5.0 out of 5 stars
"...........a significant piece of writing that has increased my understanding of my club.", 25 July 2014
Everyone knows the story of the class of 92 but it was some of Fergies first Fledglings who arguably saved Ferguson's time at the club.
The book looks at the most productive youth system in English football history from the first wave of youngsters to break into United's first team under ferguson, to members of the class of '92 and beyond.
These players were PROOF of what Ferguson was trying to do behind the scenes - trying to resurrect a famed youth system.
The interviews provide extremes in the how Ferguson is viewed by these players from gushing praise and appreciation bordering on paternal acceptance to abject disappointment and a clash of personalities with only one winner.
Chapters of note include:
Maiorana - check out interview with podcast @shootthedefence
Bojan Djordic -
Beardsmore - continued in the game even after injury. Not a sad story like some.
Tony Gill - had to retire from the game due to injury. Fergie rated him.
Alan Tonge - interesting insight into his belief that psychology will be the next big incremental factor that can affect players performance positively.
Fantastically researched and it is a book where the protagonists tell their own story.
There are plenty of great quotes:
Referring to the entity that is Manchester United Chris Casper says: "it's the pressure that comes from needing to perform for Manchester United......with respect to other clubs hey don't have united traditions and that's the difference. He culture is great but the tradition is something else......"
Djordjic on his legendary status on Championship Manager "I played that game myself and I was unbelievable. Without being big headed the researchers got it spot in because I really did have the talent"
Tonge on wanting to work with young players within the psychology of the game admits not working for United would be difficult: "though being United daft, I'm not quite sure I'd be as enthusiastic to do the same developing Liverpool or City youngsters"
Sobering thoughts on how Tony Gill's United career ended following an injury going into a tackle with Forests Brian Laws: "I knew the outcome of the tackle. I knew instantly it wasn't normal. The pain was different. I remember Bryan Robson holding my hand, Jim McGregor asking me questions and me not answering"
All United fans need to read the book. The history of the club is steeped in the youth system and this book gives personal accounts of what it was like to be at the club, be part of a system that was restored under a manager who became a knight and a legend. There are positive stories but also stories of personal tragedy. A thoroughly engrossing read and a real page turner. Some books are written through personal interest, others because of clamour and others purely for financial gain. This is a book of love. Author and researcher Wayne Barton deserves praise for the book he has produced and as a football fan and a United fan I would like to say thank you to him for a significant piece of writing that has increased my understanding of my club.