Fol­low­ing Fer­gu­son’s fledglings’ rise to the top

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

What are the in­gre­di­ents that make up a great doc­u­men­tary? A com­pelling sub­ject, ob­vi­ously. Some won­der­ful in­ter­vie­wees. A few in­trigu­ing points to in­ves­ti­gate. Great ar­chive footage. And, of course, view­ers should learn some­thing by watch­ing them. Thank­fully, Class of ’92 (ITV, 10.40pm) con­tains all those as­pects and more be­sides. Okay, so non-foot­ball fans out there will be groan­ing at the thought of watch­ing a load of over­paid stars kick­ing a ball about, but there’s far more to the film than that – for a start, David Beckham fea­tures promi­nently, and he’s as much a cul­tural icon th­ese days as he is a sports­man. In fact, it’s hard to re­mem­ber a time when we didn’t know about Brand Beckham, when he was noth­ing more than a skinny lad with a few ap­pear­ances un­der his belt, both with Manch­ester United and from a loan pe­riod spent at Pre­ston North End. At United, he was a mem­ber of the club’s youth team which won the FAYouth Cup in 1992 – and it’s from that year that this doc­u­men­tary takes its name. Also in­cluded in the squad were Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Sc­holes, with Neville’s younger brother Phil com­ing through later. Those six play­ers are at the cen­tre of the pro­gramme, which ex­am­ines their rise through Manch­ester United’s ranks, and the part they even­tu­ally played in the over­whelm­ing amount of suc­cess the club en­joyed dur­ing the 1990s, de­spite the fact that, at the start of the 1994-95 sea­son, pun­dit Alan Hansen had fa­mously claimed that “You’ll never win any­thing with kids.” He was made to eat his words on more than one oc­ca­sion, with United win­ning ev­ery­thing in their path in­clud­ing, in 1999, achiev­ing the Tre­ble, which saw them lift the league, FA Cup and Cham­pi­ons League tro­phies. But it isn’t just the sex­tet’s skills on the pitch that are an­a­lysed, it’s their per­son­al­i­ties too and their friend­ship,. All six have now re­tired from play­ing, but are still in­volved with the game that has given them so much. When time al­lows, they meet up – and prob­a­bly be­have in just the same way as they did back when they were shar­ing a dress­ing room and jump­ing into a mini-bus to travel hun­dreds of miles to play a youth away game. They are all in­ter­viewed here, as are fel­low for­mer pro­fes­sion­als Zine­dine Zi­dane and Eric Can­tona, ex-Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair, film direc­tor Danny Boyle and Stone Roses bass player Mani.

On the ball David Beckham fea­tures in the doc­u­men­tary.

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