Player Profile: Ryan Giggs

This is a picture of the sister our Publisher. Nadine was lucky enough to visit United’s old The Cliff training ground to watch training in the early 90’s.

Ryan Giggs is the most decorated footballer in UK history. Giggs was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1973. His father was a professional rugby player and the family moved to Manchester when Giggs was aged 6. Whilst playing for local club Deans Youth, Giggs attracted the attention of the scouts at Manchester City.

A period at the Manchester City School Of Excellence followed but a knock on the door by Sir Alex Ferguson saw him being snared Manchester United.

(Above-Giggs representing Salford and England School boys)

Quote Sir Alex Ferguson.

“I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the groundlike a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.” (The Guardian)

Giggs went on to make his debut for the first team at 17 towards the end of the 90/91 season. He made an immediate impact and his direct , attacking, lightning quick wing play was every full backs worst nightmare.

Giggs was also quick in the mind, and played many a clever pass to set up a goal.

His precocious talent was often only seen in fits and starts and his speed often resulted him being struck down by a series of muscle injuries. His agile and determined displays earned him an armour of followers including Manchester United greats Best and Charlton.

Best was quoted as saying;

“Maybe one day people will say I was another Ryan Giggs.”

There is no greater praise than that. Giggs won his first league title in 92/93, Utd’s first in the top division in 26 years.

Success and Trophies

Further success followed the next season with a league and cup double.

A unique second double was to follow in 1996 with United beating Newcastle to the league and defeating local rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup Final.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – (Photo by David Cannon/Allsport UK/Getty Images)

The league was won again in 1997 however in 1998 they came across an Arsenal team full of power, pace and skill.

United could not defend their title and Arsenal managed their own double that season.

Treble Winning Season

United came back strong the next season and won a remarkable Treble – another domestic double and winning the European cup also.

The next four seasons saw Giggs put his past injury layoffs behind him helped by a combination of yoga and Pilates playing almost every game and this period brought him a further three titles.

The 2000s

The 02-03 season was a difficult one however with a lack of form making life difficult when he should have been at his footballing peak. The fans began to give him a hard time. However class is permanent and he bounced back the next season winning his fourth FA Cup.

As Giggs moved into his thirties, his game maintained at a high level. Remarkably he won his first PFA Player of the Year at the age of 35 in 2009. A feat surely never to be repeated again.

Giggs was not finished and managed over 20 league appearances in each of the following 4 seasons as he approached 40 years of age. Unheard of in the high paced modern English game.

Giggs clocked up his 1000th competitive appearance for United in March 2013 and at the end of the 13/14 season Sir Alex Ferguson surprisingly announced that he was to retire.

Coaching and Management

In 2013 Giggs was appointed new coach under the new manager David Moyes but when Moyes was sacked he took over on an interim basis.

A month later, Giggs wrote an emotional letter to the fans confirming that he had retired as a player.

(Above – Van Gaal replaced Moyes and Giggs again took on the assistant role)

Van Gaal was to leave the club after the FA Cup final win of 2016 and United were to snub Giggs.

The clubs greatest servant was allowed to leave the club that summer and was now out of the game.

TV Pundit

 

Not out of work completely Ryan took on media work.

 

Eventually in January 2018 successfully becoming the manager of the Welsh national team.

 

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/may/08/sir-alex-ferguson-best-quotes.