A Perfect Script? Manchester United’s Class of ’92

Jon Dart, Philip McDonald

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    Abstract

    The Class of ‘92 is a documentary film which features six Manchester United F.C. players who recount their time during a pivotal period for the club, English football and English society. The documentary claims to offer a commentary of Britain in the 1990s, but appears, without acknowledging the fact, to be a promotional vehicle to establish the six men as a brand labelled the Class of ’92. Creating this brand necessarily involved presenting a selective account of their time and place with the film being little more than an advertisement, masquerading as an observational documentary. The film draws freely upon the symbolic capital held by the club and the city of Manchester and uses the Busby Babes/Munich chapter and the more recent ‘Madchester scene’ to forge a Class of ’92 brand by editing out those elements that did not accord with this project. The paper argues that a more complete representation of ‘90s Britain, whilst disrupting the intended narrative, would acknowledge the significant structural and commercial changes experienced by the club, the sport and the city in the last decade of the twentieth century. We suggest that the Class of ’92 invites the viewer to consider how the documentary film genre can contribute to brand development and promotion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-132
    JournalJournal of Sport and Social Issues
    Volume41
    Issue number2
    Early online date23 Dec 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

    Keywords

    • Sports documentary
    • Manchester United F.C.
    • popular culture
    • soccer
    • English Premier League

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