This article is not about the number of games he played, or the goals he scored or any other statistic. You can find them very easily on Google. But that will not be able to describe in fullness, everything that he has done and been for this club in Manchester. I can’t promise my article will do it either. But out of respect, here is an attempt.
Somewhere in the early 2000s, Ten Sports broadcasted a few hours of MUFCTV daily. As a new fan of the game, I watched with great curiosity how these teams that were not national teams were playing at such a stage. The entire concept of club football was fascinating. And the way they portrayed United was fantastic. That was the time when a certain Ryan Giggs caught my eye. I didn’t know much about football then and I believe I still don’t know enough, but you know genius when you see it.
Ryan Giggs was sheer class. Still is. Any football fan worth his salt would agree to that. YouTube compilations of his trickery and magic with the ball are aplenty. That said, he was much much more than can be captured in a video or a movie. Still is. Damn, I don’t know what tense to write in. His retirement has marked the end of an era and has heralded a new one, but the man himself is too big to fit into any one. I believe he still has a big role to play at United and he will.
Giggs was never the glamourous types. Simple fellow. Furrowed brow – as though he was carrying the burden of the entire team on his shoulders. Mind you there have been times, when he has done that. Just ask the average United fan, and he’ll go on ranting about all those times. That is why, it was so heartening to see the man as Manager at Old Trafford, even if on an interim basis. It was a pleasure even for a rival fan. At the risk of sounding cheaply clichéd, it was as though life had come a full circle.
Everyone has been sharing the ‘Tearing You Apart’ images. And he has been doing that to defences religiously for quite some time now. But I’d like to tell them, that while he has torn others to shreds, he’s also been holding you together. How often has it been in recent years, when United have been delicately poised on a home draw or are 1-0 down away to a mid-table team who seem to not let go and on comes Giggs? Rejuvenates the team. Lifts the midfield to a whole new level. Chances are created. Converted. And United seal it. As a Liverpool fan, it was quite frustrating to be honest. To see this old man, come on to the field and invigourate that team playing so poorly. A complete legend, him.
A large chunk of my close friends are United supporters and I can’t stand them most of the times. Not even when they’re drunk. Especially when they’re drunk. But despite that, it is Giggs that makes you respect even the opposition. Can’t say the same about Keane, Cantona, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rooney, Evra, Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Valencia, Bebe OR ANY OTHER United player. That is another reason apart from his beautiful skill, for which I will sorely miss Ryan Giggs.
A few weeks ago, a friend and I were playing cards. (Yeah, right.) And we were really engrossed. (You get it?) And he being a United fan, he played The Class of ‘92. It showed how they won the treble when I was an infant. And it reminded me of how Giggs has won 34 trophies. THIRTY EFFING FOUR. Now that’s insane. Again it’s not just about that statistic. It’s about a man so successful, and yet so simple. He manifests, for you, what down to earth means.
A few weeks ago, whiskey nose said, “I think that he [Giggs] is the one man they should go to really. He’s got 20-odd years of experience at Manchester United. I signed him as a kid at 13 years of age. He’s gone through the gamut of emotions at the club – he’s experienced all the highs and lows. He knows exactly what’s needed to be a Manchester United player.”
And how true that is! There will not be another Ryan Giggs. It was a pleasure. Truly.
Farewell, Mr. Manchester United.