When Manchester United lost to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995/96 season, Alan Hansen made his infamous prediction that "you'll never win anything with kids". Nine months later a side containing David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville were crowned Premier League champions.
On Sunday, meanwhile, the average age of the United team that started the 2-1 win over West Brom was one year younger than the team that contained the Fergie Fledglings. Comparisons were inevitable.
Fears over the inexperience of Ferguson's side are not without merit given that young goalkeeper David De Gea committed a second error in two games to attract the unforgiving glare of the national media.
Entrusting the No.1 shirt to De Gea and replacing the ultra-reliable Edwin van der Sar with a 20-year-old from Spain was always going to prove an almighty gamble by Sir Alex Ferguson. Goalkeepers rarely reach maturity at such a young age and the early signs for De Gea are that he still has plenty of developing to do.
Though undoubtedly a talented individual, he has made glaring mistakes in both of his games for United to date.
The name floating around the ether, begging for comparison is that of the unfortunate Massimo Taibi, but even the error-prone Italian was named man of the match in his first league game following a £4.5 million move from Venezia in 1999 - a 3-2 win over Liverpool.
De Gea's first gaffe came in the Community Shield when, as Ron Atkinson might have put it, he went to the deck in instalments and allowed a very saveable shot from Edin Dzeko to fly past him.
With a lack of prescience worthy of Hansen himself, Ferguson, when commenting on De Gea's mistake in the Community Shield, insisted in the build-up to Sunday's game against West Brom that "he was stepping forward as the shot was about to be hit and then he took a step back and got himself a bit unbalanced.
"It wasn't so much a goalkeeping mistake but more of a technical mistake in terms of his feet. But we didn't expect that and he won't be doing that again."
At The Hawthorns, De Gea's footwork was once again scrutinised as he took forever to get down to the ball and allowed a rather weak shot from West Brom's record signing Shane Long to slip under his arms. A Spanish expletive crossed De Gea's lips as he cursed his misfortune again.
Ferguson was nothing but supportive following the final whistle, even drawing parallels with Peter Schmeichel's start to life in English football.
"David should have done better," Ferguson said. "I think he's lost a bit of concentration there, but welcome to English football because he took a battering in the second half.
"He should have been protected more by the referee - he wasn't - and on this occasion he has to withstand it. It's a good experience for him.
"My recollection of goalkeepers coming from Europe is there's a learning process, it's a different game. Peter Schmeichel was the same when he came, in his first away game on a Wednesday night and they gave him a torrid time.
"But Peter came on to become the greatest goalkeeper of all time possibly. The boy is 20 years of age, you suspect a learning process to be in operation at the moment and he'll see it through."
It is an important point that Ferguson makes. It would be foolish in the extreme to write off De Gea as a long-term prospect, and the apparent delight that some have taken in his tricky start makes ED very uneasy. No doubt the Spaniard will prove to be a very worthy acquisition.
An appreciation of history, respect for Ferguson's record and a
recognition of the strength of the current United side means it would be silly to commit the same mistake as
Hansen did all those years ago.
ED isn't going to declare the young man a flop after just two matches, or say he lacks the calibre to play for United, but perhaps it is legitimate to question the risk attached to him in the short term.
Though admittedly he came under a barrage from a West Brom team clearly hoping to exploit his inexperience and fragility, De Gea also looked unconvincing in the air and it was interesting that a number of colleagues sought him out to offer him a few tips on punching the ball away, including those notorious masters of the aerial duel, Anderson and Fabio.
It is time, as Fergie said, to give De Gea "a pat on the head" and tell him everything is going to be okay, because United cannot afford a weak link in their defence at present.
Injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic on Sunday, which have ruled the vastly experienced pair out for six and two weeks respectively, have ensured United's backline will assume an even more youthful visage for their next Premier League encounter against Tottenham at the weekend.
What with Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley graduating to the starting line-up for United's victory on the opening day, it is clear that if United do hold onto their crown, they will have done so with a reliance if not on kids, then certainly a very youthful element. The average age of the XI at the final whistle against West Brom was only 23 after all.
De Gea is a leading member of this young vanguard of talent emerging at Old Trafford and in all likelihood will enjoy a productive campaign. But after a sticky start, United need their new keeper to stand tall. Oh, and throw himself to ground a bit quicker.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A point I want to make when you are playing difficult games like this one is the amount of pushing and grabbing in the box, because it's out of this world. We are okay to deal with Stoke's set plays and we were competent enough to avoid the dangers they cause. We know the amount of goals they score with these set plays. But I think there's a limit to the pushing and grabbing, it makes it impossible." - Welcome to the Premier League, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. The Portuguese dropped only six points last season when winning the league with Porto but let two evade his grasp on his first experience of the English top flight after a typically bruising trip to Stoke City.
FOREIGN VIEW: "This was a dynamic we used last year." - Assistant boss Aitor Karanka explains Jose Mourinho's decision not to appear for his post-match press conference for the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa. On Saturday, previewing the game, Mourinho said "no one will shut me up" as he faced the Spanish media for the first time since April when he withdrew from media commitments after UEFA punished him for a remarkable rant at Barcelona following a Champions League clash between the two great rivals. The Supercopa remains finely poised after a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu.
COMING UP: Paul Parker gives us his verdict on the opening weekend of the season and you can watch the goals and highlights from all the games in the Premier League. We will also be unveiling our Team of the Week at 13:00, while Pitchside Europe updates you on the goings on around the continent at 18:00.
At 20:00, Manchester City begin their title challenge with a home game against Swansea City and you can follow events from the Etihad Stadium with our dedicated live service.