The Welsh Wizard Turns 600




Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs

“Ryan makes you believe there is a football God.” – Ron Atkinson

With Ryan “Joseph” Giggs set to make his 600th league appearance for Manchester United on Sunday against Spurs, a feat that will be hard to achieve in the future considering all the frequent big money transfers, let’s take a look at the inspirational player’s life as a player and as a gentleman.

“Giggs is quite unlike any perception one has of the modern footballer – he doesn’t ask for payment for this interview, he turns up when he says he will and is unerringly polite.” – dailymail.co.uk

Giggs had a troubled childhood, with his parents splitting up while he was very young. Giggsy, as he is lovingly called by the fans, found his solace in playing football. He could go on playing tirelessly for hours. After playing for a local team, Deans F.C., United’s bitter rival, Manchester City signed him up for their youth academy. Harold Wood, a steward at Old Trafford watched him play for quite some time before finally persuading Sir Alex to watch him play. Such was him impact that Sir Alex personally visited his place to convince him to join United. He was signed for a record non-professional transfer fee of £350,000 and in the 1990-91 season, went on to make his first start for United.

Since then, the legendary midfielder has won everything a player could dream of. A look at his trophy cabinet that adorns 11 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 4 Football League Cups, 8 FA Community Shield, 2 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup, along with many personal trophies, and you will know why is he considered by far the most influential person in the United camp. He recently admitted that now even Sir Alex consults him about a player’s performance and other important decisions. Such has been his nature that even though he is 37 and one of the oldest member of the team, you could still find him sharing a laugh with the youngest talents in the United camp. Discipline and Respect are the values on which stands his unbelievable career as a top class player. As a youth player, he spent some time cleaning the player’s changing room and pumping the ball for the senior players. Giggs admitted that players now a day don’t do such stuff and miss out on the important lessons of playing. He cherishes the days when the Boss would yell at him for not performing well, only to be followed by a friendly chat with the likes of United seniors Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce who would talk him out of misery and bring him back to normal.

“United are a family club. When I was young, Bruce and Robson used to cheer me up while I sulked in the backseat of the bus. I am more than happy to play their part now and motivate the young players in the team now.”

Being the only player to have scored in every season of the league, many would agree with him when he says that the FA Cup 1999 goal against Arsenal is his favorite. The 109th minute goal that saw United into the finals and eventually lifts the trophy was a blend of all his attributes. Having caught the ball on the half line from a careless pass by Vieria, Giggs tore apart the Arsenal defense and with a breath taking speed combined with some magical dribbling skills he scored the winning goal with a perfect top corner finish for United.

At 37, he has already started considering life beyond playing. His national team is eager to appoint him as the manager but Sir Alex wants him to play for another year and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Boss is looking forward to persuade the winger to sign a new deal. Money has never been a problem for Giggs and the contract negotiations are expected to go on smoothly.

“We already earn more than enough money from football and sponsors, so who needs to go out of the way to ask for more. My expenditures include just my house bills, holidays and school fee.”

A father of two, Giggs married his long term partner, Stacey Cooke in the September of 2007. The couple is amongst the most respected and humble people in the football world and have been active with UNICEF and other charities. He launched a campaign in 2007 to prevent landmines from killing children.

“As a footballer I can’t imagine life without the use of one of my legs. Sadly this is exactly what happens to thousands of children every year when they accidentally step on a landmine.”

A “footballer with values” is rare in the modern “Chelsea method” of football. Whether he decides to stay for another season or hang up his boots at the end of current season, one thing is for sure; United will NEVER get a more dedicated and loyal player than Ryan Giggs.

A few quotes on the LEGEND:

“Eric Cantona is a great player, but he’s not as good as Ryan Giggs” – Johann Cruyff

“A young Giggsy was like a ballet dancer. He should have been on Dancing on Ice. I had never seen a young player like that and I had seen the Busby Babes. He took my breath away.” – Eric Harrison (United youth coach)

“It was great for the senior pros to have Giggsy around, though. When he came out after training all the girls would mob him and Lee Sharpe, and we could nip out the back door without anyone bothering us.” – Bryan Robson

“When he’s at the top of his game, there’s not a team in the world that can handle Giggs’ speed and penetration” – Sir Alex Ferguson

“Giggs is truly world class” – Zinedine Zidane

“Beckham and Scholes have shown their talents as goalscorers for England, but Giggs is the best. He was brilliant against us and he will be even better next year” – Alessandro Del Piero

PS: Sir, you have been an inspiration to many people, footballers and non-footballers, all over the world. You have given us reasons to smile and celebrate on an off day. I wish you luck for all your future endeavors.

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Ambuj Gupta

Author:

An engineering student, with little interest in Engineering! Football is what I love watching, Tennis is what I love playing. Have stayed up till 4 am to watch the Spain-Netherlands match even though had a semester exam at 9 am. I love the Brazilian style of play, but I support Netherlands. A Manchester United fan, I am interested in not just the present, but also the past and the future of the club. Try to read and watch as much content about United as I can to make up for the glorious years I missed about the club.

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