If ever a set of players embodied just exactly what Manchester United is all about then the Class of ’92 are about as close as you can get to it, both on and off the pitch.
On the pitch messrs Neville (x2), Butt, Scholes, Beckham and Giggs, rose through the ranks to almost inexplicably become the backbone of one of club football’s greatest ever sides, off the pitch they seemed to personify much of United’s fan base.
There were the two Bury-born brothers, ardent United fans from the off whose dad dragged them to Old Trafford as soon as they could walk regardless of how successful the Reds were. There was the Salford raised wunderkind, who forged his own path in life, but was Red through and through, shunning the overtures of City to plant his flag firmly in the Theatre of Dreams, long before it was afforded such a glorious moniker. There was the Gorton hardman who would have looked just at home scrapping outside the Stretford End as he did making tackles in front of it. Paul Scholes embodied the down-t0-earth attitude of most Reds, Salford-born, Oldham raised, the Ginger One was much happier letting his football do the talking and was almost the polar opposite of his equally talented team mate: David Beckham. ‘Cockney’ Reds are a vital part of United’s DNA, and the walking club shop that was a young Becks, flash but with the talent to match it.
Since retiring the Class of 92 have again, become almost a reflection of the views of many United fans, with Scholes personifying those amongst us who’ve simply had enough of ‘settling’ for almost being good enough. Giggs has been slightly more stoic, shackled somewhat by his role as an international manager, he’s made comments that are of a more conciliatory nature than that of some of his former team mates. Gary Neville has taken aim at the club’s hierarchy in a passioned way that’s made him the poster boy for many disaffected Reds, while Nicky Butt has said little and can say little due to being employed by the club. Beckham, other than once wearing a green and gold scarf, seldom gets involved.
United fans have found themselves in a bitter battle with one another over the past few months and while the Class of 92 have always remained friendly regardless of their opposing views on our club, many Reds have found it much harder to prevent real discord.
Under David Moyes it was easy, he was a disaster, he was out of his depth and United fans almost to a person knew he had to go, with Louis van Gaal the turgid football and baffling tactics eventually turned all Reds against him. By the time United’s season had been rescued in a Marcus Rashford/FA Cup blaze of glory it was too little too late.
Jose Mourinho has been different though, he’s treaded the line between success and failure like an expert tightrope walker, making it increasingly difficult for either his detractors or his supporters to completely admit they’re in the wrong. At least until Anfield anyway.
His first season saw two trophies but awful league form, his second an 81 point league finish yet miles behind City and disappointing cup runs. Then like some form of awful family tree, beneath the Jose In or Out argument, is the one concerning Martial and Pogba FC. More arguments, more sides to choose, more rants, more abuse between our fans.
Meanwhile the architect of all this drama, the one man we should all be unified in our disgust of, sits on a throne of money getting pats of the back from his paymasters while playing fantasy football with our beloved club.
Ed Woodward, more than any other person is responsible for the managerial, not to mention the transfer carnage we’ve witnessed at Old Trafford. He has helped turn our club into something of a laughing stock, he’s made our transfer policy resemble a spice addicted teenager playing football manager and he’s also pulled off a masterstroke in hiring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer till the end of the season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
If there’s one man who can unite the fans it’s Ole. Yes his previous Premier League managerial spell ended in disaster, but most Reds are willing to overlook his time at Cardiff and Woodward knows this.
Ole’s first interview since being appointed as caretaker boss has already had United fans purring, gone are the subversive digs at the owners, the meaningless references to a non-existent ‘philosophy’ or bizarre statements about the strength of the opposition, instead we’ve been given something that at least sounds more… Manchester United.
Solskjaer commented on the Cardiff game:
“It’s not about the opposition, it’s about us. It’s about Man United, it’s about our players knowing what they can do, about our players expressing themselves. So our main focus will be on us, how I want us to play.”
With comments like that, his record as a player and his general likability, Solskjaer has got many of the fans ‘United’ again.
Whether the results can prolong the honeymoon period remains to be seen, but if he can keep all of the Class of 92 happy, that should mean he’s doing something right.