Names now in the dug-out sound like a teamsheet from brighter times at Old Trafford.
Renowned graduates of United’s most successful youth team have been put in control of a team in turmoil following the abrupt dismissal of David Moyes. A notable absentee is David Beckham, who has never expressed a desire for team management.
If there is anyone who can unite what appears to be a disenchanted squad it is Ryan Giggs, assisted by retired former teammates Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville.
“It will certainly be a different atmosphere in training and at Old Trafford and the fans will buy into it,” said Eric Harrison, the youth team coach who developed the Class of ’92. “As soon as Ryan walks out the tunnel, the place will erupt.”
Even though Giggs is the oldest of the quartet at 40, the club’s most decorated player is the only one to feature in teams of both Ferguson and Moyes, who was fired on Tuesday after just 10 months in charge.
“I think for togetherness and getting the results and playing a certain way, a brand of football that is more eye-catching, the Man United way, I feel that Ryan Giggs is the right person,” former United teammate Dwight Yorke said.
With United searching for a more experienced successor for Moyes, Giggs has just four games to prove that the same football nous that enabled him to outwit opponents on the pitch for so many years also extends to the dugout.
“You’ve got to be natural as much as you can as a manager, find your own style, not try and be somebody else,” Giggs told The Guardian newspaper during a recent Football Association coaching course.
While cutting his teeth in the youth team, the Welsh winger was seen as setting the highest standards by the teammates now on his coaching staff.
“Ryan Giggs was probably the one I looked up to the most,” Neville told the BBC as a Class of ’92 documentary was released last year.
While Giggs is yet to comment since being appointed interim coach, Harrison said the Welshman was delighted with the chance to manage alongside his “musketeers”.
“I used to call him a ‘football nut’ because he took everything on board,” Harrison told Talk Sport radio.
Giggs, Scholes, Butt and Neville together made 2,453 appearances for United and were instrumental in the exceptional success under Alex Ferguson, who retired last year after 26 trophy-filled years in charge.
Scholes, whose retirement coincided with Ferguson’s, has returned to United to help out Giggs, while Butt had been coaching with United’s under-19 and under-21 teams, and Neville was already part of Moyes’ staff.
Even if they do not stay on at United when an experienced successor is hired as Moyes’s full-time replacement in the summer, the quartet already have another football club to occupy themselves with.
Along with another former teammate, Neville’s brother Gary, they are buying Salford City, a non-league club in the Manchester area. Gary Neville and Giggs have also gone into business together, opening the “Cafe Football” next to London’s Olympic Park and “Hotel Football” is under construction opposite Old Trafford.
The next game at United’s ground is against Norwich City tomorrow as the 20-time English champions look to complete their pitiful season with just pride intact. Not only did they fail to defend the Premier League trophy, but the team – at present in seventh place – are unable to finish in the top four Uefa Champions League places.
Failure to qualify for Europe’s top club competition ultimately cost Moyes his job. The sacked manager broke his silence on Wednesday to accept that results “have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect”.