The Class of 92 (2013) Script

Welcome to Barcelona.

Almost 100,000 people here in the Nou Camp this evening.

It really is an extraordinary atmosphere.

But you do wonder is fate now taking a hand in Manchester United's destiny.

They have made their own luck with their boldness and their adventure, but they have had just enough luck to stand here on the brink of history.

It's the chance of a lifetime.

A treble chance, the likes of which no English team has had before, or may ever get again.

Is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

One of Manchester's busiest shopping streets, suddenly a living hell.

A bomb planted in bushes behind Kendals department store showered office workers with flying glass.

Smash the poll tax and smash the Tories and in the end put an end to this Tory government itself.

I've only got one thing to say, it's nice to be back.

Ll' is clear tonight that it is no longer a matter of whether, but when there is a royal divorce.

England's shattered players arrived back at the hotel.

A few hours later we once again saw the dark face of English football.

It has turned out to be an annus horribilis.

A club of this size, one would expect at the platform, the stage, everything is geared to doing very, very well.

And that very, very well means winning the league.

I was a Man United supporter, and it's extra special when you get the coaching job there.

When Sir Alex took over, everybody realised that he wanted a vibrant youth system.

And he said to me straight out, as typically Sir Alex does, he says, "I'm not entirely satisfied with the youth system," you know.

He'd only been there probably a few weeks, or a month.

I said, "Well, you know, we've had Norman Whiteside through, "and Mark Hughes through."

And he looked at me with those steely eyes and he said, "That's not enough."

I said, "Do you know how many local scouts Manchester City have got, "and how many Manchester United have got?"

When I told him, he was staggered, he was absolutely staggered.

And I'm not exaggerating, within a month he trebled the scouting system at Manchester United, and that's when we started getting the players.

Nicky Butt, what an absolute warrior. What a great player Nicky Butt was.

Another Bryan Robson. Without question.

I think he nicknamed himself One Nut Butt.

He used to just head-butt people and knock 'em out, he said.

I think the lads were always a bit nervous about giving Butty a nickname, 'cause you didn't how he was going to react, he might just give you a dig.

You just don't mess with him.

Scholesy was like the joker that got away with it all the time.

We kind of nicknamed him The Ghost.

You know, he'd just disappear at some point.

I know what Scholesy was like, he was a little rascal.

And if somebody's underpants were missing, I knew who it'd be. Paul Scholes.

You've got a kid who's smaller than most.

He's got asthma. He's not the quickest, but the best player I've ever played with. Work that out.

When I first saw Giggsy, I just saw this really skinny kid.

There's no flashness to him.

He's probably the most down-to-earth superstar I've ever met.

One minute he can be the most serious man in the world, where he can be eye-balling somebody and really deep-eye staring at somebody, and then next minute he can be dancing on the table doing Elvis, so...

The thing that struck me early on about Becks was his appearance.

You thought, "He's too pretty to be a football player."

That was his nickname, "Pretty Boy".

You just think he's a flash cockney.

I used to call him "Treacle".

"All right, Treacle." You know, and just... That was his nickname.

We still all know him, I still see him in his red Escort Mexico.

That's how I look at him.

"Busy Brothers", "Busy One and Two", "Nervous Nevilles".

"Nervous Nevilles", yeah. He was a bit jittery on the ball at times.

Gary and Phil could be. Not always, though.

I think Freddie Flintoff on interviews has said that the best day of his cricket career was when Phil Neville retired, because he then became the best all-rounder in Lancashire.

He's just bubbly, he's always happy.

Another difference from him and Gaz.

Gary was the geek, wasn't he?

He was always sorting things out and everyone just started calling him Busy and...

Actually, Busy we always used to call him.

Everybody, the lads used to walk past me going...

I grew up in Bury. Lived in a terraced house opposite a park.

All I remember about being a kid is playing football, playing cricket at the cricket club.

And massively about my dad taking me to United as a kid.

I always remember the first time I went and I was absolutely mesmerised.

You always thought next year will be our year.

"We'll win the league. We'll win the league." We never did.

All I ever wanted to be was a football player.

And the only club I ever wanted to play at was United.

And Gary was one of them lads that when you know him, you love him to death, he's a great lad, everyone likes him.

And when you don't know him he has this persona of not being a nice person.

I couldn't stand his guts when I was younger.

And all I wanted to do was kick him whenever I played against his local team.

Gary Neville was nowhere near as talented technically as the other boys.

And he won't mind me saying that.

I always felt as though I had to work extra all the time.

And just live and eat better than anybody else.

I've given up on it a little bit now.

I made a conscious decision at 16, when I left school, that I couldn't continue to see the friends that I had been friends at school with, because I knew full well I would get drawn into doing things that 16 to 18-year-old lads did, and I couldn't do it.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't have any regrets.

And he wanted to make himself a player.

I didn't make him a player, he made himself a player.

Eric Harrison was a massive influence on me. He was just what I needed.

Took absolutely no.

I remember my wife watching me one day, because we were going to...

She wanted to go to the Trafford Centre after a training session.

I got in the car, and she was sat in the car, she said, "You're a disgrace."

I said, "What do you mean?"

She said, "You wouldn't do that to your children, would you?"

Eric has grounded them people, and he's put into 'em morals and "treat people right".

I think that if you're looking at Becks, probably one of the biggest sports stars in the world, you know, and he's still grounded. You know, we can thank Eric for that.

You've got to make those demands to be successful out there.

Those who could cope with those demands played, those who didn't...

And that's football.

The one I was most disappointed in was Raphael Burke.

Supremely talented player. I wish he had have had that right attitude because he would have been a first-team player.

For me, I thought I was talented, but I didn't dedicate like these guys.

When people say, "What was Becks like?" Or, "What was Giggs like?"

I say, "Well, the first thing is they sacrificed."

If you're gonna even have a tiny chance of being like them, if you don't practise or you don't sacrifice, you haven't got a chance.

I made Gary my youth-team captain of the Class of '92.

And he was a fantastic captain.

Gary was the leader, because if you saw Gary doing something different on the pitch, after training, it had me thinking, "Well, if he's doing it, I need to be doing something."

You know, he was the captain of the team.

So he always took on the mantle of looking after everyone.

I thought he was the glue that held them lads together.

Like our, I don't know, Uncle Gary, he is. He does everything for us.

It's just the way it is.

We phone each other up now and again, and I just go like that...

"Have you finished yet?"

Oh, dear me, he talks for England, he does, you know. And Phil's not bad as well.

Gaz and Phil would be, like, throwing balls up at each other.

They'd be like, you know, jogging on the spot.

"Lads, relax, there's an hour to go till kick-off yet. Relax."

If you laid back, then you just sat there, just looking at them, and just, "What you doing?" "What are you doing?"

And they were probably doing the same.

You can probably just imagine them speaking to each other.

"Phil, have you seen these? It's cup final. Look at them.

"They're not even prepared right. We're prepared.

"Are you prepared? Yeah, I'm prepared.

"Yeah. Right. Well, we're prepared. Never mind these."

You know, you can just imagine it, that's what they were like from an early age.

They were just all about the focus, and it worked.

I'd had two really bad experiences in the Youth Cup.

I played as a schoolboy, we got beat in the semi-final.

Played as a first-year apprentice, and got knocked out in the semi-final.

So I was desperate to win it, absolutely desperate, even though I'd played a few games in the first team.

The football was so good, I think. It was just so enjoyable to play in that.

We'd be winning four, five, six-nil most weeks.

And here's Ben Thornley. Could go it all alone!

He's scored!

Switzer trying to get in behind and there are people in the middle...

And it could come to... It's Giggs!

One of the things that I remember is Butty's overhead kick, you know.

Didn't go in, but he got so excited about it.

There was only going to be one result for this team, it was just...

You just knew.

And that was a really tough game.

But I mean, that was the biggest relief I've ever had in my life, to come off that field winners of the Youth Cup, you know, and see them lifting the Youth Cup.

It was sensational.

How many of these faces will we ever see in a Manchester United first team?

They hadn't won it for such a long time.

I think it was the Busby Babes who won it last time, I think.

Went in the changing rooms and the manager was there, the players were there, the first-team players were there.

All the staff was there. Directors were there.

It was massive. It was huge.

And I put that medal alongside every other medal that I've made.

I wouldn't put it any higher, I wouldn't put it any lower, it's on a par with every single medal that I've ever won, because at the time, at 16, 17, 18, it's the biggest medal you can win.

We had a great team spirit. Great bunch of lads. Great coaches.

We hadn't won it for a long time, and we lifted the cup at Old Trafford, we couldn't ask for much more really.

It was an achievement, but it's never enough to just win one trophy.

"Okay, next year we're going to do it again."

Best time of my career was my apprenticeship.

You go to work every day together with your mates, you've got no cares in the world, it's just fun.

You knew you was good, you knew you was better than most teams you played against.

But they were the best times in my career, I can still say that now.

What happened at The Cliff when we was kids was the old apprentices, or the first-year pro, would always, you know... get hold of the first-year apprentices, which was us, do all sorts.

Most of the things are unspeakable.

It was the end of that era where it was just the done thing.

Where part of your initiation, part of your growing-up process, your toughening-up process, was to put you in situations that you didn't like.

They put me in a kit bag and padlocked it up once and put me on a bus.

And then did the same with Scholesy the week later.

Nicky wasn't small, but I was tiny, so I'd fit in quite easily.

And you'd end up smacking the bag like this, and you'd be in the middle of Old Trafford in the laundry getting plucked out.

So it were unlocked and sent back.

At dinner times, you just knew when you've had your dinner, that's it, the second-years were gonna absolutely try and abuse you.

And we just all used to go and hide somewhere.

I think we used to hide in the big gym.

When it comes to initiations, a lot of people, it would be over in 20 seconds, 15 seconds.

They would just do something stupid, you'd get a round of, "That was brilliant", you get a round of applause, right, you don't have to do anything again.

There would be the odd player who wouldn't do it, or didn't want to do it, or would do it rubbish, and then you would be on 'em.

There's one time they put Scholesy in the dryer and...

I don't know whether they turned it on, but they shut the door and they might've just turned it on and off like that, quick.

I think he had a panic attack.

But it was a big old industrial dryer, as well.

I think that's what brought his asthma on.

The nightclub scene was the best. You had to chat someone up.

I had to do that with you once.

Chat them up? Yeah.

It wasn't my greatest skill when I was a young kid, chatting girls up.

I had to perform sexual actions to Clayton Blackmore's calendar.


On the bed? Yeah, on the bed.

Yeah, that was my worst one.

Boot polish, as well, on the...

I had a boot-polish number put on the back of my...

The bongs on your back? What about the spoon in your mouth?

What, did they draw the kit on you?

I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure who did it, but...

Giggsy used to draw the kit on him.

Do you not think... It was you!

It was part of his initiation. Don't even know why you're here.

Right, and look how you turned out.

No, I didn't enjoy it. You're welcome.

You was horrible, Giggsy. I hated him.

It made you solid, it made you hard, it made you tough.

It made you not be soared of looking a fool in front of your friends.

Not be scared of, you know, saying things out loud in front of older players.

So, although it probably, nowadays, could be classed as bullying, it was a massive part of becoming a player at the club.

Because if you're a 20-year-old lad and something's wrong on the pitch, if you've not got the bollocks and go and say it to the older players, then you've got no chance of making it at Man United.

Even though I hated it, and it used to make me ill, I still think there's part of that old-school values and that toughening-up process that the kids nowadays miss out on.

I'm happy that us lot came through at that time, because when we came into being reserve-team players, we were the players that stopped it.

We were the players that kind of knew it wasn't right to do these kinds of things.

And it stopped.

Got to remember that in the, sort of, '60s, '70s and '80s, that Liverpool had an incredible time, you know, in music, football, and I suppose in some ways, this last 20 years has been Manchester's time.

The Stone Roses, Oasis. United winning the league.

But the two cities have got a lot of similarities.

The spirit and fight, the honesty, the integrity of the people.

There's tribalness to it. Why shouldn't there be?

When was your first goal here?


Was it? Oh, yeah.

Was it that scuff into the corner? Yeah.

Proper scuff.

When was yours, Scholesy? Trying to think.

Do you remember you used to play at all? Have you just completely forgotten already?

I remember, '99 season, January, Liverpool.

The FA Cup? In the FA Cup.

One-nil down, weren't we, with what... Yeah...

Five minutes to go. Michael scored for them, didn't he?

Michael Owen? Yeah.

That's was my fault, as well.

They just got a cross in, I just couldn't get my head there in time.

You remember? You left your runner.

I think you blamed me, as well. Again.

I always remember the goals I give away, me.

There's that many of them, though, aren't there?

I thought that was the best atmosphere of the season.

To be fair. Yeah.

Yeah. That last couple of minutes here. That's where it all started, I think.

I think the beginning of the season, '98/'99, I don't think it was any different to any other season.

We knew we had a good team, a good squad.

We expected to go and do well.

Our form was inconsistent in the early parts of the season.

We were conceding goals.

We were exciting, the attacking football was brilliant, but we were still conceding goals in the league.

But at the turn at Christmas, the FA Cup against Liverpool...

What a game that was.

And then it just seemed to snowball from there.

You know, the season hasn't been all Manchester United had hoped for.

Not so far.

But an FA Cup tie against what is a young Liverpool team, at this stage, could change that.

One-nil down.

Four minutes, five minutes to go.

Beckham may just take this on.

Lifted towards the head of Cole... And Yorke!

When you're one-nil down and you score that equaliser, you know it's coming.

Into Cole again... May break for Scholes.


You know, for us to come back and score two late goals, sort of set the tone of the season, and it was, for me, it was the turning point that...

Teams knew that, no matter what the score was, we would still come back at them.

It's at the back of their mind that, "They always come back, these."

The story of Manchester United was great.

Us great players... Now we could feel... like the ghosts.

I remember walking the corridors up to the manager's office at Old Trafford.

And the smell of Sir Matt Busby's pipe.

You just knew there was a big...

Just a big presence about him still there and...

You just walked past and, you know, you might see him now and again.

The door would always be open.

I look back now and think, you know, we should have gone in more and talked to him more, but you were scared.

This was like a god.

And there were two, like, big important books in our family.

One was a massive Bible.

And the other book was the photo album, you know, like black-and-white photos of us as little kids.

And with a, you know, big extended family around the area and all that kind of stuff.

Biggest picture in that book, at the back, was the Busby Babes.

On the fringe of a Munich Airport lies the wreckage of an airliner still smouldering from a crash, in which 21 people were killed.

I heard it at school.

I heard that news at school, and I was crying my eyes out at school.

You know, and I mean the teacher took me to another room, I was that emotional about it, you know.

And I thought, they can't be dead.

The teacher said to me, "Sorry, Eric, I'm sorry, they are."

I think probably 17, 18, we'd won the Youth Cup, the Busby Babe comparison started to come out.

You've got big footsteps to follow here.

You've got lads who were young men, just wanting to play football, wanting to dream like we're dreaming.

Their legacy is enormous.

Everything you see there at that club today was built out of that tragedy and Sir Matt Busby's determination to grow another team.

To rebound. To go again.

Obviously what he created at Manchester United led to what the boss had created at Manchester United and what, you know, we were part of.

And you feel that.

I was born in Cardiff. My dad played rugby, so he signed professionally for Swinton, so I moved to Manchester when I was seven.

Everyone on my street was United fans, and I used to go watch them, Stretford End, United Road.

Go with my mates, catch the match bus, the 26.

Try and climb over the fence and get in for nothing.

You know, all that sort of stuff, as a United fan, I used to do.

First time I seen him play, I was like, "Oh, my God, "What have I just seen?"

If that's the standard that we have to get to, I'm done.

I'm finished. What's the point?

You know what I mean? Go back to Bury.

Kick your little ball against a wall.

Just get off this pitch away from him, because honestly he was unbelievable.

Ryan Wilson again.

He is Salford's star man.

That's a terrific pass for Winwood. Oh, that's a marvellous goal.

We were nowhere near him, do you know what I mean?

We weren't even in the same bracket as him.

Yes, when I arrived, Giggs was playing. Yeah.

Yeah, and now I retired, what, 15 years ago and he still plays.

It's crazy.

I'll never forget the manager, sort of, naming the team in the old dressing rooms at Old Trafford.

And I'm just sat there and I'm not not listening to him, but sort of half not interested, because I didn't think I was playing.

So left wing is last.

And he... And I'll never forget it.

It was like, "And Ryan, you'll play on the left today."

I was like, "Did you say my name there?" And like... started... I don't like flying.

So when we're taking off, I've got, like, sweaty palms like you wouldn't believe.

And it was like... It was exactly the same feeling.

Number 14 is 17-year-old Ryan Giggs.

We looked at him and thought, "That's our motivation."

"You know, if the manager's giving him a chance, "then surely he's going to give us a chance at some point."

And this is Giggs!

Oh, he's just getting better and better!

The manager used to always say, if I'd ever I had a shave, then the next day in training he'd just look at me, "You was out last night, weren't you?" And I'd go, "No."

He'd go, "Yes, you was. You always have a shave.

"When you've gone out, you always have a shave, "you're always clean-shaven."

So from then on, I just learned, if I went out, I just wouldn't shave.

I think growing up in Manchester, in the '90s, obviously it was brilliant, it was massive.

It was the time of The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, all the house music, and it was the place to be.

I mean, it was a ridiculous place. The Hacienda. The Boardwalk.

We were going to concerts, Spike Island, and it was a real special time really.

I remember once the whole Man United team went to the Hacienda.

Wouldn't happen nowadays with the press everywhere, but...

You'd have what's called a player's pass, a Man United player's pass.

So every, like... professional had one.

And certain clubs, you'd get in free with it.

So you'd go out with your player's pass, show it the bouncer, you know, "Let me in."

That was a good thing that I liked about my upbringing in Manchester, was everyone looked after each other. If you was a good-enough guy, you didn't show off too much and you weren't big-headed, the bouncer looked after you.

It just seemed like the magic dust literally had been sprayed all over the city.

So it was good to see the football and the music thing.

You know, what else is there? What else is there?

Manchester reinvented itself.

It didn't wait for a leader to do that for it. In fact, it took the disinterest that was clearly shown to it by Margaret Thatcher's premiership, and it took that as actually a signal to do it itself.

We can't even get out, we're walking on cockroaches, beetles.

In flats in this block?

In these flats over here.

We've got people coming up using the place as brothels and everything all over the place.

It's disgusting.

We all grew up as Thatcher's children and...

You know, hand on my heart, that bitch gave me my start in music, man, because she put me on the dole straight out of school.

And where else would I have got the chance to learn an instrument?

There are some great northern cities that actually aren't beholden to anyone, you know, and no matter how bad it gets, they will regenerate themselves.

Now, the football teams, of course, especially United, is a symbol of that.

Sharpey loved to go out, loved to party and have a good time.

For me, he was the one who I had, probably, the most in common with because of the age.

I've seen Giggsy and Lee Sharpe and a few of the guys out and about in town and in the clubs at the time and what have you.

I suppose we should have took it on ourselves to tell them to naff off home and get an early night, before there's a Liverpool game coming up or summat.

But it's not our place to do that, is it?

Fergie had his little network of guys out there doing just that, didn't he, I suppose, so...

The gaffer had been tipped off that me and Sharpey were going out.

So he's just totally surprised us, and we're at Sharpey's house...

He threw my mate out. He threw the girls out.

He's going, "Where's that... Where's Sharpey?"

So one of my other mates has ran upstairs, said, "Sharpey!" Sharpey's in the mirror, just...

He's getting dressed.

He's in his bedroom just, you know, putting his jacket on.

"Your gaffer's here, your gaffer's here."

Sharpey's gone, "Yeah, all right, yeah. Of course he is, yeah."

Carried on sort of like getting ready.

And in the mirror, he seen the gaffer walking up the stairs.

At this time, the apprentices can hear his voice, because there was a few of the apprentices out.

They've hid in the wardrobe, they've hid under the bed, one of them jumped out the window.

And he didn't know about them. They didn't get caught.

So anyway, he's caught me and Sharpey red-handed.

And he's just sat us down and he's absolutely battered us.

"Sharpey, you're going back in digs, you're not having your own house.

"You've had too many chances."

And he said to me, he's gone, "Do you want to end up like him?"

From that day on, really, I was a little bit more focused, and obviously I'd seen the gaffer snap before, but not like that.

The last thing that either club needed was a replay, but here we are.

United already committed to two games a week between now and the end of May, or they are if they're to keep thinking about a treble.

And let's not forget the double's still on for Arsenal.

Something's got to give here.

We'd played, I think, about three or four days before.

We had Juventus coming up, we were doing well in the league.

So the manager decided to change things. I'd played in the first game.

We'd had a goal disallowed, and we felt that we should have won it.

And I just wanted to play in that game. And I was subbed.

At that point in our careers, Arsenal was the rivals.

It was such a great Arsenal team, it was the best team that, probably, we played against domestically.

Power, pace, aggression, experience, skill.

They had everything. And...

They were such a tough team to play against.

I mean, Martin Keown from England, and they were all...

And David Seaman, they were all great lads, I really like them.

But on the pitch, there was just a real hatred.

And it had been such a tiring game.

You know, going 1-nil up, then 1-1, and then...

Keaney got sent off, so we're playing, obviously, a man down.

There were so many emotions as well.

I probably should have came off.

I was physically and mentally exhausted.

It was such an emotionally charged evening that I just hit a brick wall.

The ball came across to Ray Parlour and he was taking me on.

And I remember feeling shattered.

I actually remember him running at me, to this day, thinking, "I'm dead here."

So I just collapsed on the floor, thinking I've got to make a tackle.

And it was a tired... I made the wrong decision.

And when I give the penalty away, I remember thinking, "Life's over.

I'm dead-

"I'd rather die than this penalty go in."

And it was one of those moments when I honestly thought, if Dennis Bergkamp would have scored, my Man United career would have probably been finished.

Me and Phil go to celebrate with Peter Schmeichel, he literally shoves us the other side of the box.

He literally clothes-lined me away. And I was back on it.

The game was getting a bit stretched.

So I think the manager thought it would be perfect for me to come on now, fresh legs, and the managerjust says, "I think the right back's tiring.

"Whenever you get a chance, run at him. Make something happen."

You're 10 men, you're thinking it's going to penalties.

You're hanging on.

Arsenal have sort of wave after wave of attack.

And then Giggsy picks the ball up.

Patrick Vieira plays the ball square.

And I just remember Giggsy setting off.

When I sprint, you can tell I'm sprinting. Everything is moving.

With Giggsy it's almost slow motion, he glides on the top of the surface, his feet don't touch the ground.

He picked the ball up. And I was at left back behind him, and I was shouting, "Giggsy, Giggsy, I'm on my way."

Thinking I was going to overlap him.

And Giggsy just went further and further and further away from me.

He starts running at players, and I've seen Giggsy do this since I was 15 years old.

I stood still and it was like slow motion.

In and out, gliding in and out. He was like a gazelle.

He had this grace about him.

And he was making body movements without even touching the ball.

And Lee Dixon went for one, Martin Keown went for one.

I just saw him going through, going through, keeping on going.

I'm thinking Scholes is coming in back post.

Look at Scholesy, look at Scholesy.

And all he had to do was square it to me and I'd make a big run and I tell you, I think I was still 20 yards behind him, and I was sprinting as fast as I could.

That was Ryan Giggs, whether he was playing on Lower Broughton Road, Littleton Road, The Cliff training ground, Carrington...

That was what Ryan Giggs was all about.

This was Giggsy's moment.

What a goal!

You have seen a magician wave a wand!

And conjure up a trick which the FA Cup and all its glorious past can revel in.

You just lose yourself and don't know what you're doing.

And everything...

Sanity just goes out of your head.

And I just decided to take my shirt off and just... start swinging it.

The team were coming over. Fans were coming over.

They were on top of me and it's just... unbelievable.

How many times are you going to see a goal like that in your lifetime?

Especially scored by one of your lads as well.

It is the best goal I've ever seen.

Just for everything, how important it was, and the way he did it, who he went past.

As a defender, you look at those lads differently, and they're the heroes for you, they produce the biggest moments, at the best times, when you need them.

And throughout that season they all delivered.

Every single one of them.

But Giggsy's moment is the stand-out moment.

I mean, I think if they'd have won, they might have gone on and won the double, but...

Have you ever seen the footage when, you know, when he scores the goal and goes like this...

Watch the footage of Scholesy... I got into the goal.

He goes in the goal and goes like this... He's probably thinking, what am I doing?

I've never seen it. Have you seen it?

Because I was running waiting for you to square it.

And you ran away celebrating, and you take your top off, and I go like that...

That'd had have got me out jail, Scholesy, that one.

Right next to me. Yeah, it would have done, yeah.

I used to play two or three years above myself.

I wasn't-just in my own age group playing at centre back or fullback or in midfield, so I was playing with men when I was only a boy.

So I realised early on that to get forward in the game, I needed many strings to my bow.

The England manager used to say to me, you need to nail down one position.

You need to nail down one position, if you do that, you'll have a bigger, better, longer career.

And I used to come away thinking, that is the biggest load of rubbish that I've ever heard in my life.

I'm 19, I'm 20, I'm a regular in Man United's first-team squad.

And I think it was probably one of the times when I probably did have to be strong with myself, that what I was doing and what I believed in was right.

Phil was always popular, because he was...

He was comfortable around anyone's company.

He was one of them people who were good in the dressing room, and good to have around, because he would just make people feel at ease.

As a fullback, you need to develop a trick, and mine was a step-over.

And I worked on it every day.

And I did it in a game once at Old Trafford.

I did a step-over, got to the by-line, crossed it, and... we nearly scored.

And as I was running back, Butty, Becks, Keano, they were laughing their heads off. Just laughing their heads off, and I could not understand for the life of me why they were laughing.

I'd just done the best step-over that this club has ever seen, and they're absolutely wetting themselves laughing.

So the next time I get the ball, I threw in a double step-over, and the crowd, you know, they were cheering, and I think they thought I was taking the mickey.

But this is something that I was serious about and I've worked on for six months.

And I'd just produced it at Old Trafford against Southampton.

So I turned round after the double step-over, and Roy Keane looked at me and just said, "Stop f'ing about."

I wasn't too happy when...

I'm playing in a game, and I'm thinking, "They're singing my song, you know, for the first few seconds, and then..."

♪ Phil, Phil Will tear you a... ♪ Whoa! Whoa!

"That's not right. Phil?

"No, it's my song." it must have not been that good, because everyone used to slaughter me about it.

For Ferguson, it was important.

The academy, young players was very important.

Then we could see that it was a great generation, and we could hear the coaches and everybody.

It was a great generation.

And then you have to have the...

It's simple, then to have the manager who gives them the chance to play.

I remember I was on holiday, I think I was in Cyprus, and I pick up the paper and you see all these players are going, and you're thinking, "Wow, what's going on here?"

They must be going to go and buy some proper big players to replace them.

Obviously the manager was looking at where we could improve, but I don't think anyone could foresee what he was going to do.

You know Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince.

You know, three massive players for United.

To be fair to the gaffer, he stood by us, didn't he?

He could have bought any player he wanted.

He was under pressure around that time, the gaffer, wasn't he?

The three players that went...

Massive. Massive.

Fan player. You know. The fans loved them.

Fans loved them. Scholes, I suppose, came in for Sparky.

You came in for Incey, you for Andrei.

Me for Paul Parker. Because we were, like, we were all replacing brilliant players, weren't we, do you know what I mean?

It's a great risk.

But... he knew it.

And he was right.

And for me, of course, it was great to play with a generation of players, win things with them.

Be a bit in the middle of that, you know?

And help the new players, and young players.

And then we'd go back to training and he'd still not bought any, he's still not bought any. And before you know it, we were playing Aston Villa the first clay of the year, and we was all in the team.

After the first half an hour or something, we were 3-nil down.

It was a disaster, really...

And Taylor's made it three!

At Aston Villa.

It's going from bad to worse.

After the game we were thinking, "We've let the manager down, he's put his faith in us, "we're only young, the fans are going to hate us, "everyone's going to hate us because we're wrecking the club."

I think they've got problems. I wouldn't say they've got major problems.

Obviously, three players have departed. The trick is always buy when you're strong.

So he needs to buy players. You can't win anything with kids.

You look at that line-up Manchester United had today, and Aston Villa, at quarter past two when they get the team sheet, it's just going to give them a lift, and it'll happen every time he plays the kids. He's got to buy players.

In truth, that night, watching Match Of The Day, I felt exactly the same as what Alan Hansen said, we wasn't good enough.

We wanted to believe in it. And we tried everything to win it.

But to be realistic...

With five new players

coming from the academy, 19 years old, it's not very realistic to think that you can win things.

I wasn't probably at that stage of my career where I felt comfortable to sort of, you know, "Don't worry about it, it'll be all right."

You know, I wasn't at that...

'Cause I didn't know whether it was going to be all right or not, you know?

They have got star names to come in. They've got Cole and Giggs.

Cantona, in due course. Cantona.

And Steve Bruce. Bruce.

Still not enough. The trick of winning the championship is having strength in depth. They just haven't got it.

But we tried so hard and they were so exceptional, and Ferguson helped them to learn things so quickly... that we won it.

And we won the double.

Premier League and the Cup.

Eric, when he come back from his suspension, he was phenomenal really and really did carry the team quite a lot of the time.

You don't win anything with kids, he's right.

You don't win anything with kids.

We won because we were part of a team that had Roy Keane in it, and we had Bruce, Palliate, we had all these top experienced players who got the young lads through it, really.

We didn't realise how special it was, to be honest, I think, at the time.

Because, you know, we're all in the team.

There was not one piece of jealousy between any of us and all we were worried about was staying in the team and doing well.

I didn't play in the '96 final.

In the final, we played Arsenal.

He came round to my room in the morning, I could hear him coughing outside, you know, that...

Came in and said he wasn't playing, you know, but you hear his cough outside the door down the corridor.

If you knew you were getting dropped, I just didn't answer the door.

If he can't find you, he can't drop you. Can he?

Go missing. Yeah.

You did used to wait for that knock though, didn't you?

Yeah, used to wait for the knock. About 11-ish.

I remember once him coming up to me, I think it was Thursday, before a game on a Saturday.

And he said, "I'm not playing you on Saturday, son."

He said, "I've got a game for you, two weeks on Saturday, "it's just the game for you." I was like,

"So I'm not playing for four games?" "You make sure you prepare for that one.

"I need you in that game."

And I was like, "Right, he needs me in that game."

I'm thinking, "Have I been dropped for four games, "or have I been told that I'm brilliant and I'm needed for that?"

I couldn't work it out.

What's the best excuse he gave you for leaving you out?

Too hot. Too hot?

"Really, Scholesy, it's too hot." "Too hot for you."

"Sharpey always does well at Villa Park.

"He always does well, so I'm not going to play you."

He said he was leaving me out of Chelsea once because they had some Combat 18 fanatics in the crowd, and he thought I was a bit too young for it.

Best one he gave me was, "it's a nice ground, and you come into your own on a heavy pitch, "so in November you'll be my player."

So I only played one month a year, me, one month a season.

Thing about Nicky is, regardless of his age, he always had that... schoolboy, 9, 10, 11-year-old look on his face, of up to no good.

Sir Alex used to say, "Butt, you're up to no good."

All the time.

Silly little childish things.

I did one once with a teapot and Peter Schmeichel.

You know, big 6'8" man, giant.

You'd come in the dressing room and there was a tray of sandwiches and, you know, the big hot silver pots with tea in or coffee.

Obviously we were just sat in the dressing room, a freezing cold day.

Peter Schmeichel, obviously, he walks up to get a sandwich and a cup of tea, absolutely bollocks.

I put a steaming-hot kettle on the bed, and I put it behind his arse, like that, so I was sort of like that, looking at the lads, laughing, thinking he's just going to touch it there.

And I've looked round like that, he's turned round, full pirouette and caught his manhood right on the pot.

And you heard a little... like that as well.

And we're just looking in absolute disbelief, and can't believe what he's done.

And all I hear is...

"What are you doing?"

Screamed as loud as he could.

He's just going to kill me. So I literally dropped the kettle and I was just legging it right round, all round The Cliff, and he's chasing me.

Ended up having a big blister on the end of it.

I don't what he was thinking. It was just a naughty school kid in him.

"Right, I've got a pot here, he's...

"Right, I think I'll have to do that, there's nothing else I can...

"Right, I'll do it."

And I don't...

I think he just lost himself.

It is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.


Manchester was absolutely brilliant.

We were young lads playing for United. What couldn't we be happy about?

We were doing everything that you wanted to do, with the badge that you wanted to wear, winning.

At the time there was a lot of optimism.

You know, six lads from the youth team have gone through and are regulars now in the United team.

It was becoming a young person's world, you know?

Music was changing. Politics was changing. Football was changing.

You had a young band from Burnage, Oasis, just ruling the world.

And it gave a lot of optimism. You could feel it within the country.

Life in England was just going along nicely.

And then all of a sudden there was this razzmatazz.

There was this surge, this tidal wave of culture that suddenly dominated.

Suddenly, luck sparkled in front of the world.

I got a Union Jack guitar, and I sent it to him to sign, and I really should have known better, to be fair.

He sent it back with, "To Gary, how many England caps do you deserve?

"I'll tell you, none. Lots of love, Noel Gallagher."

And put "MCFC" all over it.

There was that feeling in that few years preceding that, the public spirit had disappeared.

This long period of individuality, of selfishness, there's no such thing as society.

That led inexorably to us wanting to re-establish a sense of idealism.

Seventeen years of hurt never stopped us dreaming.

Labour is coming home!

I was constantly aware of the fact that I was young, very young.

And I remember the very first day I came into Downing Street, going down to meet the head of the Civil Service, who was much more senior figure from the British establishment, and he looked at me and said, "Well done. What now?"

You don't realise until you look back how important a time that was, and how fortunate you was to be around the place in them days.

What those young players felt was possible for them as players, there was a curious kind of echo in culture, in art and in politics.

I mean, when I look back now and think of the changes we made to the House of Lords, getting rid of the Hereditary Peers, Scottish Devolution, giving Scotland its first parliament, and then peace in Northern Ireland, sometimes I think what was great about the spirit of that time was that what, on rational analysis was impossible, became imbued by a spirit of possibility and was actually done.

There was a kind of hope crept back into everything and it was a great time of change, and it's party time, you know.

It was good times.

The Stretford End gets knocked down and all of a sudden you've got this massive big new stadium at Old Trafford.

You've got stadiums going out around the world, bigger and better.

Everything was getting bigger and better.

The game became completely different.

The way in which it was viewed. The way in which it was televised.

The money that came into the game. The wages going up.

English soccer became a major pan' of our identity.

Suddenly it went from something that was politically kind of irrelevant to something that was politically important.

We were part, probably, of a revolution, in a way.

I suppose if you had to pick a footballer to epitomise that, more than any, it would be David Beckham.

I grew up in East London. Born in Leytonstone.

Lived in Leytonstone, right near the dog track for about 10 years, and then we moved to Chingford, posh part of East London.

We stayed there up until I left for Manchester, which was when I was 15 years old.

My dad was a huge Man United fan, all he talked about was United.

His favourite player was Bobby Charlton.

My middle name is Robert Joseph.

"Robert" because of Bobby Charlton, and "Joseph" because of my granddad.

My granddad was a Tottenham fan. He'd been a season ticket holder for 50 years.

So at Christmas, my dad always used to buy me a Man United kit, the new Man United kit.

And my granddad always used to buy me the Tottenham kit.

What was it like when you signed? How did you feel when you... it was brilliant. Straight from when we left here.

When we got there, it was just brilliant.

Signing the paper and that.

Just couldn't believe it was happening.

Becks turned up to United, and he looked like a Man United mascot.

He had all the tracksuits, scarves, caps, Bobby Charlton badges.

But he was just a fanatic Man United fan.

It was a weird experience for us local lads to see a cockney lad knowing more about United than we did.

A bit embarrassing.

Sir Alex Ferguson would just call my mum and dad's house, and my mum would answer and it would be this strong Scottish accent saying, "Mrs Beckham, it's Alex Ferguson," and my mum would be like...

To my dad, you know. And my dad would be like, "No way".

So my dad would come on the phone and he'd just have a chat, say, "How's David doing? How did he do last weekend?"

And most of the time my dad would say, "He did all right, but he can do better".

Because that's what my dad did.

And Brucey and Robbo would just take the Mick out of him.

"Flipping heck, he must be some player.

"What's he doing in Man United's dressing room?"

I'd go in the changing room and I'd help Norman pick up the dirty pants, the dirty socks, the dirty shorts from the...

I was loving it.

It was Man United, Man United players just kind of dropping their underwear on the floor, and I was grabbing it, putting it in the box.

And won't you miss home?

I probably will miss it a little bit, but I'll be doing what I want to do, so...

What I've always admired about David is his mental toughness is phenomenal.

I mean, people can say whatever they want about him who don't know him, but mental toughness, he's as tough as anybody you'll ever, ever, ever meet.

We all got given car deals with Honda.

So we all had these Honda Preludes.

I'd waited for so many months for that car, so many years.

You know, all the players had had their car before me.

I was literally... I think you had to play 21 games, and I was on 18 or 19 for, like, six or eight months, which was killing me.

Because I was so close.

I went down to Honda, ordered my car, you know, came out with my Prelude.

I was so happy with it.

Becks had a black one.

He paid extra for leather seats.

I used my FA Cup bonus.

I used every penny that I had.

He paid extra for these special alloys.

And the dealer, he said to me, he said, "You know that you have to give this car back after a year?"

And I was saying, "Yeah, yeah, it'll be fine."

We'd just use each other's cars.

Every day we would use Becks', 'cause he had these leather seats.

And he would go mad.

Because we'd got our football boots on, so we're dirtying his car.

And he's, "Lads, lads, don't scuff the leather, whatever you do."

I can't actually remember saying it.

But it sounds like something that I would say.

As soon as he said that, every day, we would stand outside his car, "Are you ready, Becks?"

"We're ready to go over."

And he would have to drive over, and we would just ruin his seats...

Just ruin, you know, put our studs over the seats.

It got nicked in the end, the car.

But it looked great while I had it.

The goal he scored against Wimbledon, he practised that in training every single day.

Every single day he'd do that.

Just booting balls from the halfway line.

I call it booting, he was striking them, from the halfway line, towards the goal.

Striking the ball, he was incredible.

I was injured that game.

One of my mates said, "Becks just scored from the halfway line."

So I'm thinking, "Slight exaggeration.

"Probably scored like, maybe on the angle from 40 yards or something like that."

I remember Eric Cantona just shaking his head and I'm thinking, "That's Eric Cantona, and he obviously thinks the goal was pretty good."

The manager turned round to me and said, "Lucky that went in."

'Cause I think I would have been pulled off.

Even if he hadn't scored this goal, it was good idea.

That was when I really all went like that and the publicity went like that.

It must have been zoomed all around the world, that goal.

The last person to do it would have been Pele, I think.

And even he didn't score it.

And do you know something, he wanted to be a star.

He wanted to have leather in his car when we had cloth.

He wanted to have the best speakers in his boot for the best music.

He wanted to propel himself beyond football.

Fashion was important to him. Music was important to him.

Doing things more than just becoming a football player were important to him.

I mean, Becks was obviously a huge star and just got bigger and bigger and bigger.

But in regards to, in the dressing room, not a lot changed. Becks was Becks.

He had a lot going on. You know, a lot of attention.

He'd scored the goal against Wimbledon, he was now going out with Victoria.

They were a massive story, so everything that they did, there was pressure on him.

You know, what he's achieved is incredible in terms of his global appeal.

I mean, it's phenomenal.

To think that that's a football player, who can kick a football well.

So I went to visit this obscure little Japanese school in the middle of nowhere, and I went in and was introduced to the school assembly.

And I could see they hadn't the faintest idea, frankly, who I was, I'm not really sure they could have pointed to where Britain was on the map.

And so finally, in desperation, I uttered the words "David Beckham", and then there was immediate ripple of recognition, and then you were away.

A point of connection was established.

Becks had always been comfortable with that.

Right from the start really, where I wasn't as comfortable with it.

And I felt that it was affecting my football.

Becks did it in a way that it didn't affect his football.

And luckily for me, sort of they left me alone, and then Becks sort of took it on to the next level.

I thought, "How could he cope with this?"

And he always did. He always did.

And you were always worried as a friend, that... when would this have an impact?

We played really well. We were playing great.

And then I remember being absolutely hit from behind.

I over-reacted, just kind of swung my leg up in a stupid way.

As soon as I'd done that, I knew that I was off.

I knew that I'd made a huge mistake.

Oh, it's red!

Oh, no!

At the time I didn't realise what would come after that.

I never thought that I would have to go through what I went through.

I remember being sat in the changing room, no one was obviously in there.

All the players came in and I realised that we were knocked out.

None of the players said a word to me.

The only people that spoke to me was Gary, Scholesy, you know, the United players.

And then Tony Adams came up to me and put his arm round me.

He said, "Do you know what, son? Everyone makes mistakes. Forget it."

I remember walking out and seeing my mum and dad stood there.

And I was 21, I think, at the time, 21, 22.

And I remember literally falling into my dad's arms, just... And I...

I haven't sobbed like that for years.

But I don't know, my emotions just got the best of me.

The boss called me and he said, "Don't worry, son, "it's over, you'll come back, you're a Manchester United player, "we'll look after you, everyone's supporting you, "don't even worry about anything.

"Go away, have a few weeks holiday, get some rest, "but when you come back to Manchester United, "you know you've got the support of everyone."

David was the first England player to receive that level of abuse for a mistake that someone had made on a football field.

It was sickening, it was vile, it was bordering on criminal, some of the things that he had to put up with.

I had quite a few death threats.

I had bullets through the post...

Delivered, no address on them, just hand-delivered through my letterbox.

It happened to my brother in 2000, two years later.

My brother gives away the penalty against Romania...

I got absolutely abused.

Abused publicly, abused in the media.

And I found it really difficult.

My wife came home from work one day, the gates were on fire with an England flag on the gates.

You take your wife out for a romantic meal, and you go to the toilet before the meal, and you get threatened to have your lights punched out, and then you go out and you have to take your wife home.

I had journalists turning round to my granddad, turning round and saying, "Do you realise what your grandson has done?"

You know, for me to have heard that, that made me feel worse than anything else.

To be honest with you, what I suffered was 10% of what he went through.

It affected me so much, it knocked my confidence, I needed to get some kind of happiness for football back in my life.

So I started to pray before matches.

I prayed that I'd make my wife, my children, my mum and my dad, my sister, my brother proud of what they were seeing from me out on the pitch, and that's all I did.

I said the same prayer every week for the rest of my career.

And he had the same attitude with Beckham, when he was sent off with England, with me when I was... sent off in Crystal Palace, and the club had the same attitude.

I played for France this time.

Manchester United asked me to sign a contract.

And I was banned for nine months.

In France, completely opposite attitude.

When things happen outside the club, it's like everything just closes.

You know, nothing gets in, nothing gets out.

The manager protects you.

When will you allow Mr Beckham to talk about the incident during the World Cup?

Well, he doesn't need to talk about anything. He's a Manchester United player.

He can talk about Manchester United.

In French we say "merveilleux malheur".

Sometimes it happens, something bad to you, but you use it.

And the way you will take, it will be even better than the way you will have taken if it didn't happen.

Oh, the new kit's out.

Sad day.

Not a sad day.

Is that the new kit? Oh, Scholesy.

First time you've not been in here for how long?

20 years.

Giggs is still there, though.

Ashley Young's.

Should I sit where I used to sit?

Are you sat in your seats?

Yeah. Sat in my seat, yeah.

They're sat in their seats, they've done me over.

You're sat next to the keeper, aren't you, Gaz?


What's going to happen over the next two weeks, if we're successful, could be the most momentous 10 days, you know, in the club's history.

Maybe in any English team's history as well, you know, because the Champions League, the FA Cup, the Championship.

It's there for us.

Yeah, with the Tottenham game it was the first game of three cup finals, that's how we...

It's 10 days, three games. You win them, history. It's...

You know, sounds simple, but that's what it was really.

The fact that we had to beat Tottenham kind of meant more to me than probably most of the other lads.

The league title, their starter for three, is within reach.

Manchester United have put themselves within touching distance, can Tottenham Hotspur, of all people, open the door for Arsenal?

Up to half time I could have scored three, four, five goals, I had that many chances and, you know, blew it.

Of course, United being United, you have to do it the hard way.

Go 1-nil down.

You know, that's not in the script, you know, what's going on?

I had a great chance with my head and skied it.

And all of a sudden you kind of think, "it's not going to be our day, "we're going to blow it on the last game of the season."

And then you just look for heroes.

Tottenham seemed to bring out the best in Becks.

He used to always score great goals.

Whatever stadium you are in the world, when the ball comes to him, you know because he's practised so hard throughout his career, he's going to produce that same technique, same quality.

Giggs to Scholes.

Scholes to Beckham.

It's in! It's 1-1!

It's David Beckham!

It was a great goal, great technique, everything what David was about, really.

Becks doesn't get the credit for some of the goals he scored.

He got robbed in the FA Cup semi-final, because I scored the goal, everyone forgets about his goal, his 25-yard bending it past David Seaman.

The Tottenham goal was just...

Only Becks can score it.

It's like a whip-ping, it's just a ridiculous goal.

Then you scored. Yeah.

Just before half time. And then it just sort of lifted everything.

I missed a load of chances as well. We had so many chances, didn't we?

I had about four or five chances. Did you?

Great chances, yeah.

I got a bit of a roasting at half time, I remember, for that game.

"How many chances do you want to score here?"

Nothing was going right for us.

Scholesy obviously had a few chances.

It'd never happened before, that we'd actually won it here, at Old Trafford.

Did you set the goal up, Gaz?

Yeah. A left-foot hoik. It was a wonderful hoik.

It was a cultured pass into his path, I thought.

My left-foot hoik down the channel to Coley, that he scored from.

Yeah, it was a big long ball, wasn't it?

A fluke.

If Scholes or Beckham had done that pass, honestly, it would have been talked about forever more.

You leave a big divot, though.

A big nine-iron.

And the fact I hadn't looked before I played it.

It was a wonderful pass. it was Platini.

It was just a hoof down the channel, and Coley just dinked it over.

And then it's 2-1, and you're thinking, "Right, we're at it."

But then we were hanging on towards the end because we just...

We still needed to win.

And I remember being in the centre circle when the whistle went, I fell to my knees and kind of held my hands in the air, and I turned around and Butty, literally, comes along, lifts...

Grabs me by the shirt, lifts me up, and we celebrate.

Those are the special moments that I know my granddad would have been kind of swearing at me, but then also kind of really happy at the fact that I was going to win a league.

And I think he'd have been even more happier, just because it'd have either meant us winning the league or Arsenal winning the league.

And as a Tottenham fan, he was happy that Man United was winning the league.

I mean, with Becks scoring that goal, it was the full turn-around really from the start of the season, all the World Cup carry-on, the backlash from that, to having a brilliant season and finishing it with such an important goal in the league decider.

And, you know, one ticked off the list, two to go.

I grew up on a place called Langley in Middleton, it's just a council estate really, a rough area.

I didn't think it was a rough area.

People from outside probably do, but it wasn't the nicest of places, I don't suppose, but it's where I grew up and I...

I enjoyed it.

We had like a square at the end of our street, and a big fence, I would just boot a ball against that all day and...

Then the neighbours tried to ban me. Tried to stop me playing and...

I think there was always arguments with my dad and the next-door neighbour about stopping me from playing.

Then you get the "No ball games" sign, don%you?

You're not allowed to play any more, you have to go off, try and play football wherever you can.

He's hard to explain, Scholesy, because there's probably three or four different sides to him.

As a character he was always quiet, but, you know, with this dry sense of humour, and one-liners.

Finished training, straight off home.

You know, we would joke, "Where's Scholesy gone?"

Didn't even see him leave.

Goes back in his Bat Cave, in his room, his packet of Wine Gums, his Minstrels, his M&Ms, whatever he has, watches his telly.

And the next time you'd see him is if you go round to his room, and you'd go in his room, and it was funny because whatever time of day you'd go into Paul Scholes' room, it'd be pitch black. The curtains would be closed.

He'd be in bed, with his shorts on, pitch black with the telly on.

But I suppose for me, Scholesy, I love that. It's just very romantic, that idea of a guy who doesn't really care about all this, not so much.

Not really bothered about all that, really.

Just wants to play the game, get on with it and live a normal life.

I think a lot of us relate to that, you know.

People ask me to do interviews and I don't have to do them, to me it's just not necessary.

All I wanted to do was play football and I never realised that all that side came with it, really.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing him arrive in that hole, everybody is faffing about in the penalty area, there's a big hole outside the penalty area, outside the penalty box, and there he is arriving.

Back for Scholes. Oh!

That's one of the kind of great moments in life, I think, seeing Paul Scholes arise for a screamer.

The best way that I found it was to try and keep things as simple as... as they possibly could be.

I think the minute you start trying to do things you can't... you're not good at, like, say if I went started trying dribbling, trying to beat people, it'd be a waste of time.

I mean, if you know Scholesy, you just don't turn your back on him.

You know, you go out and train, we'd be on a field and if you needed a piss or something, you'd go over in the bushes.

But you'd never turn your back.

I mean, you learnt that as a young player, you never turn your back, so you'd be...

You know, you'd be...

I always try and hit someone on the back of the head.

Not intentionally...

Well, a little bit intentionally, just aim for them if they weren't quite watching.

You'd go over and Scholesy would just be peppering balls at them.

And now and again he'd obviously hit you. More often than not, actually.

So, if you were new, or if you were a foreign player, and you didn't know Scholesy, you soon got to know, if you're going to have a piss, then don't turn your back.

One day I did catch Phil Neville with a beauty, actually.

It was about 60 yards away, right on the other side of the pitch, and I think he was doing a bit of extra running after training.

A few of the lads were sat down.

I've smacked a ball and it's just hit him full on the head and he's gone down eating grass and everything.

We're just on the floor pissing ourselves, and he didn't have a clue which one of us it was.

It was one of them perfect moments.

But like I say, I just saw that as a bit of passing practice, really.

The FA Cup final to me, and probably to you lot as well, growing up as a kid it's...

It's something you look forward to. The twin towers at Wembley, the...

Just the full day, I think, getting up from 9:00 in the morning, whoever is playing in it, it was just the biggest day of the football year for me.

It was the biggest thing in my eyes as a kid, was the FA Cup final, and trying to think about being able to be involved in one, or a couple of them, was just something you'd laugh about as a kid.

If you told your teacher you were going to do that, he'd probably piss himself laughing at you.

The FA Cup final is the time-honoured finale to the domestic season.

But if Manchester United can complete the English double here today, a European treble, a unique treble, falls within their compass...

So the FA Cup final comes on the Saturday, and we just want peace.

We were playing against Newcastle, and you just want a comfortable game.

You never get that in an FA Cup final, it's always nervy, it's always tense.

But we got a comfortable game.

We played really well in the first half.

We lost Keaney after about 20 minutes, which was a blow.

Then Teddy came on.

Even in adversity, things that went wrong for us ended up being a positive, because the lad that came on scored.

Scholes... That's perfect for Sheringham!

The substitute scores instantly!

And Paul Scholes, who won't have any part to play in Barcelona sadly, played a big part in that goal!

And Scholesy manages to do what he normally does, scores big goals on big occasions.

Not just to play in one, but to score in an FA Cup final was...

To me, it's the best thing I've done.

Sheringham... Scholes! It's two.

I think, again, like Scholesy, it sort of goes under the radar, that goal.

Pan' of me thinks that he was happy that it was sandwiched in between two of the biggest games. He scored the winning goal.

Normally, if you score the winning goal in the cup final, your face is on the front page of the newspapers and you're shown all summer.

And it just got lost in the euphoria of the previous seven days and the next three days.

And it sums up Scholesy's character in a way, because he wasn't bothered, and this was a lad that just scored the winning goal, FA Cup final. Go home.

Play with his kids. Have a beer. End of story.

One thing that the times did represent, and in a way those individuals represented, was an understanding that although we lived in more individualistic times, yet there was still a unique capacity to be greater together than you were alone.

I think in our eyes we were just playing a game of football with our mates.

I know it sounds a bit...

Sounds a bit stupid when you think, "God, you're playing for Man United," but we were lucky enough to play well together, and at the same time are playing for the biggest club in the world.

We bounced off each other.

We were all pals, we all went out, socialised together.

We'd even go out with our girlfriends in groups.

We was just six young lads who were enjoying life like you couldn't believe, really.

It was just one of them... It was like a dream.

No matter where we were from, no matter how we were brought up, no matter what we'd been through, through our B-Team, A-Team, reserve-team years, we all had each other's back.

When you talk about brothers, me and my brother, it wasn't just that, everyone was like a brother.

You know, whether you'd grown up through the ranks, or it was a team-mate that had been bought in, you really looked after one.

If someone got hurt, we always tried to make sure we got the person back, and it was usually Nicky that did.

Yeah, growing up in Gorton was just a joy, really.

I was always with all my mates, it was a real working-class place.

You know, everyone looked after each other.

No matter where you went, the doors were always open.

Butty's from Gorton, and I think it's where they filmed Shameless, so it gives you a bit of an idea of the area.

But obviously Butty is proud of where he comes from.

I think one of his first cars was an Orion.

I remember getting in it once, and I looked down, and there's a chain about that thick.

"Butty, what is that?"

He went, "No, no, where I live, you've got to have one of these."

And he used to wrap it round the gearstick, wrap it round the steering wheel, and it was the thickest chain... I'm surprised that the car could even move.

It was like an anchor, and it was just purely for security.

He was a tough lad, he was streetwise.

If there was ever any trouble, then you knew you could just look to your right or left and Nicky would be there to sort it out.

I think he looked after Gary a few times as well, actually.

Down tunnels, it's always nice to have a couple of lads alongside you, isn't it?

He wasn't the biggest, Butty.

But he had good technique of how to get into people, you know what I mean?

You know, people know how to hit people.

Nicky, at youth level, was the best player in the team.

He had an unbelievable temperament, he could play on any stage, at any level, and not be phased.

We started thinking this is going to be magical, probably after the FA Cup, 'cause all the hype was about the treble, but we never really mentioned it.

Everyone must have thought about it deep down, but it never got... it never come out vocally.

We had a big problem, because Keane and Scholes were banned for the final of the European Cup.

Scholes tackle.

Well, he won the ball.

But the ref... Oh, it's a yellow card! And he'll miss the final if United get there.

I knew from that point I wasn't going to be available for the Champions League final, and that was that.

Nothing I could do about it.

Do you know what I mean? Obviously you're disappointed at the time, a little bit disappointed in the dressing room, but the most important thing was that we'd got there.

I think the biggest disappointment was Roy missing it, 'cause he had been so good in that semi-final that it was going to be major problem for us really, not having Roy.

We needed someone...

We needed someone that was willing to take the fight to Bayern Munich, and in Nicky Butt we had the perfect person. He's fearless.

You know, you go to war, you take Nicky Butt with you.

You know, the manager told him, "Forget the FA Cup final. Forget it.

"You're playing in the Champions League final. You know, I can't risk it."

I was distraught, I was thinking... I was devastated.

I was thinking, I was just saying to the manager, "Well, it's the FA Cup."

But I knew, ultimately, the end, the reward at the end was massive for myself. And the club.

He's the, you know, the only real proper centre midfielder in the team.

So there was a big of pressure on him as well, and it was against a very good team.

They're showing their character now.

The team spirit has been fantastic since beating Liverpool in the cup tie.

Sort of a focus on the essential of never giving in, and team spirit, and determination.

I was completely on my arse, and I had to sell my Lambretta.

My most prized possession is my Lambretta scooter, and I sold it on the Monday, the game was on the Wednesday.

And then booked us on a week's holiday to Salou, and then get 400 quid each for a ticket. I was like, the crowd we were in...

It was any means necessary, you know.

The Nou Camp is one of the iconic venues.

It wasn't plush, it was pretty old, really.

You go down the tunnel, it was bare concrete walls.

On the right-hand side there's a little room, it's like a little chapel where you go in and pray.

Before you're going out to get killed, you've got to go in and say a prayer first type thing, and then you come to the bottom of the tunnel, and at the Nou Camp the steps go up.

And as you're coming up the steps, all you can see is the stadium above you.

Manchester United were the first English club to lift the European Cup, but no Manchester United team, no English team, has ever won this treble.

History beckons tonight.

The amount of Man United fans that were there was phenomenal compared to Munich. We took up three-quarters of the ground.

You knew you were in a massive game then, and then you just look for your family, give them a little wave and then it's just game on then.

This is it for us.

This is the moment where we either become Manchester United legends, or we just win the league and the FA Cup.

The game didn't go great, obviously, with the start.

And they were such a powerful team, such an experienced team, that you thought, back of your mind, "Is it one too many to come back in this game?

"We'd done it so much, have we run out of luck?

"Have we run out of something, "um, at the crucial point?"

And Manchester United, as they've done time and time again on this European run, have made it hard for themselves.

At half-time, I remember the manager sitting down with us, and I could tell, you know, there was a few nerves throughout the team and players.

He told us, "Just think how you would feel

"if you had to walk past that Champions League trophy

"and you couldn't touch it, you couldn't pick it up.

"You know, you hadn't won it.

"So, if you're feeling tired, or if you feel like you can't run any more, "just think Of that."

"Just think of having to walk past it and you can't pick it up, "you can't touch it, you can't kiss it."

The only doubts that I ever had were probably in the last half an hour of the Champions League final.

Because Bayern Munich were still getting chances.

They were hitting the bar, they were hitting the post.

And we weren't playing well. Things weren't happening for us.

We weren't getting our crosses in. I wasn't overlapping.

Giggsy wasn't getting his dribbles in.

We didn't have the combinations between Yorke and Cole.

Things that we'd done all year... The moment...

There was no momentum in the game.

And all of a sudden, with about 15 minutes to go, Becks came out to the right-hand side.

We made a couple of changes.

Teddy came on. Ole came on.

And all of a sudden I thought, "Here we go."

It was disaster for the club, Roy Keane missing it.

Disaster for Roy Keane.

But maybe that was God's way of saying this is Nicky Butt's moment.

If people ever sort of doubted, how good a player Butty was, then that shows everything about the player, because he was just a rock that night.

He was immense. I was there.

What a guy.

Gorton, there you go.

He's from Manchester. He knows what it meant.

You know what I mean?

But if it goes back to fundamentally what it was about, it was about us keeping driving forward, keep attacking.

We got corner after corner after corner and...

And with people like Becks on the pitch to put balls in like that, and the attacking power we had, and the aerial power we had, you know, it should only be a matter of time.

Manchester United teams under Sir Alex Ferguson always went to the end.

Always. Because we always felt, "Get one goal, we'll always get another.

"We'll always get a chance."

Three minutes to go, "Don't panic, we always get a chance."

Three added minutes. David Beckham.

Now Gary Neville.

Cross deflected. Effenberg. Out for a corner.

Can Manchester United score?

They always score.

And I remember sprinting over to the corner, and I had a good feeling because I knew that I'd been kind of playing pretty well in the game.

And I remember putting the ball down, and it's really tight in the corners.

I could hear the United fans.

But I was just concentrating more on watching Peter Schmeichel run up from his goal, and knowing that, as a kid, if I put a bad cross in while we're warming the goalkeepers up, Pete would absolutely kill us.

I think those moments, when I was a youth-team player, prepared me for moments like this.

Schmeichel is forward. Can he score another in Europe?

He's got one in Europe already. Beckham.

In towards Schmeichel. It's come for Dwight Yorke.

Cleared. Giggs with a shot!


So then we were back in the game. Everyone was celebrating.

Everyone was like, you know, we've got it to extra time.

I looked at the players that I'd grown up with on the pitch at that time, and I knew that they knew that it wasn't over.

I'm thinking, shit, we've got extra time now, I better get my legs going again.

So I've sprinted right back, for, like, about 50 yards, trying to get some blood going through my legs.

As soon as we equalised, my mindset just switched.

"Get this to extra time, we're going to beat them."

That was my mindset straight away.

"We're going to beat them in extra time."

And the next minute and a half, I couldn't even tell you what happened.

That's an out-of-body experience, that.

We won the ball back again. We broke forward.

We got another corner.

I'm getting goosebumps just... I can feel it.

I remember the feeling of getting that ball in the corner, knowing that I'm going to put a good corner in again.

And then everything just literally erupted.

In to Sheringham... And Solskjaer has got it!

This was what was meant to happen.

There's no greater feeling than scoring in the last minute to win a game.

You know, I've had kids.

I've had kids and I've got married, but it's the greatest feeling in the whole wide world.

I don't remember the final whistle, to be honest with you.

It was like the game was over then.

History is made.

As soon as the final whistle went, it was relief, it was excitement, it was joy, it was everything.

And I just went to my knees and just started sobbing.

I just remember lying on the floor, looking up, thinking, almost nearly crying on the pitch, thinking, "Oh, my God.

"What has just happened here?"

I went up to Gary, the lights were on, nobody was in.

His eyes were glazed. His eyeballs were rolling.

I looked up and the first person coming towards me was the gaffer.

And just got up and just hugged him.

But that night you felt you were hugging and you just never wanted to let go.

The best feeling I've ever had on a football pitch. The best...

Best I've ever felt.

It's the greatest day of my life, and it's hard for me to comprehend it.

Gary Neville, 24. Phil Neville, 22.

David Beckham, 24. Nicky Butt, 24. Giggs, 25.

Whatever they achieve in their futures, I doubt that they will ever, ever cap this.

Manchester United are Champions of Europe again.

I remember feeling Scholesy should have been out there with us.

The image that I like most is when we all make a tunnel for Scholesy and Keaney and they come through and carry the European Cup, because they were absolutely critical to everything that we achieved that season.

I'd rather have just gone in the dressing room and waited for everyone, really, and congratulated people that way, but, you know, I suppose the players made a big deal out of it, and me and Roy embarrassingly were on the pitch.

I'll never ever forget that.

After all them years of waiting and then to see it, your team win the Champions League in your lifetime, in such amazing fashion.

In fact, I missed the winning goal, I was crying like a baby.

Once that first goal went in.

I missed the winning goal. I was just slumped on my seat.

I was just out of it emotionally, gone, you know?

I've always been...

Never got carried away, never ever got carried away.

I nearly got carried away that night, you know, but...

So excited, but it made me immensely proud.

The romance of the last-minute never-say-die moment, of them winning I suppose was very special.

That continuity between the Busby Babes being lost as a team, you know, that potential, that wonder, that was so tragically interrupted, and then being renewed by that manager again, ten years later to win the European Cup, and then 30 years later, to have to wait 30 years just to see them do it again, was...

Yeah, it was very, very special, I think, really.

You were massively aware that night of what you were representing in the history of the club, because that's where the club, and all its tradition, all its history that it's got, comes back and just comes all into one moment.

And that night seemed to be just one of those moments.

I think winning the European Cup is massive for anybody, but when you've won it with lads that you've grew up with all your life, and we've got good pictures now of the six of us with the European Cup, and it's, like, some of us knew each other from 12.

I never look back. I don't like to look back, I always like to look forward.

But if you said to me, "Could you live 10 days again?", it would be those 10 days.

It's unbelievable.

It's perfect script.


It's romantic.

Only sports can give you this kind of emotion.

But the one thing, when you look back, in 100 years, the treble of '99 will be...

That will never be forgotten, that.

I think there are special moments in time when a whole series of things come together, when you had those young people from, you know, very ordinary backgrounds, who suddenly symbolised, represented something new and had that extraordinary ability to achieve.

And to achieve in a way that people hadn't done before.

You always hope and think that things will happen again.

But will there ever be a time where six lads who grew up from the age of 12, 13, come through and win a treble, having supported the club? I'm not sure.

I'm not sure it can happen again.

I'm not sure football, the way in which it's going to go, I'm not sure football, in the way, in the immediacy of life now, where everything's got to be instant, I don't think you'll ever see six, seven players coming through in British football again.

Well, you probably dream about playing for Man United, don't you, but...

The reality for most people, it's not going to happen.

And we were just the lucky ones that it did happen to.

We managed to all play with each other right through the youth team, straight through to the first team. It doesn't really happen at that many places, and will anything like that happen again? I'm not too sure.

Until recently, where I sat back and looked at old videos, looked at old pictures, and really kind of thought about what it was like with these players that I'd grown up with, to win what we'd won, to turn round and see, you know, Gary behind me...

We'd grown up in those positions.

You know, to look to the side and see Scholesy and Butty and Giggsy.

You know, to look back to see Phil. You know, this was...

This was more special than anything I've been involved in