It’s been a tale of mixed fortunes for the Class of ’92 since the last subtext. Although Trafford Council has now given them the go-ahead for UA92, the plans for the main student accommodation have been knocked back and another site within the Stretford regeneration zone will have to be developed. Still, as a huge part of the cost of the whole gig will be borne by Trafford council-tax payers, the boys can hardly complain. However, things have not been going so well for Gary Neville’s other big project in Manchester, the Jackson’s Row development. Having been forced to withdraw his original scheme because of fierce local and national opposition, Gary recently submitted a revised scheme which involved building one 39-storey skyscraper instead of the two smaller ones in the original plan. Sadly, this has not found favour with Historic England, whose opposition to Gary’s first proposal had done so much to scupper it. They have written to Manchester City Council to say that they cannot support the new plan because of its visual impact on existing heritage buildings. So, is it back to the drawing board, or will Gary’s legendary charm persuade the Council to ignore Historic England’s advice?
But the news hasn’t all been about Gary. As well as Ryan Giggs’ elevation to manage Wales’ national football team, there has also been the appointment of Phil Neville as manager of the England women’s team. There was some surprise at this as Phil (a) has no experience of managing a team, apart from one game with Salford City FC, (b) has no experience of women’s football in any capacity, and (c) was appointed without having to go through the tedious business of actually applying for the job. That’s what being in the Class of ’92 can do for you. As is now the norm when anyone is appointed to a public position, there was an immediate trawl of his social media history, and some (allegedly) sexist tweets were duly revealed before he could delete them. Embarrassment all round. Phil embarked on PR blitz to try to repair the damage, which included a press conference where he denied that he was sexist (but rather spoiled the effect by stating that he ‘was the best man for the job’). Strangely, he neglected to mention the Class of 92’s support for the Lingerie Football League, surely something that would have been a suitable riposte to those who criticised his lack of experience of the women’s game.
Finally, the proliferating activities of the Class of ’92 has come to the attention of Guardian’s excellent strip cartoonist, David Squires. Readers unfamiliar with his work should think of him as a sort of sports-related Steve Bell. We at subtext particularly like his Orwellian take on UA92. This offering did not appear in the Graun’s print edition so for readers who don’t access the web version, the link is here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2018/jan/23/david-squires-on-ryan-giggs-phil-neville-and-the-class-of-92s-expanding-empire