“We’re not in the 90s now," Manchester United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer told reporters ahead of his side's Premier League trip to Newcastle.
“It’s a different era, a different group that we’re building. We know there are going to be ups and downs. I’m ready to see these boys blossom."
Indeed, as someone so involved with the Red Devils in the latter half of the '90s, where Manchester United were at the peak of their success, it's hard to forget the golden ages of yesteryear. There are six players in particular who provided the core of Man Utd's golden generation around the turn of the century, and Goal has everything you need to know about them and more.
- What is the Class of 92?
- Which players make up the Class of 92?
- What are Fergie's Fledglings?
- What trophies did the Class of 92 win?
The 'Class of 92' is a phrase that refers to a select group of Manchester United who emerged at the club in the early to mid-1990s under Sir Alex Ferguson, graduating from the youth side in 1992 to the senior team after developing at the club from a very early age.
Some had signed schoolboy forms with the Manchester side at just 14 years of age, and were involved in the Red Devils side that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup.
The Class of 92's development was overseen by Ferguson, with the team viewed as a more accomplished and talented side than those of earlier Manchester United generations, such as the Busby Babes.
It is also the name of a popular Man Utd documentary that celebrates the impact of this particular generation of footballers, examining the breakthrough of six players in particular.
The likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville formed the core of the Class of 92, having been involved in Eric Harrison's successful FA Youth Cup-winning team of that year.
Neville was given the honour of wearing the captain's armband, while Paul Scholes and Phil Neville – the younger brother of Gary – featured in the team that reached the final of the following season. Beckham and the older Neville also participated that season.
Legendary ex-Wales international Giggs made his first-team debut for Man Utd in 1991, while Beckham, Butt and the older Neville followed not too long later in 1992.
Scholes' debut for the senior side arrived in 1994, while the younger Neville's came in early 1995.
During this time, the Class of 92, who represented England and Wales, became regulars for both club and country. They all remained at Old Trafford for a handful of years, with Beckham moving to real Madrid in 2003, Butt transferring to Newcastle in 2004 and the younger Neville moving to Everton in 2005.
The older Neville spent the remainder of his career Old Trafford, and was given the armband after Roy Keane's exit in 2005.
The Class of 92 have been involved with Manchester United following their retirement. Gary Neville's testimonial against Juventus in May 2011 involved Class of 92 members, while Phil Neville became first-team coach of Man Utd under David Moyes. He retained his position under caretaker manager Ryan Giggs, staying until after Moyes was sacked in 2014, while Butt returned to Man Utd as a coach for the club's reserve team.
The Class of 92 is also referred to as Fergie's Fledglings, though the term also covers players not specific to the year 1992 but who still broke into the first-team around the same time.
The term Fergie's Fledglings came into prominence mainly during the 1995-96 campaign after Ferguson started to focus on developing the incoming second batch of youngsters graduating into the first team, in order to replace revered older players.
Alan Hansen famously said on a showing of Match of the Day, after Man Utd suffered a 3-1 opening season loss to Aston Villa, that "you'll never win anything with kids".
Ferguson's young side, however, who sported an average collective age of just 24, managed to catch up to a Newcastle United side who had a 10-point lead in the Premier League at Christmas. The youngsters successfully guided their side to a third league title in four years, in addition to a 1-0 win over rivals Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup final that won them the double.
A period of glittering success followed for the side in the years that ensued, culminating in the famous treble victory in 1999 that saw the Red Devils clinch the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – including the famous comeback in the UCL final in Barcelona to beat Bayern.
Starting with the victorious FA Youth Cup final in 1992, the Class of 92 won six Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies, two FA Community Shields, one Champions League title and the Intercontinental Cup in the years leading up to 2003.