Where are they now? Man Utd’s FA Youth Cup-winning ‘Class of 92’ side

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Manchester United players celebrate with the FA Youth Cup trophy at Old Trafford. May 1992.

Manchester United have some great youth teams over the years – but few are more iconic than the side that won the 1991-92 FA Youth Cup.

After winning 3-1 in the first leg of the final against Crystal Palace, the Red Devils wrapped things up with a 3-2 win at Old Trafford.

We’ve taken a look at the United Xl from that second leg to see how they’ve all fared over the last 30 years.

GK: Kevin Pilkington

Pilkington, who is no relation to the comedian, saw his path into the United first team blocked by a Peter Schmeichel-shaped obstacle and made just eight appearances for the club. 

After leaving Old Trafford in 1997, he spent most of his career in the English lower leagues but also made one appearance for Welsh side Aberystwyth Town.

The 48-year-old become a goalkeeper coach after retiring in 2019 and is currently working for former club Luton Town. 

RB: John O’Kane

Despite reportedly being rated ahead of Gary Neville by Sir Alex Ferguson, O’Kane only made a handful of appearances for United’s first team.

“I was deemed as having the better technique over Gary,” he told the Manchester Evening News in 2019. “I’m not being big-headed but I was a better player than him at the time. But he just had a different make-up to me.

“He lived, breathed football and I didn’t. That was the difference. I relied on my skill to get me where I had to be but to stay at the top you do need the 100 per cent dedication.

“I turned it on when I wanted but didn’t have that attitude.”

After spells with Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool, O’Kane ended up at non-league outfit Hyde United before retiring in 2006.

Since hanging up his boots, he’s worked in the building trade and as a teaching mentor to vulnerable children in the care sector.

CB: Gary Neville

After being deemed not tall enough to be an effective centre-back at the highest level, Neville moved to right-back and the rest is history.

The defender retired in 2011 and began working for Sky Sports, where he has since become one of the country’s favourite pundits.

He had a brief spell as Valencia manager in 2015-16 but was in charge for just 28 games, which included a 7-0 drubbing by Barcelona, and swiftly returned to the comfort of the TV studio.

Manchester United's Gary Neville scores his side's second goal during during the Barclaycard Premiership match at Old Trafford, Manchester. 20 April 2004

READ: The week Gary Neville became Man Utd’s deadliest goalscorer

CB: Chris Casper

Once considered to be the cream of the 1991-92 crop by United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, Casper made just seven appearances for the first team and joined Reading on a permanent deal in 1998.

But he was forced to retire from football at the age of 26 after suffering a double leg fracture in 1999 and failing to recover sufficiently from the injury.

“As much as I tried to come back, it just wasn’t happening, no matter how much I tried,” he told the Manchester Evening News in 2022.

“Two years later, I was in need of another shin operation, which would have kept me out for almost another season. I was out of contract. My daughter had just been born, and it wasn’t something I could face anymore.”

He then coached Team Bath, managed Bury and also coached at Bradford City and Grimsby Town before working with the Premier League as a club support manager.

The 46-year-old is now the Director of Football at League Two side Salford City, who are co-owned by Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.

LB: George Switzer

While most of his team-mates received multi-year deals after the Youth Cup success, Switzer only got a one-year contract at United and was released at the end of the 1992-93 season.

After a brief stint at Darlington, he dropped down to non-league and played for Hyde United, Salford City, Irlan and AFC Monton before retiring in 2013.

Outside of football, the 48-year-old has worked as an optical technician and as a parcel courier.

RM: David Beckham

It’s fair to say that Beckham has done alright for himself over the last 30 years.

The midfielder developed into one of the best players in the world during his time at United and also became a global superstar.

Since retiring in 2013, he has become co-owner of League Two side Salford City and co-owner of MLS side Inter Miami FC. We wonder if he spends more time at the Peninsula Stadium or Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium…

David Beckham for Manchester United, Coventry, Highfield Road, 25 August 1999.

READ: David Beckham was Man Utd’s hero in ’99: he deserved the Ballon d’Or

CM: Nicky Butt

Butt went on to make over 350 appearances for United’s first team, winning six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League.

He decided to move to Newcastle United in 2004 and later saw out his playing career with a bizarre spell at South China in the Hong Kong first division.

Following his retirement, the former England international spent nine years at United in various coaching roles before leaving the club again in March 2021.

“I went to head of first-team development,” he told The Atheltic. “From there, I couldn’t see where my next step was.

“When I get frustrated in a role or a job, as I did, I’m a different kind of person. I become irritable, not happy. I blame everybody else. The same thing happened to me as a player. When I start getting that feeling, I need to get out.

“As a player, I saw people I thought I was better than — in fact, I knew was better than — playing rather than me and that made me miserable.

“I was getting irritated about some of the stuff going on at the club. I felt irritable within myself. I needed to change. Most people don’t leave Man United unless they have something lined up. I had nothing lined up.”

David Beckham and Nicky Butt on the Old Trafford bench. April 2003.

READ: The last goodbye: When Nicky Butt tried turning into David Beckham

CM: Simon Davies (Robbie Savage)

Davies scored in the Youth Cup final and also managed one goal for the first team, netting the opening goal in a Champions League win against Galatasaray.

But that was one of just 16 appearances for the first team, and he left United in 1997. The midfielder spent time at Luton, Macclesfield and Rochdale before finishing his playing career in Wales.

He had eight months in charge of Chester City and later joined Manchester City as part of their youth coaching programme. The 48-year-old then followed Vincent Kompany to Anderlecht in 2019 and currently works as their assistant manager.

Savage never played for United but still made over 300 Premier League appearances in his career. He now works as a pundit and was in the BT Sport commentary box when his son made his United debut.

LW: Ryan Giggs

One of just four players to feature for United’s first team before playing in a Youth Cup final, Giggs captained the side in the second leg and was tipped for a bright future.

The former Wales international certainly lived up to the hype, winning 34 trophies and becoming United’s record appearance-maker.

He retired in 2014 and joined the coaching staff at United under Louis Van Gaal. The 48-year-old then began his own managerial career with the Welsh national team in 2018 but stepped down from the role in 2020 after allegations of assault and coercive and controlling behaviour were made against him by his then-girlfriend and one other person. He denies the allegations but was charged and awaits trial.

ST: Ben Thornley (Keith Gillespie)

Despite playing alongside the likes of Beckham and Scholes, Thornley was widely regarded as the most talented member of United’s famed Class of 92.

But he never realised his potential after suffering a horrendous knee injury during a reserve-team game against Blackburn Rovers in 1994.

The winger left United for Huddersfield Town in 1998 and went on to play for Aberdeen and Blackpool before dropping down into non-league. He currently works as a commentator and analyst on United’s in-house TV channel MUTV. 

Gillespie made just 12 appearances for United and joined Newcastle in January 1995 in a deal that saw Andy Cole move in the opposite direction.

He became a football agent in 2017 after launching the OneTwo agency and briefly came out of retirement in 2020 to play for FC Mindwell, a team set up to raise awareness of mental health issues. 

ST: Colin McKee

Despite scoring in the Youth Cup final and winning the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year award in 1992-93, McKee only managed one first-team appearance for United and returned to his native Scotland with Kilmarnock in 1994.

The striker played for a further seven clubs north of the border and had a loan spell in Iceland with Vikingur before retiring at the age of 27 in 2001.

He reportedly works as a maintenance man for a building company and also coaches part-time in Kilmarnock’s academy. 


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