The Class of ’92 is a documentary directed by Ben and Gabe Turner that focuses on six former Manchester United players and their rise to fame. The players are David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Paul Scholes, who were all gathered to reminisce on their youth and talk about each other.
Screened at Pitchfest, the film includes interviews that bring up some nostalgia for the players’ glory days, letting the audience into the inside jokes and locker room banter that the players remember.
It all started when the six of them signed onto the junior team to enter into the system, possibly leading to playing for Manchester United. Of course, they did progress all the way through the system together, which, according to them, is unlikely to ever happen again to a group of young players.
The former players talk about each other and their strengths, weaknesses, and sense of humour during their time on the team.
The media coverage of their lives was like nothing that had happened before, and they took the fame that came with their success differently. Some embraced it, as did David Beckham, who branched out his career into fashion and modeling. He rose to a stardom that none of the others reached, but then again, some simply didn’t want to. Paul Scholes, for one, was content with keeping things as simple as possible, which the others admired.
The media didn’t focus on just the football team – it seemed that there was a wave of culture coming out of Manchester at the time. Bands like The Stone Roses and Oasis and film director Danny Boyle enjoyed international success, and also show up in interviews in the documentary. The way they put it, all of England was looking to Manchester, and all of Manchester was looking to their beloved United (the film doesn’t mention Manchester City at all, curiously).
The team was the most successful it had been for a long time, and the players attribute that to their chemistry as teammates. It was definitely a magic combination that other legendary players, like Eric Cantona and Zinedine Zidane, admired.
That magic is what led to them winning a treble in the 1988-99 season – that is, the Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League trophies – after having won none during the season before that. Their feelings of pride come across when they remember every moment of the game perfectly, as if they were there once again. Their personal commentary accompanies game footage: an interesting choice that makes the game come alive.
Although some moments the players talk about are of the “you had to be there” variety, the stories for the most part put forth a nice, relatable nostalgia that also show us the beauty of the sport.
The Class of ’92 screened at the Cinema du Parc as part of Pitchfest.