How Man United's Class of '92 are taking over the media
They may now be retired but the famous Old Trafford graduates are not done with the game yet
Manchester United's fabled "Class of '92" swept all before them as players but even in retirement they continue to dominate the world of football, as they carve out careers within the game.
Last night many of the famous team that came through the ranks at Old Trafford donned their boots for a friendly against Salford City, a side now owned by Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville.
But although the youngsters of Salford triumphed 5-1 over the veterans, it is unlikely that the former Man United stars will be unduly concerned about their footballing decline. This week all but one of them have been unveiled in new roles.
The former Man United and England full-back has prospered since hanging up his boots. He shunned the media during his playing career but surprised many by establishing himself as a ground-breaking pundit with Sky. His acclaimed partnership with Jamie Carragher has been credited with improving the standards of TV analysis. He is also a part of Roy Hodgson's England coaching team. This week Neville, who once had a column for the Sunday Times (of Malta) was unveiled as a Daily Telegraph writer. The paper proudly announce that Neville would "bring his unique blend of brilliant tactical insight and authoritative opinion to a weekly column".
After finally retiring for good in 2013, Scholes, regarded as possibly the greatest footballer of his generation, joined Man United's backroom staff at the end of last season. But now the softly-spoken midfielder, who rarely gave interviews during his playing career and admitted that he dreaded the fame that came with success, has embarked on a media career. Last week he signed a four-year deal to be a pundit on BT Sport, putting him in direct opposition to Neville, and this week he went up against his old team-mate once again, when he was unveiled as a newspaper columnist for The Independent and the Evening Standard. "I say it as I think it is. It might upset people," he promised
Another former player who served as Man United first team coach last season has changed professions this summer. After being widely criticised for his efforts as a BBC pundit during the World Cup he was nevertheless unveiled as part of this season's Match of the Day team on Monday. When asked on Twitter if he would combine his TV role with coaching duties at Old Trafford he repied: "No". He got some broadcasting experience under his belt today by appearing on Test Match Special.
While Phil Neville is no longer working at Old Trafford, it was confirmed this week that Nicky Butt, drafted back into the club by Ryan Giggs at the end of last season, is staying on under Louis van Gaal. "Butt has been working with the reserve side but will adopt a wider role under new manager Louis van Gaal," says the Daily Telegraph.
There have been no new announcements from the United legend, who hung up his boots at the end of last year after taking over as interim manager when David Moyes was sacked. The winger, who made almost 1,000 appearances for the club, is now Van Gaal's assistant mananger and will take his place alongside him in the dugout for United's first game of the season against Swansea next week.
But the new owners of Salford City are not the only Class of '92 members to enjoy a successful career beyond football:
Now one of the most famous men on the planet, Beckham, who is said to be worth £200m, has not stooped to punditry since quitting the game in 2013. He has however tried his hand at TV, embarking on a televised adventure through Brazil ahead of the World Cup.
Although not quite in the same league of celebrity as Beckham, Savage, who also had a rather less glamorous career than his old team-mate, was a media trailblazer and still made a name for himself outside the game. He has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and has been a regular BBC TV and radio pundit for longer than any of his old team-mates.