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Forever Young – 1993

1993. The year the youngest of United’s squad breathed their first. Paul Pogba, Sam Johnstone and Ravel Morrison are all younger than Dumb and Dumber (the film, not the Arsenal centre-half pairing). If that doesn’t make you feel old, stop reading this and go tidy your room – I’m not telling you again.

I myself am not long out of my twenties (well, not that long) and it certainly makes me feel old. In 1993 I was a teenage lad scribbling furiously in my bedroom (steady…), learning dead languages in deader settings, and selling my dinner tickets so I could afford 90 Minutes magazine. The only sky sport I knew of was the javelin, and the internet was kept by Walter Zenga.

It may seem like a long time ago, but it certainly not long enough for a baby to be born, bred and brought on during a midweek Carling Cup tie. I’m old enough to father some of these lads – admittedly the kind of manboy dad who’d appear on Jeremy Kyle – but still…

Such is the relatively year-round presence of football in our lives that each season seems to bleed into the next. We somehow manage to endure the tedium between enthralling transfer windows by watching some games, but in the grander scheme of things it really is amazing how quickly the months, seasons and years pass.

Most of today’s youth won’t recall the Ryan Giggs of yore, making fools of fullbacks twice his age. To them he’s the salt ‘n’ pepper saucy pepperer, fooling around with girls half his years. The Welsh Hugh Hefner, pursuing huge-chested heffers with stories to sell.

But that’s cool. Or safe. Or whatever. Because that’s part of the reason why football is so bloody good. It’s kinda brilliant that you can rub shoulders twice weekly with young ‘uns and old boys you’ve absolutely nothing in common with other than the game you watch and the colours you wear.

Where else would Harry Redknapp, a twitchy old man who curb-crawls the streets of Chigwell in search of football reporters, be allowed to groom athletic young men without it raising some very serious questions? Look at him – one can only assume poisonous halitosis seeps from his crumply old face and thumps you in the nose with every utterance. But you can bet that the Spurs stars of tomorrow hang on his every stale breath.
The grand old Knight of Govan himself has repeatedly stated his greatest satisfaction in the game comes from working with youngsters and watching them develop into men. One could argue that the likes of the Da Silvas, Smalling, Hernandez and Welbeck have as much to do with Fergie resisting retirement than his undying thirst for trophies. Such are the exciting prospects and talent of these young boys, he’d be loathed to allow his successor to preside over their fruition and bloom.
Why resign yourself to a life of SAGA cruises and golfing with granddads, when you can bound into work wearing a Welsh beanie and ridiculously age-inappropriate Nike garb, surrounded by the enthusiasm and competitive zest of ambitious young footballers?

In a way, it’s the same for us mere turnstile turners. As sad as it is to see friendly old faces slowly exit left from our stands and pubs with time, it’s exhilarating to see youngsters and new faces join the fray and chorus. Football supporters by their nature don’t want to grow up. Anyone who devotes the vast majority of their spare time to a sport is a bit of big child. That innate immaturity seeks out youth and it feeds off it.

It doesn’t work in other realms. An old fella going to see The Like looks like a perv. A forty year old wearing skater gear looks like a tit. A forty year old football fan sporting a polyester replica however…also looks a tit – but that’s not the point. The point is football, like Teddy swinging a toe at a stray ball, makes for a great equaliser.

A Spike Island alum can argue the toss with a fresh faced student from Jakarta re Nani on the left, and you’re equals. A cast of thousands can sing in unison regardless of age or follicle fullness and it’s a beautiful thing. It may all sound extremely trite and Nu Football. But it’s true, and it was ever thus.

Football is the one thread of our youth it’s socially acceptable to hold on to, and sharing it with young folk keeps it fresh and relevant. Without them it would be like going to see Status Quo every week for the rest of your life. All strained denim and nose hair. With them, football culture is a living, vibrant, visceral joy.

‘Twas desperately sad to witness the likes of Edwin, Neville and Scholesy wave goodbye last season, but they are now part of our glorious past. The regeneration is already underway. We’ve got the likes of Pogba and Morrison to look forward to – and the kids are alright.

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41 Comments

  1. ammo says:

    Good article…again

  2. Red1990 says:

    The kids are alright indeed, spot on, give them time And they Will deliver.

  3. hurr says:

    loved the dig at Gooner’s CB…

  4. exiledred says:

    Top top article Scott. Unfortunately, this has now got me thinking to the days when I wore a scarf on each wrist, one round my neck, trousers with 5-button waistbands plus pockets down the side that were next to useless. Walking up the Warwick Road thinking I was ‘ard in me Doc Martens (with yellow laces of course), needing to get my spec in the Stretford End by 1pm before it got packed and they locked the gates. Remembering the din as messrs Hill, Coppell, Pearson, Buchan (the original Mr Cool) and co walked onto the pitch with us all wondering whether we’d win 4-2 or lose 2-4. Magic days but were they really 35 years ago?!?! Scott – you’re right. The months, seasons, years just fly by. That’s why every Utd fan needs to love every second of this journey as it goes oh so quickly…. Roll on August :-)

  5. Gorse Hill Red says:

    Very optimistic about this new crop, something I have not felt since the early 90s (I did question Fergie selling Hughes, Kanchelskis and Ince at the time!). Hoping Cleverly can play with Sneijder and Pogba and Morrison have some run outs in the first team.

    One thing for sure the league cup should be interesting this season.

  6. kanchelskis says:

    I think Scott needs to fins a clearer way of denoting guest authors. He keeps getting cred for stuff he ain’t done!

  7. Red Devil says:

    Scott…..back to his reflective best

    You are at your best when writing these kind of thought-provoking, insightful articles.

    Oh wait…its not written by Scott…

    Congratulations to Bearded Genius for a very well written article…

    But still Scott too does these pieces amazingly well, he just hasn’t been doing it lately,…hope to read more of your stuff mate…you’re doing great work. Keep it up!

  8. Jeet says:

    Christ, can’t you tell by the style? It can’t be Scott :lol:
    Agree with the sentiments – I’m only 32, but I keep getting nostalgic about the time when I was eighteen & without a care in the world. That’s one of the reasons I was so desparate to get fit and play football again – it’s the closest I can come to reliving the rush of those days!

  9. TheLeftBank says:

    Great article!

    Your trip down memory lane certainly triggered my own of remembering the days of pain of being a united fan during the drought years before the Knight of Govan came riding in (yes, kids there was a time when all we ever won was the FA Cup….back in the days when Wembley actually meant something) ushered in an era that perhaps many take for granted today.

    What stops me being nostalgic is how much excitement there is in the future. If the prevailing theory is that all great teams go in cycles then Sir Alex has defied that at every turn thus far.

    This club honours its past but never lives in it. It always marches forward. It’s about grooming the flower of youth to fulfill their potential. It’s about boys becoming men. As fans we grow up with them whether we are 8 or 80.

    In this I think the story of United is more than just a football club it’s about life too.

    The Left Bank

  10. CedarsDevil says:

    kanchelskis & Red Devil

    LOL fellas!

    Nice read by the way….. I am always in favor on players coming through the ranks

  11. Giles Oakley says:

    Lovely article O bearded one, even to me for whom 1963 is more the year…I too get such a buzz at the thought of the young ‘uns coming through, it’s always been what makes United special. On looking a bit pervy at ‘age innappropriate’ gigs (not Giggs) , I do remember with pleasure seeing three generations all together at a Chuck Berry concert in the 80s. Felt pretty natural, but then at that time we knew less about Chuck’s disturbing Martin Edwards-esque toilet activities. I suppose mention of his Ding-a-Ling might have been a clue.

  12. King Eric says:

    Great article the genius. Really excited about the youth lads. Top goal by Morrison the other night.

  13. James_WrittenOffside says:

    Great debut post Bearders!

    Love the Harry Redknapp description.

    Will look forward to the next article

  14. King Eric says:

    The Left Bank – Great post mate. Fergie defies logic. Looking at him in America he looks younger than ever.

  15. chaosred says:

    Scott didnt write this article

  16. Manchuchu says:

    I for one do not lament the hairy brain reveals from the short shorts of football days gone past.

  17. aliasrns5 says:

    souleymane effin’ coulibaly….

  18. bigphil2003 says:

    It’s always guaranteed that someone will say “Good article Scott” within a few comments of one of these going up. Great article that said a lot without really saying much. I enjoyed it anyway…partly because I’m starting to feel old myself. Knowing that by my next birthday I’ll have entered the realm of “players that Fergie *won’t* spend big money on unless your name is Dimitar (or Wesley)”.

  19. @fwayz says:

    great article, well done mate,

  20. jayrannasaurus says:

    “The point is football, like Teddy swinging a toe at a stray ball, makes for a great equaliser.”

    Well good article, Scott.

  21. mikekelly12 says:

    Nice article Bearded Genius…. particularly liked the “the internet was kept by Walter Zenga” line, very funny.

  22. It's in my blood says:

    Ah….memories!
    Nostalgia is not what it used to be….

  23. T4M says:

    Great stuff

  24. roadkill4u says:

    A walk down memory lane for those of us who still have ours. LOL

    Keeping the squad fresh has always been a staple at United. Keeps the hunger going for the new ones and keeps the “older” ones on their toes as they wonder if this new person is the one who will stake the claim for their spot in the XI.

    On another note, went to the training session last night at Foxboro, MA. Was in the front row behind the keepers. Anders looked top notch and will be one to fight for that #1 spot for sure. Wellbeck looked full of energy as did Diouf. Not sure how they will figure in to the squad on a regular basis but they certainly look the part after being away for the year. I was cracking up at the end of the session as the twins were walking off to do a private session for the cameras. Could not tell them apart for the life of me. Got ‘em coming down the left, got ‘em coming down the right. Cannot wait for the match tonight and then in a few weeks when the Community Shield kicks off.

  25. jakeyboi says:

    i agree with mikekelly12 that inter /zenga line is genius hahaha

  26. willierednut says:

    Bigphil03 & It’s in my blood

    Good to hear from lads again. Good article Bearded Genius.

    George Best was a bearded genius also.

  27. denton davey says:

    Gorse Hill Red @ 10:28: “Hoping Cleverly can play with Sneijder”

    IF Wesley Sneijder is signed then YoungTom is not going to get much playing time.

  28. bayobuya says:

    I seem to be unable to post on previous threads have I been censured? Scott I promise I will stop swearing!

  29. KingOfStretfordEnd says:

    NIce article. Can’t wait for our first pre-season game!

  30. CedarsDevil says:

    Homer to Moe ‘I challenge you to a duel’

    Moe ‘Did your what now?’

    Homer smiles

  31. Dr. Mico says:

    Laughed my ass off from start to finish. Top article. Keep it up Bearded Genius.

  32. magicinthe6 says:

    great article, tops

  33. billabongbob says:

    exilered… my sentiments exactly. many a game I would go to travelling up from Sussex on the 6.10am train to Euston for the 8.15 to manchester Picadilly to get to Old Trafford early enough to get into the Stretford End. My dress sense was just as bad with a jean jacket covered in badges both sewn and tin! In the side vents and across the back tarten with scraves on my wrist, hanging out of a belt loop and round my kneck. Those were the days but seem so far away that I find it hard to believe that I was actually part of it…….

  34. Kings says:

    CedarsDevil – Hello my friend. Nothing like a bit of glove slap. What’s your take on the Sneijder rumours?

  35. smartalex says:

    CedarsDevil? Please ask Nurse Meg to get ready for safari. Ask her to dress as a lion-tamer.
    Thanks buddy!

  36. willierednut says:

    WRDTV tried to contact CedarsDevil this afternoon, he was unavailable for interview. Rumors Cedars, had booked a Wesley Sneijder tattoo in his local tattoo parlour, proved unfounded.

  37. ididnotzeeit says:

    Brilliant Read, well done Bearded Genious!

  38. scan74 says:

    The wheel keeps turning

    be great 2 see the next batch of lads break on through

    just thinking back to 93 and finally landing the league 26 years without a title!!!

    seems fucking unbelieavable given what has come since

    one of my stick out memories is pally bagging the free kick against blackburn

    great times

  39. 20legend says:

    So bittersweet, the passing of time. It’s great to see young lads coming through into the team. But every passing season just brings Fergie one season closer to retirement, which is going to be just so painful to accept. The Govan Knight has been the manager for longer than I’ve been a red and the day when he finally moves out of the dugout is likely to get me blubbering like a girl. United without Fergie just feels wrong.

  40. Knobby6Styling says:

    “The Welsh Hugh Hefner, pursuing huge-chested heffers with stories to sell”
    brilliant….LOL

  41. Offside says:

    8)

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