‘Class of 92’ reunited to stabilize Man United
LONDON (AP) Manchester United has brought the ”Class of 92” back together.
Renowned graduates of United’s most successful youth team have been put in control of a team in turmoil following the abrupt dismissal of David Moyes. A notable absentee is David Beckham, who has never expressed a desire for team management.
If there’s anyone who can unite what appears to be a disenchanted squad it is Ryan Giggs, assisted by retired former teammates Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville.
”It will certainly be a different atmosphere in training and at Old Trafford and the fans will buy into it,” Eric Harrison, the youth team coach who developed the ”Class of 92,” said Wednesday. ”As soon as Ryan walks out the tunnel, the place will erupt.”
Even though Giggs is the oldest of the quartet at 40, the club’s most decorated player is the only one to feature in teams of both Ferguson and Moyes, who was fired after just 10 months on Tuesday.
”I think for togetherness and getting the results and playing a certain way, a brand of football that is more eye-catching, the Man United way, I feel that Ryan Giggs is the right person,” former United teammate Dwight Yorke said.
With United searching for a more experienced successor for Moyes, Giggs has just four games to prove that the same football nous that enabled him to outwit opponents on the pitch for so many years also extends to the dugout.
”You’ve got to be natural as much as you can as a manager, find your own style, not try and be somebody else,” Giggs told The Guardian newspaper during a recent Football Association coaching course.
While cutting his teeth in the youth team, the Welsh winger was seen as setting the highest standards by the teammates now on his coaching staff.
”Ryan Giggs was probably the one I looked up to the most,” Neville told the BBC as a ”Class of 92” documentary was released last year.
While Giggs is yet to comment since being appointed interim coach, Harrison said the Welshman was delighted with the chance to manage alongside his ”musketeers.”
”I used to call him a `football nut’ because he took everything on board,” Harrison told Talk Sport radio.
Giggs, Scholes, Butt and Neville made 2,453 appearances in total for United and were instrumental in the exceptional success under Alex Ferguson, who retired last year after 26 trophy-filled years in charge.
Scholes, whose retirement coincided with Ferguson’s, has returned to United to help out Giggs, while Butt had been coaching with United’s under-19 and under-21 teams, and Neville was already part of Moyes’ staff.
Even if they don’t stay on at United when an experienced successor is hired as Moyes’ full-time replacement in the summer, the quartet already have another football club to occupy themselves with.
Along with another former teammate, Neville’s brother Gary, they are buying Salford City, a non-league club in the Manchester area. Gary Neville and Giggs have also gone into business together, opening the ”Cafe Football” next to London’s Olympic Park and ”Hotel Football” is under construction opposite Old Trafford.
The next game at United’s ground is against Norwich on Saturday as the 20-time English champions look to complete their pitiful season with just pride intact. Not only did they fail to defend the Premier League trophy, but the team is unable to finish in the top four Champions League places, currently sitting in seventh place.
Failure to qualify for Europe’s top club competition ultimately cost Moyes his job. The ousted manager broke his silence on Wednesday to accept that results ”have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect.”
”I both understand and share their frustration,” he said in a statement released by the League Managers’ Association.
Moyes was troubled that he first learned about his impending firing in the media rather than directly from the American-owned club’s hierarchy.
”Throughout his time at United, David, as he always does, has conducted himself with integrity and professionalism, values that he believes in and that have been strongly associated with the club and its rich tradition,” LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said. ”It is therefore sad to see the end of David’s tenure at United being handled in an unprofessional manner.”
Louis van Gaal, who is leaving his position as Netherlands coach after the World Cup in Brazil and has previously coached Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is the favorite to succeed Moyes on a full-time basis.