Giggs – Tearing You Apart Since 1991
In the Stretford End at Old Trafford, there hangs a banner which states: “Giggs – Tearing You Apart Since 1991.” That year, Ryan Giggs made his debut for Manchester United against Everton at Old Trafford as a 35th minute substitute for Dennis Irwin. I wasn’t even born.
Fast forward 21 years to 2012, and I am now a final year University student. Ryan Giggs is still playing first-team football and later this week will make his 900thappearance for Manchester United against Ajax in the Europa League, a tournament that he has never won. Perhaps this was all part of some Ferguson/Giggs master plan to win every trophy before they retire?
He has amassed a staggering amount of personal accolades and medals over the 21 years spent under the tutelage of Sir Alex, and is that rare player who has stayed exclusively with one club his whole life. Giggs has collected 33 club winner’s medals, including 12 Premier League medals, and has broken numerous records across the Premier League, Champions League and at Manchester United. In an interesting anecdote, Giggs has played more Premier League matches (589) than Manchester City have (568).
Giggs is currently sitting comfortably with 969 career appearances (including international caps) and looks set to pass the 1,000 mark sometime next season, especially now that he has recently signed a new contract extension to keep him at Old Trafford past his 39th birthday. This does beg the question; will he sign another extension to keep him there beyond the Big 4-0? His game against Liverpool on Saturday was his 23rdof the season, showing that he is still an important cog in the United team as they push for their 20thleague title alongside noisy neighbours City.
With all the trophies and personal awards that have gone Giggs’ way, you would think that he would be happy with the way his career has gone. Although there is one regret that he has always spoken about and that is the fact he has never had the chance to play at a major international tournament for Wales, similar to that of another Manchester United legend George Best. However, he has the potential to represent Great Britain this summer at the Olympic Games in London. Although it will not be for Wales individually, he will finally have the chance to play in an international tournament should things go to plan.
In recent years, Giggs’ personal life has come under rigorous scrutiny with revelations destroying his family and tarnishing his previously respected reputation. These obviously have changed people’s ideas of the man, but looking at it from a purely footballing viewpoint, has there been a player to rival Giggs’ influence upon the Premier League?
No one knows exactly how long this man can carry on for at the top flight, but whatever he decides to do, he will still remain a key component of Manchester United’s title race this season and will be actively involved in next season’s campaign whatever that may hold for United…
Giggs will carry on tearing teams apart. Again.