22 Hours: When the media forgot about Man United’s Class of ’92

An amazing thing happened on Wednesday 18th November 2015, an occurrence of such rare beauty it shall be treasured close to the nation’s bosom for many years to come.

For a period of 22 whole hours Manchester United’s fabled ‘Class of 92’ were not honoured, celebrated, or ejaculated upon by the BBC, BT, Sky or ITV. It is still too fresh in the memory to seem entirely plausible but I swear I’m not making this up. 22 whole delicious long hours.

Not a clip of a goal followed by Old Trafford erupting in rapture. Not another brown-nosing interview. Not a two-part series paid for from our license fees to plug their latest business venture. Not even a mention.

It was bliss.

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Until Zoe Ball punctured this all-too-brief respite by wishing Paul Scholes a happy birthday on Strictly Come Dancing – which is perfectly understandable because the ‘English Xavi’ has such close links with the popular family entertainment programme. I mean, he’s almost a friend of the show having appeared on it so often.

When you think of Paul Scholes you think cha-cha-cha and American Smooth don’t you – but until the childhood Liverpool fan, who switched to United when they rocketed into the ascendency and wouldn’t recognise the Stretford End if it was rebuilt outside her Sussex home; until she wished the ‘ledge Scholesy’ a happy birthday there was temporarily….nothing.

People awoke as if from a suppressive totalitarian dream. They remembered great teams from before football was invented such as the Tottenham double-winning side, Cloughie’s Forest, and several Liverpool elevens that dripped in silverware and class. They thought back fondly to special teams and moments that ignited our admiration since football was invented: The Arsenal Invincibles and Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea. Agueerooooo!!

So many amazing achievements. A cornucopia of incredible talent. With the sun on our face and air in our lungs we could now revel in them too.

For nearly one complete day we heard from former players of other clubs. Everton. West Ham. Aston Villa! Remember them? That team who won the European Cup.

Oh mercy we were free and in the distance the 63 million UK residents who don’t support Manchester United spied fields and a brave new world. There was a flicker of hope within us all. Maybe this bizarre Pravda age was over? Maybe the stories had been told so many times that the book was now closed?

Alas it amounted to those few blessed seconds before the board flashed up Fergie Time and the all-too familiar clang of heavy industry whirled back into life.

Neville, Neville, Butt, Beckham, Scholes, Neville, Neville, Butt, Beckham, Scholes, Cantona, CANTONAAA, Neville, Neville, Butt, Beckham, Scholes, Theatre of Dreams, Magical Night in Barcelona, Neville, Neville, Butt, Beckham, Scholes, ‘Kiddo’ sliding onto the pitch, a goal from the halfway line, Neville, Neville, Butt, Beckham, Scholes.

It was as relentless and remorseless as before as a Sky exec presumably noticed the over-sight, sacked an intern, and hastily scheduled a 1000th repeat of The Gary Neville Story followed by back-to-back highlights of the Sheffield Wednesday win, their 9-0 demolition of Ipswich, and Becks’ farewell game.

Typical Sky: Back to playing mother with only one fairytale to send us to bed with.

Over on BT a conveyor of ex-Reds were quickly assembled – it helps that they now sleep in a green room nearby – briefed to pontificate on anything football related but for God’s sake DON’T FORGET TO MENTION SCHOLESY!

At the Beeb, urgent pitching meetings were called.

“Right, we’ve done an hour-long kowtowing of Wazza featuring some of the boys, an hour-long interview with Fergie featuring the boys, spent a fortune following their buy-out of Salford City – and duly portrayed it as an underdog story despite them having a billionaire co-owner that afforded them to hoover up all the best players in their division – and televised one of their FA Cup games just so we could have some shots of GNev jumping up and down on his log. What else is there? For the love of Robbo come on people! ITV have Nicky Butt on a Chase Celebrity special tonight. We need something fast!”

“What about from a dog’s perspective? Everyone loves dogs. We can call it A Day In the Life Of Phil Neville’s Dog and show him missing his owner while he’s over in Valencia”

“Genius Gavin!”

So here I am, sending this secret missive to you, before the Class Of 92 protection squad wade in, miss the point entirely, and point out they were really, really good – homegrown and everything – and deserve to have suitable recognition.

And that missive is simply to say – weren’t those 22 hours bloody great.

 


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