Thursday, December 29, 2011

Robbie Savage On Class of 92

Why Red Nev and United's Boys of '92 would be worth £350m now
By Robbie Savage
Published on 3 February 2011

Guess who from the Class of 92: Manchester United's famous youth side (left to right) Gary Neville, Ben Thornley, Steven Riley, Chris Casper, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Robbie Savage, Eric Harrison (coach), Richard Irving, Paul Scholes, Mark Rawlinson, John O'Kane, Jovan Kirovski, Keith Gillespie, David Pierce

If Andy Carroll is worth £35million, how much would an in-his-prime Ryan Giggs cost now? If Darren Bent goes for £24m, then how much for the Paul Scholes of seven years ago?

I've got nothing against Andy and Darren, both very good players. It's not their fault that the British market has been inflated to a ridiculous degree.

But the transfer window and now the retirement of Gary Neville have got me wondering just how much Fergie's Fledglings - the Manchester United youth team we played on together - would be worth at today's prices.

My best guess is £350m, plus a bit of change that I'll tell you about in a bit. As I look to my own retirement, I've got to say that was the best side I ever played on.

Giggsy, Becks, Scholesy, the Nevilles, Nicky Butt, Keith Gillespie and me. We destroyed teams, week after week.Looking back, we were obviously players on the verge of doing something in the game. That we didn't realise it at the time is yet another credit to our coach Eric Harrison, who was a manager, mentor, teacher and father all in one.

If you made a mistake on one of the training pitches at The Cliff, you'd freeze as you heard a banging coming from the window of Eric's office. Then you'd watching in terror as he marched outside to give you a bollocking. No-one was exempt.

So instead of becoming spoiled - a few people would say that happened to me later - we had our feet nailed to the ground and they were carefree times. We were so excited to be together that after training in the morning and afternoon, we'd go back to our digs for tea and then return to The Cliff off our own backs in the evening.

The under-15s, who were still in school, would come over then and we'd give them a game. I didn't get to stay at United, but I know that spirit is still there among the lads who did.

It will be a massive loss when players of the quality of Gary and eventually Scholesy and Giggsy retire, but the positive is that they could stay with the club for years as coaches, even forming a rival to the old Anfield Boot Room. I know Sir Alex would love that.

So, if we rolled the clock back eight years to when we were all in our primes but then rolled the transfer fees forward to today's prices, what would we all be worth?

If they hadn't been unlucky with injuries, Chris Casper and Ben Thornley would have been worth a few million. Our goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington, defender John O'Kane and forward Colin McKee would together add a couple more. The one that got away, our left-back George Switzer, is now a mechanic in Manchester.

The Nevilles? In today's money they'd be worth £35m at their peak.

Nicky Butt and Keith Gillespie were probably our second- and third-best players when we were kids. In their primes, at today's prices, they'd go for £20m and £15m respectively.

But what about a Paul Scholes and a David Beckham when at the top of their games? It would have to be a Ronaldo-sized £80m each.

Giggsy was incredible when we were kids - a year older than all of us but a decade ahead in terms of talent. He's the best player in the history of the Premier League and, as such, in his prime but at today's prices, would be football's first £100m man.

I make that around £350,000,100 in total. But, I hear you ask, where did that stray hundred quid come from?

That would be what our striker was worth in his prime.A thin kid with a Welsh accent and a Dean Gaffney haircut.

But, you know, he hasn't done too bad...

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