” to quote Scholes directly.
Fame, success and international superstardom do not appear to have overtly affected the attitudes of these boys, and does not seem to interfere in any way or determine their closeness and lifelong-lasting friendship.
If you like soccer, particularly Manchester United, then you will like this (not too stretching) walk down memory lane, with plenty of goal footage and montages. For the wider audience, this is a tale with strong friendship at the heart and which is warmed not by medals or trophies but love, One Love.