If you’re wondering what to buy that special Liverpool fan in your life this Christmas, then Gabe and Benjamin Turner’s Manchester United-centric documentary The Class of 92 (2013) is definitely one to avoid. Focusing on the legendary golden generation and their influence on the Red Devils’ 1999 treble-winning season, the Turner brothers tell the tales of six first team graduates of the 1992 FA Youth Cup-winning side: David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Phil and Gary Neville, and Paul Scholes. Even the most rudimentary football fan will already be well-versed in the major historical highlights of these young stars.
Former defender and Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen’s infamous “You can’t win anything with kids” line after the youngsters’ thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa in the first game of the season, Beckham’s halfway line lob of the keeper that propelled him to stardom and the rug-chested Giggs swinging his shirt around his head after scoring the winning goal against Arsenal all make an appearance. The Turner brothers backdrop these events with the bubbling Manchester music scene and the dawn of new Labour, comparing the rise of these working-class lads with the rise of working-class culture. As an inspirational story of where dedication, hard work and sacrifice can get you, wannabe soccer superstars should take note.
There are a few issues, however. The interviews with the likes of Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle are fine, but for some the very sight of Tony Blair waxing lyrical will be an unwelcome treat. Also, as the focus is primarily on the treble-winning team, the absence of the other players in that season’s squad is glaring, as is the minuscule contribution from manager Sir Alex Ferguson. It’s good to get to know the men behind the icons and the warm dynamic between them seems genuine, but we’re a long way from warts-and-all and the canny viewer will be aware that reputations are being preserved and protected. Despite the flaws, if you’re looking for a stocking filler for a Man United devotee then The Class of 92 will certainly be welcomed. As for followers of football in general, if you appreciate the beautiful game played beautifully it’s well worth a look.