Ryan Giggs’ Trophy Cabinet

Honours

Trophy

Club

Manchester United

Premier League (13): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13
FA Cup (4): 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
Football League Cup (4): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10
FA Community Shield (9): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013
UEFA Champions League (2): 1998–99, 2007–08
UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991
Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999
FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008

Individual

PFA Young Player of the Year (2): 1991–92, 1992–93
PFA Team of the Year (6): 1992–93, 1997–98, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2006–07, 2008–09
PFA Team of the Century (1): 1997–2007[93]
PFA Players’ Player of the Year (1): 2008–09
FWA Tribute Award: 2007
Bravo Award (1): 1993
BBC Sports Personality of the Year (1): 2009
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year (2): 1996, 2009
GQ Sportsman of the Year (1): 2010
Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year (1): 1997–98
Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year (2): 1990–91, 1991–92
Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2001–02): Overall Team of the Decade
Premier League 20 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2011–12): Most Player Appearances (596)
UEFA Champions League 10 Seasons Dream Team (1992 to 2002): 2002
Wales Player of the Year Award (2): 1996, 2006
Premier League Player of the Month (3): September 1993, August 2006, February 2007
Goal of the Season (1): 1998–99
English Football Hall of Fame Inductee: 2005
Golden Foot: 2011

Orders and special awards

OBE for services to football: 2007
Honorary Master of Arts degree from Salford University for contributions to football and charity work in developing countries: 2008
Freedom of the City of Salford: 7 January 2010. He is the 22nd person to receive the Freedom of the City of Salford.

Dice                                                                                                           The Gold Club

 

Iconic Premier League Moments

Roy Carrol Clanger

The Goal That Wasn’t (Manchester United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0, 4th January 2005)

Roy Carroll flaps Pedro Mendes’ speculative effort over the line in the closing stages of what had otherwise been a drab encounter between United and Spurs. Inexplicably the goal is not given despite everyone in the ground bar the linesman claiming to have seen the ball cross the line.

Carroll’s sheepish face should have told referee Mark Clattenburg all he needed to know. After plundering a clear goal back over his line the keeper casually glances in the assistant referee’s direction as bewildered as everyone else that he’d somehow gotten away with it. A comically inept explanation from linesman Rob Lewis  (‘there was nothing I could have done differently – apart from run faster than Linford Christie’) did nothing to sway angry fans. The campaign for goal line technology had begun…

What Happened Next…

  • Pedro Mendes would get his moment in the sun as he became Portsmouth’s chief talisman and purveyor of stonking goals in their legendary escape from relegation the following season.
  • Spurs would eventually stumble to a 3-2 win over United at Old Trafford seven years later. It was their first win there since 1989.
  • The Premier League responded by instantly implementing a goal-line technology system eight years later.
  • Roy Carroll was shepherded quietly out of the club via the back door. He recently reappeared  in Greece. His many years masquerading as a professional footballer should put him in good stead for a role as one of the T Birds.
  • The English press were left with no option but to crucify assistant referee Rob Lewis for his wrongdoing. ‘Seeing as the English game has never benefited from a dubious decision from a linesman before, it seemed the only fair course of action’ local newshound John Reporterson was quoted as saying whilst repeatedly stabbing Lewis in the side with a spear to make sure he was dead.

Dice

Has the world now forgiven Ryan Giggs?

In early 2011, Ryan Giggs was vilified in the British press for cheating on his wife with socialite Imogen Thomas and, it later emerged, his brother’s wife, Natasha Giggs. Most damning of all, at least in the tabloids’ mind, were the footballer’s increasingly desperate attempts to cover the affairs up through temporarily succesful super injunctions and a much-derided attempt to take legal action against Twitter after users of the network publicly exposed his misdeeds. Three years on, with the dust settled, The Diceman asks, has the world now forgiven Ryan Giggs?

Giggs Suit

The problem with paying such unadulterated professional tribute to Giggs (of which he is fully deserving) is that you risk ignoring the elephant in the room; namely his very public misdeeds of  few years ago. Using him as a stick by which to measure future Gold Club inductees becomes problematic if you then refuse to consider all important aspects and sides of the Welshman’s career. Make no mistake, this blog can be unashamedly subjective at times, but deliberately ignoring the player’s negatives would only serve to undermine his many positives.

First thing’s first;  whether or not it is morally right to judge a player by their personal life is irrelevant at this stage. The harsh truth is that once his affairs were exposed Giggs was instantly and unequivocally  judged and some of the luster and magic associated with the Welsh maestro inevitably faded as a result therefrom. Ironically, his greatest folly it seemed, was not the affairs themselves but his futile and ignominious efforts to cover them up. Giggs’ undoubtedly foolhardy attempt to silence Twitter saw the Streisand effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect) executed in full force as the net seized on an opportunity to bring this Premier League footballer (therefore by definition an overpaid prima donna) down a peg or two. 

This blog doesn’t want to focus too heavily upon the nature of the affairs themselves. That path is much traveled and this blogger’s personal opinion is that Giggs’ personal life should be completely independent of his professional. If he makes a mistake on the pitch he should rightly be criticised; he is a highly paid professional playing at the apex of the game and should be liable to this sort of criticism. The player’s personal life is another matter and while outspoken opinions or on-field acts should be subject to criticism as they have a public and professional impact, Giggs’ infidelity bares no relation to his Manchester United career. If anything it shows the separation of Giggs’ personal and professional life as the loyalty the winger has shown to United and his long-term manager Ferguson contrasts vividly with his off-field antics.

The argument many make in opposition to this is that Giggs is a role model and capable of influencing a swathe of the nation’s children. It is a fair enough point but not a position Giggs volunteered for, nor one always easy to fulfill; certainly not when you’ve been an ever-present in the public eye as long as he has. Certainly he made every effort to ‘protect’ the delicate sensibilities of the nation’s youth by blocking the public broadcast of his wrongdoings (although we’ll admit it was probably for less noble intent).

Perhaps because of the aura of invulnerability he exudes there was widespread disbelief when it became ever clearer that Giggs was the unidentified Premier League footballer hiding behind a super injunction (even Sir Alex was reputedly dumbstruck upon learning of Giggs’ actions), as if this proof of his fallibility suddenly cast into doubt everything you thought you knew about the winger. Yet Giggs’ true crime was to panic and desperately try to safeguard a reputation he should have realised was already damaged but no irreversibly so at this point. Whether his resulting desperate attempts to silence Twitter did lasting damage is another matter.

Giggs Censored

Considering his career has been cloaked in a milky twilight for the last ten years or so, it is prescient to ask how much this shaming episode will effect his longstanding reputation when he retires. Three years on, the affair has not been airbrushed out of history like the (unsubstantiated) allegations made against David Beckham (Rebecca Loos anyone?), nor has it clung to him like muck to a shoe as past episodes have with John Terry or Ashley Cole. No doubt some of the reasoning for this is Ferguson’s steely resolve to protect his head-boy as much as possible during the manager’s final two years at United. Part too, can be ascribed to Giggs being one of the Class of ’92; a generation retrospectively touched with a sentimental glow. Then there’s the picture always painted of Giggs as a footballer who is easy to like, one of the rare good guys of the game. A UNICEF ambassador with a long history of charity work. He’s cheeky whilst not overstepping his boundaries. He’s fiercely loyal to his club both on the pitch and in various capacities off it (commercially, coaching, inspiring youth teams). And yet the window into his personal life serves to undermine this portrayal. He is no longer squeaky clean.

Giggs UNICEF

Over the years, Giggs has shown that he is nothing if not adaptable. Season after season the Welshman has proven himself an expert in rebuilding and retooling his skillset to meet the occasion, assuring he is always an asset and never a passenger. The irony in his response to 2011’s allegations is rather than adapt he shirked responsibility, trying to hide behind a court order rather than confront the situation. This reaction meant the scandal occupied far more prominence in the public eye than it otherwise warranted and left a rather ugly online footprint. Search ‘Ryan Giggs’ into Google today and one of the first options it gives is ‘Brother’ (after the far more intriguing ‘restaurant’ and ‘yoga’. My next port of call is to further investigate these tangents). Arguably, if Giggs had rolled over and accepted his fate (however morally unjust the protrusion into his personal life may have felt) the story may not be so readily available today.

The scandal now hangs there inconspicuously, a footnote on an undoubtedly glorious career, a blemish at the periphery of his story. It’s not acknowledged or addressed, it’s not considered relevant to the bigger picture or integral to the central narrative, but it’s there. Time will tell whether the blemish is ever truly eradicated.

Dice                                                                                                           The Gold Club

Ryan Giggs’ Top Five Moments

Ranked Gold

How do you rank tangible moments of not just quality but game-changing quality? How can you measure the significance of one Giggs goal over another or assess the influence he exerted in one match compared to another? It’s an impossible task.

What we’ve endeavored to do instead is find the examples that best represent Giggs’ ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. These five moments, we believe, best summarize the immense influence the one-club man has had on Manchester United  and seek to function as the tip of the Giggs iceberg, offering a visual encapsulation of the wonders you’ll find if you dip beneath the surface. If nothing else the following clips offer another chance to bask in the magnificence of the Welsh maverick as he tears opposition defences apart.

5) Tottenham Hotspur 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 1, 19th September 1992

The Goal: Just witness how far away Giggs is from the ball when Austin miscontrols it; the mistake doesn’t deserve such brutal punishment. The winger capitalizes on the lapse in a nanosecond, retrieving the ball, bamboozling the covering Jason Cundy before striding past Walker and nonchalantly finishing from a difficult angle. All this at the tender age of 18. 

The Significance: The goal is generally credited with announcing a young Ryan Giggs to the world, earning him a reputation for meandering runs and blink-and-you’ll-miss-him pace in the process. This moment perhaps best typifies Giggs’ electric beginnings and the Class of ’92’s rampant domination of the early Premier League era. 

Giggs 3

4) Wigan Athletic 0-2 MANCHESTER UNITED, 11th May 2008

The Goal: Sixteen years later and now an United veteran, Giggs works some space in the Wigan penalty area and finishes with an understated coolness, clinching United’s 17th League title in fine fashion.

The Significance: If young Giggs was the lungs of his team, marauding past the opposition with frenetic stamina, then old Giggs was the heart of his, controlling the tempo, pumping passes and dictating space. The Welshman, now converted into a deep-lying playmaker role, enjoyed a much vaunted purple patch in his mid-thirties, producing career-best performances and shepherding Fergie’s next generation of superstars into title winners. This goal was a cherry-on-the-cake finish to a resurgent season in which United won their second of three consecutive League titles and Giggs reproved his relevance. 

Giggs 4

3) Juventus 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 3, 25th February 2003

The Goal: A divine mixture of elegance and industry as Giggs races through the Juve backline and threads the ball (with his right-foot no less) past a motionless Buffon. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it probably qualifies as the second best goal of the player’s career. 

The Significance: The goal may not have come at a particularly pivotal juncture in proceedings with United already 1-0 up and looking comfortable, but it came during a period of mixed form for the winger as for the first time there were rumblings of discontent emanating from the Old Trafford crowd. Giggs, it was suggested, was losing his touch; his head had been turned after a period of intense speculation linking him with Inter Milan and it was beginning to show on the pitch. The typical Giggsian response was to remind United’s fans just what he was capable of. There have been no inferences of disloyalty since.

Giggs 5

2) MANCHESTER UNITED 1 Juventus 1, 7th April 1999

Clip available here <http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xy9f95_1999-april-7-manchester-united-england-1-juventus-italy-1-champions-league_sport&start=117>

The Goal: Often overlooked but undoubtedly crucial, Giggs’ finish against Juventus is visually the least impressive impressive on the list although it still takes fine positional work and admirable composure for the midfielder to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.

The Significance: United’s Champions League campaign in their Treble-winning season is often reduced to three moments; the two snatch-and-grab goals in the Final and the epic comeback away at Juventus inspired by the heroics of Roy Keane. Rarely mentioned is the home leg in which the Italians held a damaging 1-0 lead for seventy-five minutes of the game until Giggs scrambled a last-minute equalizer.

So what you ask? It was in United’s nature to score last gasp goals and even had they lost, the 3-2 win in the return leg would have been enough to see them through. Except the only reason United scored a third was because Juventus were chasing the game. Giggs’ goal wasn’t just vital mathematically but in terms of squad morale it boosted the Devils, substantiating the belief that this was their year and reinvigorating them in preparation for the return leg and their cup match against Arsenal.

In moments such as this the United legend was written, not just domestically but all across Europe, and Giggs was so often the man with the pen. Ingrained in the brain are a litany of interchangeable images of Giggs forcing his team forward in the dying seconds, instigating one final surge down the left wing with a hidden reserve of energy and, inevitably, forcing a last gasp goal. Look no further than the final against Bayern for another example as Giggs lays the ball on a plate (albeit inadvertently) for Teddy Sheringham to greedily gobble up in the dying seconds. It’s a microcosm of the Ferguson ethos that Giggs has embodied for more than twenty years.

giggs 2

1) MANCHESTER UNITED 2 Arsenal 1, 14th April 1999

The Goal: ‘It’s a rather weary one from Vieira…Giggs…gets past Vieira..past Dixon who comes back it him…it’s a wonderful run from Giggs!…Sensational goal from Ryan Giggs…in the second period of extra time. He’s cut Arsenal to ribbons and the team with ten men go back in front 2-1!’

Martin Tyler’s commentary is etched into this blog’s collective memory. As is everything about that goal. Vieira’s directionless ball, that inexplicable torrent of pace, the debonair weaving that leads to Keown ending up on his backside, that rocket finish into the roof of the net and of course that iconic bare-chested celebration.

The Significance: In the distant future, on the day Ryan Giggs passes away, instead of an epitaph this clip will just be played continuously for weeks on end. The family of Patrick Vieira will complain but no one else will. It’s equisite, superlative, fully deserving of consideration in the same bracket as Maradona vs England or Zidane vs Leverkusen.

And it’s emphatically Giggs. Once again the Welshman performs best when his team’s back is against the wall. Once again (as above against Tottenham and Juve) he capitalizes on a mistake that he has no right to punish with a goal. Once again he reveals hidden depths of resolve and energy he seems to store deep inside him for such occasions.

This was more than just the goal that took Manchester United to the FA Cup final. It was the goal that broke Arsenal, causing The Professor to retreat to his lab and rejig the formula. It was the goal that made that squad (and us) believe indisputably that the impossible was possible, a self-fulfilling prophecy that ignited the players in times of turmoil and drove them to success. It was a goal that gripped you, shook you and reminded you just why you love the beautiful game. You can keep Zlatan’s gravity-defying overhead kicks, Barca’s eye-watering, fifty-pass team goals;  we’d take Ryan Giggs running directly at a tired, ageing Arsenal backline any day of the week.  

Giggs

Dice