All football fans have heard of the Class of 92, the prodigious products of the Manchester United youth system that all appeared on the scene in the early to mid 90s – David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. But did you know that in the same youth team that produced Giggs there was a player, who played on the opposite wing, who was reckoned by most to be at least Giggs’ equal if not better? Who actually broke in to the first team squad at the age of 16 before Giggs?
On 17 October 1992, the first season of the Premier League, he made his Premier League debut just after his 19th birthday. A box-to-box centre midfielder he took no time in making himself a fixture in the team. His combination of skill, vision, intelligence and courage made him an immediate fans favourite. He made his debut for the England U21s and it seemed only a matter of time before he gained full international matters.
He never played in the Premier League again and made only four more league appearances before disappearing from the game at the age of 22.
I retired from football at the weekend. After 23 years of playing for the same team I called it a day, it was surprisingly emotional.
These are a few of the things that happened when I made my debut in men’s football in 1994: Friends started, Forrest Gump came out, Oasis released Definitely Maybe, the Channel Tunnel opened, OJ Simpson fled Police and the subsequent slow car chase was watched by millions – one of the first live news stories, Kurt Cobain committed suicide, Lidl opened their first UK stores and the first National Lottery draw took place.