Imagine a life without Ryan Giggs. It is impossible. He was just always there, like Coronation Street and the BBC.
Yesterday he announced his retirement from professional football. After 23 years playing for Manchester United and 34 trophies he decided he had enough. But it is not only the number of trophies and the longevity that makes this man special. It is his skill of reinvention.
The old & new Giggs
Just after his debut, the 17-year-old was dubbed as ‘the new George Best’. Giggs was a beguiling mix of ruthlessness and grace. The way he ran, the way he passed, the way he moved was balletic but it was also wholly damaging to opponents. But those inelastic hamstrings panged once too often. No more could he play with the same wild abandon. Top speed wasn’t an option as pragmatism crept in where once was unadulterated joy.
He needed to change his way of play and evolved in the elder statesman we know today. The new Giggs got wise; he went from not being able to cross properly to playing slide-rule passes at will. Travelling with the ball became less belting down the flank and more subtle feigns and shifts of balance. It helped him win everything more times than anyone ever.
Great guy to work with
As a person Giggs never changed. We have a long standing work relationship with him, and he is still the nice guy we met for the first time more than 15 years ago. He embarks upon a new and exciting chapter in his life, as assistant manager of Manchester United. And we, we will always remember his contribution to the game with a fantastic range of authentic autographed Giggs memorabilia.