It was trenchant Scottish football analyst Alan Hansen who famously said "You'll never win anything with kids" after Manchester United heavily lost their first Premier League game of the 1999 season, when manager Alex Ferguson replaced almost half his team with young players in their early 20's who'd come through the clubs own youth academy seven years before (apart from Gary Neville, who was actually Class of '93). However with Ferguson's tough-love style of management and chaperoned by United greats like Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel, talented youngsters like David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs all came of age as the side famously picked itself up and completed a celebrated treble of the championship, FA Cup and in particular the European Champions League, the last after a gap in the club's history of 31 years, when they scored twice in the last five minutes to steal victory from the jaws of defeat against a superior Bayern Munich team on the night.
This documentary offers individual profiles of the players, mostly, as you'd expect, involving lots of mutual admiration, with reminiscences of their early days at the club and focusing in particular on the matches that proved crucial at the season's climax as they chased their three trophies.
The three other players of the six featured, the defensive Neville brothers and midfielder Nicky Butt, for me weren't anywhere near the same class as the other three, but to be fair they all became international players too and certainly fitted well into the club set-up. They all, too, seem like decent blokes, genuinely friendly amongst each other, even latter-day multi-media superstar Beckham and there are some fascinating clips of them all getting their start in the youth team. Nice too, to see the youth team coach getting his due here.
The story of the team's fantastic season and the part this group of young talent played in it is pretty well-known and apart from one or two shaggy-dog stories about initiation ceremonies and avoiding strict boss Ferguson's attempts at imposing a curfew, little new was revealed of what went on behind the scenes, I felt. What happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room I guess. I'm not sure either the attempts to align the club's rise in fortunes with the emergence of "Madchester" music of the time with Oasis, Stone Roses and even the Blair government of the day were convincingly made, leading to some odd interviews with the Roses bassist Mani and ex-P.M. Blair himself, "getting down with the yoof" as they say. The Gallagher brothers were mad Man City fans anyway.
I actually felt there was a better story in the background, if they'd made a film about the boys from 1992 who didn't make it, here regathered with the super six for a just-for-the-cameras reunion kick-about. The absence of key figures as interviewees of the likes of Ferguson and Keane was noticeable plus I've no idea what Zinedine Zidane was doing in the mix either.
Nevertheless I enjoyed this red-tinged wallow in nostalgia as it was unquestionably a great team and I got to see again some great football moments like Beckham's famous half-way line goal against Wimbledon or even more so, Giggs' amazing solo effort against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final. I might have preferred a little more of that over some of the mutual backslapping waffle which over-proliferated things elsewhere, but this was almost as entertaining a ninety minutes as the team itself used to serve up back in the day.