Manchester United Class of ’92

by | Feb 22, 2018 | Football, Manchester |

iNostalgia remembers the Class of ’92 and catches up with some of the players who left United after the FA Youth Cup triumph.

Everyone can rattle off the big names when it comes to United’s brilliant Class of ’92.

Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Neville and Butt all went on to be massive stars for both The Reds and their national teams.

But what about George Switzer, John O’Kane, Andy Noone and Raphael Burke?

Or Simon Davies, Keith Gillespie, Chris Casper – and even Robbie Savage!

Nostalgia remembers the players who forged careers away from United after the Class of ‘92 – and the heady night they won the FA Youth Cup at Old Trafford.

We begin with the formal team line-up in February 1992. On the back row, from left, are Raphael Burke, Gary Neville, Simon Davies, John O’Kane, Andy Noone, Nicky Butt and Ben Thornley.

On the front row are Robbie Savage, David Beckham, George Switzer, Keith Gillespie, Paul Scholes and Chris Casper.

It’s a memorable picture from the archive – and one that iNostalgia has turned into a superb gift mug for all fans to treasure. Just check out the details below.

Manchester United youth team pose for a group photograph.

Manchester United’s famous youth team – the Class of ‘92.

Formality was firmly put aside when United’s jubilant youngsters won the FA Youth Cup 6-3 against Crystal Palace in May 1992. Our photo shows the team celebrations, including Ryan Giggs with the cup and scarf.

The Reds won the first leg at Selhurst Park 3-1 with goals from Butt (2) and Beckham and the second leg at Old Trafford 3-2. The United scorers on the night were Thornley, Davies and Colin McKee.

FA Youth Cup Final Second Leg match at Old Trafford.

United celebrated winning the FA Youth Cup at Old Trafford, May 1992.

The United youngsters even turned their hands to pitch preparation before the Old Trafford leg as our picture shows.

Gathered around the lawnmower in the sunshine at The Cliff training ground are, from left, goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington with Gary Neville, Switzer, Savage, Davies and Thornley.

Manchester United youth team players surrounding a lawnmower on the pitch

Players practise their mowing skills on the eve of the FA Youth Cup Final, May 1992

In the same season, the United youngsters also won the Lancashire Youth Cup beating Blackburn in the final.

Defender Chris Casper, pictured in action for United against York City’s youth team, was also captain of the England Youth team and a member of the European Championship winning team of 1993.

He made his senior debut for United in the League Cup game against Port Vale at Old Trafford in October 1994, but was unable to hold down a first team place.

Loan spells at Bournemouth, Swindon and Reading followed before Casper signed for Reading in November 1998 for £300,000.

Injury forced him to retire from football at the age of 24 and he went into management with Bath in 2002 then Bury. At the time he was the youngest manager in all four of the top tier leagues.

York's Paul Mockler tries to stop a shot from United's Chris Casper

Chris Casper in action for United’s youth team against York City, January 1992.

Fellow defender George Switzer joined United in 1982 after being spotted playing for Barhill Lads Club when he was only eight years old.

Manager Alex Ferguson considered Switzer too small to play at left-back and he was released at the end of the 1992-3 season.

He then signed for Darlington but moved to Hyde United after a year. He made more than 200 appearances for the Northern Premier League club from 1994 to 2000.

Our photo from November 1994 shows him proudly holding up a United shirt before Hyde’s first round FA Cup match against Darlington.

Former Manchester United youth team footballer George Switzer, holding a United replica shirt

Hyde United’s George Switzer with a replica United shirt, November 1994.

Winger Ben Thornley made nine appearances for the United senior team but was hampered by injury. After a loan spell at Stockport County he joined Huddersfield Town in May 1998.

At Huddersfield he played under two United legends as managers – Steve Bruce and then Lou Macari.

Thornley joined a number of clubs after Huddersfield, finishing up at Witton Albion playing alongside his brother Rod, a striker.

In our photo from May 1996 he’s tussling with John Wark as Huddersfield face Ipswich in a Division One match at Portman Road.

English League Division One match at Portman Road. Huddersfield Town A.F.C. v Ipswich Town F.C.

Ben Thornley takes on John Wark as Huddersfield play Ipswich, May 1996.

Winger Keith Gillespie, pictured playing for Newcastle against Coventry at St James’s Park in August 1995, enjoyed a successful Premier League career after leaving United in 1995.

He played for Newcastle, Blackburn, Leicester City and Sheffield United as well as Glentoran in the Irish League and Longford Town in the League of Ireland.

He won the League Cup with Blackburn in 2002 and the Irish League Cup with Glentoran in 2010.

Gillespie earned 86 caps for Northern Ireland from 1994 to 2008, making him their sixth most capped player of all time.

remier league match at St James Park, Saturday 19th August 1995. Keith Gillespie

Keith Gillespie playing for Newcastle against Coventry City, August 1995.

Finally, Robbie Savage tangles with United’s Roy Keane when Birmingham City visited Old Trafford in December 2002, a decade after Savage’s youth team triumph at the ground.

Midfielder Savage became a regular for Leicester City in the late 1990s and also played for Birmingham, Blackburn and Derby. He won 39 caps for Wales.

He is now a well-known TV and radio pundit, regularly presenting 606 on BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday evenings.

Robbie savage and Roy Keane.

Robbie Savage, playing for Birmingham, tangles with Roy Keane, December 2002.

To remember the Class of ‘92, iNostalgia and the M.E.N. have produced a special commemorative mug featuring the team line-up.

It’s made to the highest quality, hand-finished and dish-washer proof. Like your memories, it will last for years!

You can order yours here.