Redknapp was left wondering what might have been for West Ham’s golden generation (Photo: Getty)

Harry Redknapp reckons he had a generation of young players at West Ham who were as good as the famous Class of ’92 and would have claimed Premier League titles if they had stayed together.

A former West Ham player himself, Redknapp managed the Hammers for more than 300 games between 1994 and 2001 but claimed no major silverware in that time, although he did help them qualify for the UEFA Cup.

He also blooded the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole in the professional game and reckons if they had stayed at Upton Park, the sky was the limit for that squad.

‘People always talk about Manchester United producing the Class of ’92 [David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs] but they weren’t any better than the six boys we produced at West Ham,’ Redknapp told The Athletic.

‘If you put those two groups of six against each other, there would be nothing in it. Ferdinand went on to win championships, Frank Lampard won everything, Cole won everything and Michael Carrick won everything. Then you have Glen Johnson who won Premier League titles and Jermain Defoe who had a terrific career.

‘If the kids had stayed at West Ham what a team that would’ve been.

‘That would’ve been six England internationals in one team. That was the difference.

‘Manchester United kept their youngsters and that’s what enabled them to become a great team.

Lampard was part of a talented group of young players at West Ham in the 1990s (Photo: Getty)

‘If I kept those six players together I’m certain I would’ve won the Premier League.’

Instead, the highlight of Redknapp’s reign was a fifth place finish in the Premier League in 1999, coupled with a run to the second round of the UEFA Cup.

West Ham’s golden generation ended up spread across the country: Ferdinand joined the Class of ’92 at Manchester United via Leeds, while Lampard, Cole and Johnson went to Chelsea and Carrick was signed by Tottenham.

The United youngsters, meanwhile, stayed at Old Trafford and went on to claim as many as eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.

But Cole remains proud of what they were able to achieve at West Ham under Redknapp before some of their best talents left.

Manchester United’s famous youngsters went on to dominate European football (Photo: Getty)

‘We were able to bring European football back to Upton Park,’ Cole said

‘It was a proud moment for the club because it had been a long time coming since West Ham won something. It was a great achievement and I loved playing at Upton Park.

‘The nights there were very special with the old-school stadium feel to it. You take it for granted at the time.

‘I will never forget the excitement from the supporters leading up to the games. Having all those big European names coming to Upton Park felt so important to the club. Hopefully, one day, West Ham will get back on top.’


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