The players in the Class of 92 have had a dream career. They came up through the ranks at the club they supported, the biggest in England, and were trusted by the greatest manager there ever was, Sir Alex Ferguson, from a very young age. They proved the doubters wrong, winning title after title, trophy after trophy, before the climax of it all, when they won the unprecedented Treble.
Nicky Butt, our midfielder from Gorton, played in the European Cup final in 1999 after the suspensions of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, putting in a fantastic display.
After that game, the players went back to the Grand Salon of the Hotel Arts in Barcelona for a party. Foo Foo Lamarr, a cabaret act from Manchester (also known as Frank), got on stage at around 6am, when all the party goers were a little worse for wear. With encouragement from the crowd, he did a bit of stand up, before a bloke at the back started shouting out and taking the mick. The mums of both Giggs and Butt weren’t having any of it, and told the bloke to shut up, but he continued. Giggs went after him, swung for him and missed, then started wrestling with him on the floor, before Butt joined in too. The fight was broken up and Darren Ferguson threw the gobby bloke out. It was only the following day that Giggs and Butt found out that the man they had been fighting with was James Edwards, the chairman’s son!
As well as the Champions League, Butt won a further six league titles and three FA Cups. He left United for Newcastle in 2004, but when he retired from playing in 2011, he returned to United as a youth coach.
When David Moyes was sacked towards the end of the 2013-14 season, and Ryan Giggs was appointed interim manager, Butt was made one of the first team coaches. Ahead of their first game, against Norwich City, Butt spoke about the occasion.
“It will be massive for us, a proud moment for us all,” he said. “To be there together is a bit of a surreal thing. We walked in here together when we were 12 and to be here now, to be there together, is a very proud moment.”
When I decided to bring out a 2015-16 preview to raise money for Trafford Macmillan, I reached out to Nicky to ask him whether he would be interested in being interviewed to help us raise as much money as possible. He didn’t hesitate to get involved. We had a chat about several things, such as the season just gone, his thoughts on Louis van Gaal, his thoughts on our new signings, what he hoped for the season ahead, amongst other things. He repeatedly referred to himself as a fan of the club and talked with real passion and clarity about United.
Below are his answers to questions about Ryan Giggs but if you would like to read his full interview, buy the RoM 2015-16 preview, where all profit goes to charity.
Has it been strange for you seeing Giggsy as our assistant manager?
I think Ryan was always destined to become a manager. He had that intense part about him that was always deep-thinking, so it’s not really a surprise to see him as the assistant manager. He’s football mad and he’s very dedicated.
What do you think he can bring to our coaching set up?
He knows what United is all about. Lots of players have come to United over the years, with a lot of talent, but United is a special club and it’s difficult to play there, week in week out, under the scrutiny that they have. So Ryan should be able to help players with that, as he’s been there and done it. He’s very calm when he speaks with the players and they all look up to him, which is very important. They all listen to him and respect him massively. He can help the other staff there understand what United is all about too. Van Gaal knows a lot more about United now than when he first walked through the door, because Ryan gets pulled aside. He also can link up well with the academy side too.