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Giggs is Manchester United's shining knight

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Phil McNulty | 22:20 UK time, Saturday, 26 September 2009

"Arise Sir Ryan Giggs" read a small banner tucked away in one of the quieter corners of Stoke City's thunderous Britannia Stadium.

And the current Knight of Old Trafford will be in no mood to argue after another emphatic demonstration of the class and composure contained within the Premier League's most enduring talent.

Sir Alex Ferguson introduced Giggs after finally tiring of Nani's posturing and lack of end product, and within minutes the gulf between the pretender and the consummate professional ensured Manchester United's superiority counted for something in Saturday's 2-0 win at Stoke.

Giggs showed the man he replaced that football is essentially a simple game made complicated by players like Nani - making two goals by allowing Dimitar Berbatov and John O'Shea to apply the finishing touches to a hugely-convincing United performance that meant normal service was resumed at the Premier League summit.

And if United's fans were sending a message to those who deliver the honours list to Buckingham Palace, it was nowhere near as resounding as that sent by the champions to those hoping to strip them of their crown.

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis toned down the scale of his side's task by claiming in his programme notes that it would be "hard, bloomin' hard" to unseat United.

It was much bloomin' harder than even Pulis thought as, on tough territory regarded as an accurate measure of the resilience and character in any team with title pretensions, United made it as joyless an afternoon as Stoke have endured on home turf since they returned to the Premier League.

Ryan Giggs

Stoke were at least hanging on to the precipice by their fingertips until Giggs emerged early in the second half. For starters he sent an open invitation to Berbatov to slide home a simple first then provided the free-kick for O'Shea's late header.

Pulis, magnanimous in defeat and fully accepting of United's class, described Giggs and his old partner in glory Paul Scholes as "great players and great professionals. Scholes was the best player on the pitch by a country mile," he noted.

It was Giggs, however, whose mixture of subtlety and simplicity actually made the difference. He showed again that while the searing burst of pace that illuminated most of his career has dimmed now, there is still no substitute for maturity and simple football common sense within Ferguson's template for success.

Giggs is the shining example to every player in the Premier League. Eleven Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Uefa Champions League winner's medals as well as the PFA player of the year award in 2009 plus two PFA young player awards and still no sign of his hunger diminishing.

On the contrary, Giggs seems inspired by a force that accompanies the realisation that his career is inevitably nearing its conclusion. He does not want to miss an opportunity to add further honours, despite his current status as the domestic game's most decorated individual.

If Nani is to fulfil his potential, he should keep Giggs in his eyeline for as long as his glorious Old Trafford career continues. Stoke's fans taunted Nani with chants of "You'll Never Be Ronaldo" in reference his Portugal team-mate Cristiano, now departed from Old Trafford.

And they were spot on. There is undoubtedly a good player lurking inside Nani trying to get out, but the impression is that he is spending too much time attempting to be Ronaldo rather than himself. Giggs should be his guide.

It is a tribute to Giggs's longevity that how long he can maintain this rich vein of form, he is 36 in November, will play a major part in shaping United's season. He is a credit to himself, Manchester United and the game he has graced since making his debut against Everton in March 1991.

The flip side of the coin says it may be a concern that United are still leaning heavily on one of the game's elder statesmen, but Giggs starts every season refreshed and appears to have an almost insatiable lust for success.

This was an ominous afternoon for those - and at this point it is only right to deliver a reminder that I predicted a third-placed finish for United in the Premier League this season - seeking cracks in the Old Trafford power base, especially post-Ronaldo.

Back to Pulis's programme notes, where he congratulated Stoke's fans for "making the Britannia such a horrible place for visiting teams." They did their best - this is wonderful arena to sample the Premier League experience - but United were oblivious to the cacophony that accompanies proceedings before and during the game.

It was horrible, but not in the way Stoke wanted as they were ultimately outclassed. You could even hear yourself think after about 20 minutes, a sure sign that something is not quite right at the Britannia.

United negated any possible impact Stoke's full-on physical approach, laced with a measure of skill it should be stressed, may have had by refusing to let them have the ball.

John O'Shea
John O'Shea scored United's second to end Stoke's hopes

Pulis's men spent most of the game pushed back into their own territory and the only obstacle standing between United and three points was their own flawed final ball. Giggs provided that and the formalities were complete.

I asked Pulis whether United had dealt with Stoke as comfortably at home as any side since they won promotion back to the top flight and he said: "We have had a couple of games like that, but it is the first time this year we haven't given it a right good go.

"They are an outstanding side with outstanding players. You have to take into account who we were playing against and United were just excellent. I sensed even in the first 10 minutes that we were very flat."

Very flat is not a phrase normally associated with Stoke City or their supporters, but that is what they were reduced to by Manchester United's excellence.

And Stoke's hopes of getting at United goalkeeper Ben Foster, exposed by poor judgement and questionable positioning in the Manchester derby, failed to get off the ground as they were starved of possession in any areas of danger.

I still feel United will need more creativity from central midfield and the flanks as the season progresses and may find it more difficult to retain the title than they have in recent times, thus claiming a fourth successive Premier League.

But a trip to Stoke is first and foremost an examination of mental and physical strength even before you earn the right to exert your greater quality.

United passed every test with top marks and this triumph, placed alongside victories against Arsenal and Manchester City and a high-quality win at Spurs, has taken some of the wind out of the sails of those looking for even the slightest vital signs of decline.

I still have my suspicions over the course of an entire season, even moreso in Europe than in domestic combat, but this was compelling evidence to support the theory that writing off Manchester United remains one of sports most dangerous occupations.

This was impressive stuff and a clear signal of intent to their rivals. When they have a player like Giggs who shares that same hunger and drive as the manager who has guided his career, then continued success will always be on the Old Trafford agenda.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Giggs is incomparable - dedicated to his sport and willing to put in all the effort required to maintain his position. He could teach some of the current arrivistes, at all clubs, a lesson in how to conduct themselves, on and off the pitch.

  • Comment number 2.

    so, do you still stand by your (ludicrous) prediction that United would only muster 3rd this season?

  • Comment number 3.

    What a legend Giggs is. A true professional, and surely one of the best players in the premiership still, when on this form. Every team would take him in a heartbeat, and these performances prove why he won the player of the year award last year. Some said it was undeserved and that he played very few games. But the man is a legend, and what class he has!

  • Comment number 4.

    Excellent article. Arise Sir Ryan Giggs. If he's not made a knight this season then something is wrong. 20 years since his debut and still going strong, not to mention his charity work and off-field professionalism. Make him Sir Ryan while he's still a player - don't wait until he's finished. It would be most fitting.

  • Comment number 5.

    Giggsy is the man, to change the game as he did today just goes to show how important he is even at the tender age of 35. No less than 3 assists in the derby last week and another 2 today. Everyone has been saying this for about 18 months now but Giggs is in the form of his life! Just wish Wales had more stars like him! As long as we can keep rotating him throughout the season and he can make the impact he did today - there's no stopping us!
    All hail Sir Ryan! =)

  • Comment number 6.

    What a turnaround. 3 or 4 seasons ago it looked like his hunger had gone - not for lack of professionalism, but the drive after having such an illustrious career.

    Now in the last couple of seasons, Giggs has progressed and developed an extra side to his game, that not even the Giggs of the 90s had - highly intelligent playmaking. Sure he could whip in a cross, and with his searing pace was often used to devastating effect. But the eye for a pass and astute decision making (something that Nani could learn from) is now shining brightly in his game more than ever.

    What a player.

  • Comment number 7.

    Giggs: fantastic! I'm Welsh and 100% patriotic, but I'd have given anything to see Giggs on the world stage playing for, dare I say it, the old enemy - England.. He could have been at 3, 1998, 2002, 2006 and graced them all! It's a shame that he hasn't contributed to any major championships with Wales.. A parallel here with another great: George Best. We never saw him on the international world stage either.. Shame..

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah,Ryan.... Can you believe he's approaching his third decade in the top flight,has played in the same teams as Robson Cantona Schmeichel Beckham Keane Solksjaer Ronaldo,scored in every season he's played in,and is still going?Are there words really to describe this man?The true dilemma for United is Giggs and Scholes.Not that they cannot be replaced,that goes without saying,but since they have set such high standards,United will forever be looking for the next wing wizard and ginger prince.Like the Maradona jinx for a lot of Argentine talent that is compared to him.And some pretenders have already come and gone,leaving the men they were meant to replace still ploughing on.United are beginning to gather the confidence and balance that always used to desert them when Ronaldo was having a bad day.And some very unlikely heroes are coming to the fore,like the formerly much pilloried Fletcher.What a season he is having.But Rio has me worried.Part of his allure was top drawer physical ability.That is now history.

  • Comment number 9.

    No matter what club you support, you just can't help but be astounded by Ryan Giggs. Still doing the business nearing the age of 36, scoring in 20 consecutive seasons, it's the Curious Case of Benjamin Button being put to practice! Who would have in say 2004 he would still be this good?

    It's a shame that we will never see this sort of player for a long time - someone devoting their entire career for one club, playing at the highest level for nearly 20 years, and winning a truckload of trophies in the process. A model professional and someone that aspiring future football players would look up to, it's what the sport needs. He's United's Maldini, wouldn't be surprised if a statue of Giggs would be built when he retires.

  • Comment number 10.

    Giggs is undoubtably a true legend.
    While Neville celebbrates in front of the opposition supportors (Liverpool, Man City), Giggs remains a total profesional.
    I agree with #4 - make the knighting while he is still playing and at the top of his game!

  • Comment number 11.

    Great hat trick from Fernando Torres, probably the best striker on the planet and the best player in the league yet Phil writes an article about someone who is playing pretty decent who made a simple ten yard pass against stoke.

  • Comment number 12.

    Could he go on til 40?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Giggsy a top class player no doubt. But the flipside as you aptly ask is do you bank winning the PL on such a classy octagarian? Class yes but how long can it last given the tiring nerves against versatile, athletic and dynamos like Tores? My gut feeling tells me MU may be in for some slaughter or disappointment at best soon both in PL and Europe.

  • Comment number 15.

    he is a v good professional who has deserved more attention than beckham for example as he stayed with a team and has won more, but he has also played for a top team, bit sycophantic this article, calm down! also nani is young and is unsurprisingly not as effective as giggs .. so giggs is a good player and nani is not as experienced and not as effective, what a revelation. wish you'd relax with your writing 'chief football writer'

  • Comment number 16.

    There's not much more that can be said about Ryan Giggs.

    Apart from please knight him. No-one has achieved more in the English game and you would be hard pressed to find a foriegner who has achieved similar levels of success in their own respective countries. Surely for his achievements and success in the game, as well as being a model proffesional and role model he deserves it.

  • Comment number 17.

    I know people say Ryan Giggs is nearing the end of his career, but I am really starting to wonder how close he actually is. Maldini played til he was 39. Giggs isn't 36 yet. He is just as good if not better than Maldini (different positions so hard to compare, admittedly) so what is to say that Giggs can't play on til he is 40?

    He is still quicker than a lot of 20 odd year olds in football, and has basically developed to the point where pace isn't a factor for him anymore anyway. He has that Sheringham-esque extra yard in his head, and can make the ball do most of the work for him anyway due to his ability to pick out a pass like few players can.

    I also get the feeling that where as some players (such as Rooney) may have a bit of a blow out in the off season, Giggs keeps his eating etc in check and just wants to keep on going.

    The guy is pure legend, the greatest player United have ever had bar none. Yes there have been more talented players (and that's saying something as Giggs is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination in that department), but to perform as well as he has done, for as long as he has done, with the class that he has done basically marks him above some of his more talented peers in my book. Cantona, Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy, Beckham. He has seen them all come and go. Even Best's career was but a flash in the pan due to his personal demons. Giggs is THE PERFECT footballer. I'm sure if Sir Alex could field 10 Ryan Giggs and Peter Schmeicel in the next game he would.

    Arise Sir Ryan, arise indeed.

  • Comment number 18.

    If Ryan Giggs gets a knighthood so should paul scholes, alan shearer, the list could go on and on.

  • Comment number 19.

    Oh dear. Some of these comments are dumb lol. The reason why McNulty is talking about utd is because he was at the stoke utd game!

    If stoke scored 5 against us and all from dead balls, what do you think the article would have been about?

    Stokes dead balls or torres?

    As for giggs, he puts nani to shame.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    11. shadyladyinred
    13. Sinspaw

    I'm standing up for Phil here, but he is Chief Football Writer and as a result gets sent to the biggest game of every weekend by the BBC. Naturally it often is Manchester United - but Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and City have all been getting look-ins too lately. And as he has stated, he generally writes about matches he has been to.

    United at Stoke was the most interesting looking fixture of the weekend, with most of the other matches looking like 'bankers'. That's (I assume) why Phil was there.

    It really is getting quite tiresome how whenever Phil writes positive comments about United, he gets lambasted for favouritism. Remember, in his last post he stuck by his tip for Liverpool to win the title! Some people need to lighten up.

  • Comment number 22.

    Re: #11 shadyladyinred & #13 Sinspaw, chips off shoulders please, people! Phil's chosen a match to go to and written about what he's seen. The cynic in me thinks he'd rather have had an article about Man United's title hopes being dented or questioning Foster's England credentials but that's not the game that unfurled. Yes Torres is class (though for the neutral surely Robbie Keane was the story of the day?) and maybe he could've chosen to attend a different match - like Wigan maybe - but this was the story of the match that he saw. End of.

  • Comment number 23.

    To the fan of Fernando Torres, go read a blog on Torres, why are you here complaining.

  • Comment number 24.

    need to think about united's shape.

    united certainly move and pass the ball well, but end product has been lacking. fortunately, those things can be worked on.

    owen is an excellent addition to the squad. they are gelling together. owen has a brilliant footballing mind, and the united mid field should be looking to exploit that. owen always seems to be in the right place in and around the penaltly area.

    barbatov is also an excellent player. he sets up many goals for united.

  • Comment number 25.


    One of your better blogs.

    Ryan Giggs is a rare one and the world knows it.

  • Comment number 26.

    Some say that Phil is biased towards United, some say he's biased against, so using that as a barometer I have to say he's fair and balanced!

    I enjoy Phil's blogs, and I suggest to those who don't...don't read. I know I don't enjoy reading the Daily Mail, so do you know what I do? I don't read the daily mail.

    As a Bury fan, I've watched Giggs develop through his career at United over the years (often with a touch of jealousy that Bury never got those players...notwithstanding that when we do we have to flog them!), and I can remember the generally inevitable pattern of his early seasons, namely good season, bad season, good season etc. I actually think he could have been even better younger if he'd just curbed his pace a tiny certainly would have helped his hamstrings!

    One thing I respect about Ferguson is that he is fiercely loyal to his players, especially those who serve him so well. He had the opportunity to sell Giggs to Juventus in the late 90's and got in Ariel Ortega (where's HE these days?), but chose to stand by Giggs and has been rewarded in buckets throughout the years. Loyalty goes both ways too, and those who aren't in it just for the money will often stay at United when they could take the megabucks offered by other teams. Such as Ole Solskjaer. He was offered a big pay rise to go to Spurs but turned it down because of love and loyalty for Manchester United. If only more players would show that kind of loyalty.

  • Comment number 27.

    Giggs does NOT deserve a knighthood, purely due to his inconsistent form for his country, not to mention his attitude to friendlies.

    He has undoubted class and because of the current system of 3 subs, he's managed to prolong his career well beyond what was possible 20+ years ago. Yet 20 minute cameos still get counted as playing a match, it's the same with Beckhams 100+ caps for England, they're both (and many other players too) very lucky to be involved at a time when squad is more important than just a starting XI.

    Let's not get carried away here, there is enough debate, from those old enough to have seen them, as to whether he'd even get into either of Sir Matts great starting XIs.
    So yes, he's a very talented player and has prolonged his career (mainly due to the ever changing sport itself), he's managed to stay at 1 club, is this loyalty or lack of ambition though? It isn't so hard to stay at such a big and successful club when you're getting paid as much as anyone else and you constantly win trophies, is it?
    Imagine how long a true genius like Bobby Charlton or Tom Finney could have played for had they been born 35-40years more recently.

  • Comment number 28.

    The last time i checked, Sir Chris Hoy is still riding his bike so why cant Sir Ryan Giggs continue playing top flight football for two more years?

  • Comment number 29.

    The sign in the corner of the Britannia Stadium ("Arise Sir Ryan Giggs") sums up the sensation that one gets from watching Ryan Giggs do what he has done year after year after year. He is footballing royalty and deserves to be held in the highest esteem by his loyal fans.

    He also carries himself with great comportment off the field. This is why I gladly point to him with pride & say to my soon to be eight year old son, "See, there's someone you can learn from and emulate on and off the pitch". There are a lack of caveats to add when speaking of Ryan Giggs -- unlike many other sportsmen (or so called sportsmen) who do not have that aggregate of excellent qualities as a player and a man.

    All hail Sir Giggs!

  • Comment number 30. - Giggsy should be knighted whilst still playing. There is an online petition that has been signed by thousands already located at, sign this and publicse it so they can put this forward to get him what he deserves... Arise Sir Ryan you are true role model to all... Spread the word!

  • Comment number 31.

    Ryan Giggs is the best player to have ever played for Wales and is probably the best United have ever had too. Giggs is the only thing that I have ever liked about Man United. I've respected many like Keane, Scholes, Schmeicel and of course Ferguson himself but none of the mentioned are truely liked and respected throughout the country as much as Giggs. I needn't explain the reasons for this; if you need an explanation perhaps this blog isn't for you.
    Giggs is the best role model bar none for wanna-be young footballers. His personality on and off the pitch is exceptional and the manner in which he has conducted career is unprecedented. Giggs is that good, his influence may have been sufficient for England to reach a major final in the past, had he chosen otherwise. I'm just suprised that I'd continue to envy United's diamond of a gem into the 2009/10 season. As a true red (not a devil) this has led to more than 15 years of this wierd pain-free torture! I personally doubted Giggs credentials in winning the PFA award last year but that doesn't mean he didn't deserve it! He's one of the very few people on the planet who deserves respect regardless of who you support or don't. He IS THE ULTIMATE MODEL PROFESSIONAL.

    Ps Torres' trio were real class even if that Zonko or whatever his name was pathetic most of the game. Yossi is on terrific form and is slowly establishing himself enough to be considered no.3 on the Liverpool team-sheet ahead of Kuyt, Carragher and even Johnson.

  • Comment number 32.

    To the comment by the poster who says Giggs doesn't deserve a knighthood because he's only making 20 min cameo appearances like Becks,has no ambition because he's played for only one club,and had a woeful attitude towards friendlies...... Really?Are you Sir Matt Busby?Can U stay dead!Then you go on to compare him to Charlton who was in the main a.... one club man.How is continuously playing for one club lack of ambition?You're having a laugh.I would love to see Ferguson's pre match notes when he decides to play Giggs.They must read something like, "This chap is crap,but I like him so much,I gotta stick him in there somehow." Considering how much United rotate a squad,how often does Giggs not make the bench?Cameo appearances!Go have tea or something.... your system is in need of some nicotine.For the friendlies for Wales,the man could walk back into the side today,but given his injury record when he was younger,would you blame him for pacing himself and letting other players have the chance to represent Wales?

  • Comment number 33.

    The thing I admire most about Ryan Giggs is the fact that I can't recall seeing a story about him in a tabloid newspaper. In the age of scandals and controversies, never once has he seemed dedicated to anything but football. While people complain about the massive salaries the top players demand, I can honestly say I don't begrudge him it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good read, nice to see you are standing by your predictions, but humble enough to openly state where you could've been wrong.

    They say after 10 games is when you look at the table and can start to get a idea of how things will pan out.... that tenth game for us will be Liverpool away. And surely it's safe to say they are over their early blip now... So that will be a big, big game.

  • Comment number 35.

    Great Blog Phil, shame about the people who are criticising your chosen topic.

  • Comment number 36.

    11* Agreed, Torres is having a fantastic season... when he's had 18 more in the EPL, you can come back and read the "KBE for Torres" article; not likely is it?
    18* Paul Scholes has had a poor disciplinary record throughout his career; I agree longevity may be rewarded with the MBE as handed out like housepoints to any old celebrity or sportsman, but we're comparing that to the finest player Wales has ever produced (and no, he couldn't EVER have played for england; the English connection was too far back!)
    As for Alan Shearer; are you having a laugh? Exactly how is Alan Shearer ever going to achieve the type of footballing success that justifies a knighthood? Are you saying he's going to suddenly emulate Sir Alex or Sir Bobby as a manager, 'cos there's nothing he did on the pitch that justifies one!

  • Comment number 37.

    Its getting very interesting at the top, as all the teams expected to finish in the top 6 area are on good runs of form. At the moment I would pick Manchester United for the title, simply because Liverpool are a bit thin in the squad, and Chelsea lose Drogba and Essien for a month or so in the new year.

    Last year Man U won the title despite a pretty dire record in the "big four" matches, while Liverpool did really well in them. So far this year they have won against Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester City, all of which have to be considered serious tests for any title winning team.

    I think theres going to be a very close battle between all 6 teams mentioned above over the top four spots. This is more a reflection on the progress of Tottenham and Manchester City than any particular criticism of the other four.

    As for Giggs, to think we all thought last years PFA award was more a lifetime achievement thing! At this rate he is going to be up for it again, though of course theres a long way to go before medals are handed out.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lifelong United fan here...

    It's a pleasure to watch Giggs roll back the years like this.. I couldn't be happier.

    There are many pretenders to the throne... once again, we are doing our very best to show them we are still on our game...

    Long may this continue.

    Proud to the core..


  • Comment number 39.

    As a Liverpool fan, it pains me to say so, but Ryan Giggs is superb and has been for many years. It is no secret that united's dominance of the premier league has coincided with his career. A consumate professional on the field that any fan would snap your hand off for, if offered to their team.

  • Comment number 40.

    Why do the bitter scousers always decide to ruin a good discussion on a well chosen topic! Grow up

  • Comment number 41.

    I said it in a previous blog, but I'll say it again regarding Giggs.

    There have been (a few) more skillful players to play in the premiership.
    There have been a few players who have made more impact on a game to have played in the premiership.
    There have been a few with a better left foot.
    There have been a lot who are more prolific.

    There has never been, however, a better professional footballer in the premiership era than Ryan Giggs.

    As for the rest, I tend to agree that United's final ball is lacking when he isnt there. I suspect Nani will be gone next summer, and Fergusons major signing will be a winger, either after the world cup or even in January if they do struggle in the Champions League.
    Valencia is still in transition , so its too early to judge with him.

  • Comment number 42.

    Giggs has been immence his entire career, to start at the age of 17 and still have the passion and desire to keep playing and winning trophies after you've won everything there is to win is a great testament to him.

    With regards United I can't help you criticism is a bit lacking given it seems mainly to be based on one poor performance last may. United were disjointed last season put in a handful of excelent performances and had Vidic to thank for the title.

    This season in contrast they are playing far more like a team. Berbatov and Rooney are working well together up front, Scholes and Evra who had poor seasons last time around are looking far better. Fletcher and Giggs have been outstanding, I do think the loss last may should be put in the context that United had been stripped of their two defence midfielder's in Hargreaves and Fletcher and consequetly forced Carrick to play out of position with disatorous consequences.

    While I can see your point regarding options in the middle and the wings, I think United should have more than enough to cope, Nani was disappointing yesterday but Valencia is improving and let's not forget such are United's options Ji Sung Park didn't even make the bench yesterday. In the middle I'm looking foward to seeing if Lijic will get opportunities when he arrives in January. He looks like a really excellent player and play's behind the strikers which is an option we really need (he also played on the wing in the recent U-18's tournament).

  • Comment number 43.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion I guess, or so the old adage goes. But to make a 3rd place prediction for Man Utd, at this stage of the season, that's pure folly. All the top teams have shown frailties. There will be peaks and troughs in everyone's game before this season is done. Surely the smart money has to be based on evidence of the past. Manchester United are the only team with the Pedigree to ride those uncertainties long enough to win. Sometimes it seems our pride gets in the way of sense. We stick to our choices no matter what happens to make them unrealistic. Okay, I admit it, I'm a Utd fan so I've my fair share of blind spots but I'm also a pragmatist. So here is my opinion. Man Utd has more chance of winning this Premiere league than any one else. Not to say they will but I really can't see how you can predict anything with certainty, let alone a 3rd place finish looking from here... Time will tell.

  • Comment number 44.

    Ryan is a true legend.
    A role model who is an example of how to be on and off the pitch.
    When he was young - mesmerising.
    Now older - a magician.
    Without a doubt deserves his knighthood.
    A genius.
    My hero.
    Giggs forever number 11.

  • Comment number 45.

    United fans can only pray that Scholes, Giggs and Ferguson don't retire at the same time. I don't know what would happen in that situation...

  • Comment number 46.

    i don't mind people saying that nani was didn't play at his best, because he didn't. but he had a very good shot that forced a very good save - if that had gone in then everyone would be singing his praises

    indeed, ronaldo spent years being slated as playing well below his best until he got played regularly for a season - nani hardly played last season, he will start to play his best the more he plays

    same with o'shea and berb - didn't play well but managed to score goals where giggs did most of the hard work.

    please try to keep things in perspective

  • Comment number 47.

    Just a small point. I wrote the blog about Ryan Giggs and Manchester United playing Stoke City because that was the game I attended. That seems pretty self-explanatory.

    If I had gone to Liverpool v Hull I suspect I might have written about Fernando Torres. I have commented on many occasions that Torres is world-class and in my opinion the best out-and-out striker (I obviously do not include Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in this category) in world football. I hardly need to see him score a hat-trick against Hull City to shape this opinion.

    The point about Ryan Giggs yesterday was the sheer, wonderful simplicity of his football. To the poster who suggested he only delivered a 10-yard cross, true enough but he took up the position to do it and played it perfectly.

    If it was all so easy every player would be doing it. Nani take note.

    Are United fans a little concerned that they are still leaning on Giggs quite considerably? He is still an outstanding talent and a perfect professional, but this is a long season for someone who is 36 in November.

    And to DP1992. Yep - still sticking with Liverpool.

  • Comment number 48.

    Ryan Giggs is the kind of footballer all young professionals should use as a role model,he is so professional that he puts so many of todays so called superstars in the shade and ironically most of them(superstars) have not even won half of the trophies this wonderful man has won. I think that apart from his football brain ,its the determination to keep on winning matches and trophies that keeps him on the top of his game. The knowledge and understanding that the team is more important than the individual and being ready to make any sacrifice to benefit the welfare of the team.
    Nice article, but I still disagree with anyone predicting the winner of a championship played over 36 games in all kinds of conditions after only seven games ,this is a marathon and not a hundred yards dash and like we saw yesterday with Chelsea and Wigan the are still more twists and turns to come in this drama and thats why its called football.

  • Comment number 49.

    Ryan Giggs is very much the modern player as far as skill and pace (although a bit diminished) are concerned. But most definately he is also the player with the qualities of yesteryear as far as class and humility. I hope some of the current crop at Old Traffford realise they are playing with one of the all-time greats and take note that a footballer can be great on and off the field and have true character. Sir Ryan in 2010 please, it would be a good decision for the game and for sport in general.

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't even live in the UK but people are huge fans of both Giggs and Scholes over in my country. They are both footballing legends.

  • Comment number 51.

    An intelligent, mature and gifted player like Giggs doesn't need to showboat or go for glory every time. Which is why his pinpoint pass to Berbatov produces a vital goal.

    Football fans expect their star players to have fifty clips on youtube, featuring showboating, scissor kicks and running through defences made of tissue paper.

    We all know that this is just a big con, real football genius turns up in rain, snow and mud to fashion victory out of whatever is to hand.

    The reason why Giggs' story is more important than Torres' hat-trick against Hull (18 year old defender on his first-team debut assigned to mark Torres? oh puh-lease) is that it's about the enduring quality of loyalty, perseverance and commitment to honest skill.

    Next week Torres will be back to falling over in the box. I don't see Giggs doing that.

  • Comment number 52.

    Can't believe all these scouser's. Gigg's is without doubt a legend. You should be able to put aside the hate you have for Manu and appreciate what the guy has done for football. If you really love the game you'd take your hat off to Giggs for all he has achieved. Even I as a spurs fan can appreciate some like Bergkamp, and i hate arsenal.

  • Comment number 53.

    a load more rubbish from the chief BBC writer.

    such is your bias towards United Phil, that not do you only attend their games every week, so you can comment on them, but you are now trying to big up Stoke so you can comment how United won the "beat Stoke away at their place in their second Prem season" trophy.
    Phil wrote-
    It was much bloomin' harder than even Pulis thought as, on tough territory regarded as an accurate measure of the resilience and character in any team with title pretensions, United made it as joyless as afternoon as Stoke have endured on home turf since they returned to the Premier League.

    who regards it as an accurate measure? only you Phil.
    United have Sunderland at OT next. don't tell me. that will be the accurate test of Champions next.

    why no mention of how pretty much every United "fan" had slated Giggs for the past 3 seasons for below par performances who wanted him out of the team.
    why no mention of how alic blew millions on a wasteful talent like Nani. and Berba. and Valencia, and Anderson.

    who's beyond the pale?

  • Comment number 54.

    As a Liverpool fan, I make no apologies for stating that in my opinion Ryan Giggs deserves all the plaudits that come his way.

    The dedictation and, crucially, hunger to continue to train as hard as he must have to in order to continue playing in the Premier League must be applauded, for starters.

    Secondly, the way he has adapted his game as his pace has gradually left him must be acknowledged. The clear difference in the way he and Nani play the game is that Giggs uses his brain. Those looking to downplay the effect he had on the game by saying he only played a couple of simple balls are missing the point; it's because he played a couple of simple balls that United scored twice.

    Most of all, I am impressed with his diplomacy. In an age of constant showboating (on and off the pitch) and one-upmanship, Giggs has continued to carry himself with dignity.

    He's a great professional.

  • Comment number 55.

    Despite being a genetically programmed united fan, I think Mr Mcnulty has gone OTT (like everybody else does) about Giggs/United. Let's face it, they weren't exactly playing Juventus/Milan/Bayern/Inter, were they? If they were, they would have been sorry about giving the ball away all the time - especially Giggs, Ferdinand and O' Shea. There were also two terrible misses from Giggs and Valencia.

    SAF can and does get away with mediocrity time and again in the EPL - there's little real quality there. But Europe is a different story, and his record there proves the the Emperor has no clothes. No-one has had as many attempts and won the CL only twice - both b* * * * * miracles.

  • Comment number 56.

    Greatest Welsh player?
    Many on here have claimed so, but what about Ivor Allchurch or John Charles?
    IMO, he's third behind the two of them.

    Best Utd player?
    He's not even the best left sided player, he's very good, but a distance behind Best.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    #53 why no mention of how alic blew millions on a wasteful talent like Nani. and Berba. and Valencia, and Anderson.

    who's beyond the pale?

    Perhaps theres no mention of wasting millions, because, erm, they keep on winning things? In the case of Valencia, its a bit harsh to judge him after a half dozen games. Ronaldo wasnt exactly tearing up the Premier League in his first couple of seasons there.

  • Comment number 59.

    dont usually like your usually biased posts Phil but this is quality.

  • Comment number 60.

    Re Chasney

    You are a very bitter person who judging by your last few comments on these blogs, care more about united than your own team liverpool. I myself am a united fan and when phil does a blog on united you complain consistently of pro united bias yet Phil is STILL backing your team for the title.

    Stoke was acknowledged last season as having the loudest group of fans and that it was an extremely difficult place to go to. Not just Phils opinion but also that of most the managers (including your own) but do you think they know nothing about football either?

    You then go on to complain that Fergie has wasted millions on players such as Nani, Berbatov, Valencia and Anderson. Nani is still very young, Berbatov is certainly not a prolific goalscorer yet brings another dimension to the team, Valencia is young and at a new club and Anderson had an extended break over the summer and is now coming to full fitness and is also young. Every top 4 team has numerous players that mayber havent worked out for various reasons and you could have chosen some genuine flops that havent worked out but these guys still have their part to play. Look at your team and the revolving door policy Rafa has at Anfield.

    Try and relax a little and stop thinking there is a world conspriacy against your team and that everyone is pro united - its BORING

  • Comment number 61.

    A fair article Phil, you chose to visit Stoke and write what you and most neutral observers would have written, United kept the ball and players with experience and lots of skill and class won the day for them.
    Scholes was outstanding until tired , Giggs came on and was excellent , efficient and was again used as a 35 minute impact player.
    Job done, even though Rooney had a quiet day and Valencia was ignored/ isolated in the first half.
    Yes,I believe there is a massive reliance on the old brigade at United at this time , but in the last 4/5 seasons we were panned for relying on the brilliance of Ronaldo , so it's back to basics, team work, graft, skill and nouse until the new blood gels or improves. If Nani can be mentored by Giggsy and has half a brain , he will get better by the end of this season , if not , he will likely be sold and SAF will get out the cheque book.
    For United to be top by game 7 is unusual, if still there , we will see if the team handles it 3 weeks from now, will it get a nose bleed?
    I think on form a point at Anfield is likely - just like the old days !
    Carry on the good work Phil , I'm sure Torres will feature in many articles , so the Liverpool supporters can rest easy....

  • Comment number 62.

    I notice Phil's such an avid follower of Manc Untidy that he even qualifies for away tickets now.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm sorry, but there really are some prescious fools choosing to contribute to this blog.

    Accusations of bias, unprofessionalism and poor journalism? Ridiculous. Some people need to get a grip on life (or rather get a life!). I'd love to know what qualifies people to say something is 'poor journalism' when the sum total of their journalistic experience is probably reading The Sun once a week.

    It's a blog on an interesting subject and a player worthy of interest. Get over it!

  • Comment number 64.

    No 53 your anti United posts are becoming tiresome

    and if you saw Chelseas trials and tribulations against Stoke you would see the brittania stadium is a hard place to go i believe they only lost a handful of games last year

    where else would you of like dPhil to have been Anfield to watch a team that has once 2 times in the league since last December or DW stadium while on paper looked a formality we dont have the gift of being able to see into the future

    the headlines couldve been reading a bit different had we failed to win yesterday as your precious Liverpool did last year or Arsenal, but we won and it was hardfought a perfect game to report on not a purely one sided affair that really only had one outcome.

    As for Giggs and the write ups he has been getting he played the full 90 against City and tore Micah Richards former england right back a new on for the whole of the 2nd half, obviously he can no longer sustain Sat, Weds, Sat like he used to he is 35 soon to be 36 playing in a part of the team that requires the most running common snese tells you Fergie needs to pick and choose when he plays.

    As for the Millions wasted on those players you mentioned how many League titles and champions leagues (berba excluded) have they won since they have been at OT, if that constitutes wasted money sign me up for some more that.

  • Comment number 65.

    To the Liverpool fans slating Phil's "biased" opinion.
    Every player and manager in England emulates Phil's thoughts about Giggs, it is not as if he is bigging him up to be a better player than he actually is. He commands respect from every opposition he goes up against.
    And for those complaining about Phil going to Stoke v Utd rather than Lpool v Hull, I'm pretty sure every neutral fan would have made the same choice as Phil. Go watch Lpool undoubtedly destroy a Hull team with a woeful defensive reocrd and only 1 win all year? Or go to the Brittania stadium where team after team have struggled (look at Chelsea last week for God's sake) and watch a close game that could provide an upset.
    Theres no biased view here, just scouser whining.

  • Comment number 66.

    I can't help but feel a little frustrated by the way the press keep moving the goal posts for United.

    Before the season and especially after Burnley we heard how the United attack couldn't function without Ronaldo, United had scored only one goal in two games and missed a penalty.

    In the five matches since then (three of which have been away from home) United have won all five and scored 16 goals (SIXTEEN). Now apparently because Giggs is in good form United are over-reliant on him (this is the line Paul Wilson in the Guardian has also chosen to follow).

    I can't help but feel the journalists are clutching at straws and if it were Chelsea or Liverpool doing this that they would be recieving far more praise especially when you consider United's last four fixtures were Arsenal, Spurs, City and then Stoke away.

    Let me be clear here, I'm not saying the media hate United e.t.c just that since many journalist's had predicted United would struggle in preseason and also because the majority of journalists are too proud to see let alone admit their mistakes they are searching hard for any possible criticism of United.

  • Comment number 67.

    Great hat trick from Fernando Torres, probably the best striker on the planet and the best player in the league yet Phil writes an article about someone who is playing pretty decent who made a simple ten yard pass against stoke.


    Yet another supporter who doesn't understand football. Scoring a hattrick at home against a side who defend hopelessly and you should beat comfortably anyway is one thing. Coming on, changing a game and getting your team 3 valuable away points at a difficult ground is another.

    Winning the league is not about beating Hull at home 23-0, it's about winning every game 1-0. I'm sure Torres will have a lot of goals by the end of the season, but Liverpool still won't be champions.

  • Comment number 68.

    18. At 01:19am on 27 Sep 2009, shadyladyinred wrote:
    If Ryan Giggs gets a knighthood so should paul scholes, alan shearer, the list could go on and on.

    Really??? Giggs has won 11 league titles, 4 F.A cups and it goes on, to the best of my knowledge Shearer has one league title to his name! Theres no comparison really, but I would like to hear the rest of this list??

  • Comment number 69.

    Giggs is the profesional, but SAF, plays the appropiate team to win a match, so i doubt it would have been the same team as against stoke, but Giggs would have probably been playing from the first minute and again his influence would have been seen, no he is not as flash as ronaldo was, but i'm sure even ronaldo would still like to have the inlfuence that giggs has ath the age of 35

  • Comment number 70.

    Giggs reminds me of one old African players in the early 90's, named Roger Miller playing for his country in many world cups. Miller could only play for less than 15minutes at a time because of age, since he was in his forties, and was used all the time as a subs when things were going badly for his team. Each time Milla was introduced in a game his 15 minutes of play became a devasting period for the opposing team with either he himself slotting the goals or doing the hard work to provide the assists that needs just a simple tap to get to the net. I remember England almost became a victim of Miller in the Q-finals of one of the World cup matches. England seemed assured of victory as they led 1-0 with barely 10 minutes to go in a game they dominated thru out. But when the middle-aged African player was introduced in the last 10 minutes, he somehow found a way of outwitting the English defence twice and England trailed 1-2 in the 90th minute. By some devine intervention England leveled in the last minute of injury time and finally found a way to slot in the winner in Extra time. I learned miller played football until he was fifty.
    Now, Giggs, I see another Miller in him. Each season that you write him off, he comes out even stronger, more influential. while I do not see him playing at the age of 50 like Miller, I still see him being used as a subs game-changer up till his mid-forties, if not by Man-U but by one of the lesser teams that Man-U will eventually cash out on him...unless of course he himself decides on an "early" retirement!

  • Comment number 71.

    Perhaps theres no mention of wasting millions, because, erm, they keep on winning things? In the case of Valencia, its a bit harsh to judge him after a half dozen games. Ronaldo wasnt exactly tearing up the Premier League in his first couple of seasons there.

    i agree it's far to early to make a judgement on Valencia.
    so is it ok to spend millions on flops even if the side is successful? i am a very big fan of Giggs, not enough to write a blog about him, but he is proving to be the difference even in his twilight years that expensive talent can't emulate. while Giggs can still perform it will paper over the inevitable cracks that when the experienced stars like Scholes and Giggs retire, the expensive signings won't fill the gaps left.

  • Comment number 72.

    To LuigiGLFC...great post and showing good grace towards a player from fierce rivals. Shows how it should be done.

    Taking Giggs' entire career into account, has there been a better Premier League player?

    And on my title prediction, which appears to have caused a stir, I think Liverpool are showing better form now and have a great chance at Chelsea next week, with Petr Cech out and Fernando Torres in such brilliant nick.

    I was prepared to stick my neck out and go for Liverpool, and despite United picking up ominous momentum - which I saw for myself yesterday - I stick by that.

    And by the way, I cannot agree with those who try to belittle the task of winning at Stoke. That is one tough job and United made it look easy.

  • Comment number 73.

    And by the way, I cannot agree with those who try to belittle the task of winning at Stoke. That is one tough job and United made it look easy.

    i can't speak for everyone Phil, but i didn't belittle United winning at Stoke. i did belittle your notion that winning there is an accurate gauge of Prem champions.

  • Comment number 74.

    Arise Sir Ryan Giggs.... but only when you retire from playing.

  • Comment number 75.

    Again an excellent article. Right on the money about Giggs and Scholes. Both are not only a credit to their club, but to football itself. The fact the Giggs has remained at the top of the game for so long at just one club is a feat that I think will unlikely be topped any time soon in England. Same with the great Paolo Maldini in Italy. Forza Giggsy!!

  • Comment number 76.

    Phil, good article, if a little disingenious of you not to admit you wrote a live text with the same quote from Pulis' programme notes, but adding that it was United who were going to find the game "bloomin' hard".

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    This article is not so much about manchester united as it is about Giggs. Giggs has the the most assists this seaon for goal scoring oppurtunities and goals scored. He s modified his game but not the quality iof it. He has consistently plied his trade with the most successful english football club in his lifetime (meaning he s got the quality to be picked for a squad where places are a premium). For football fans, united or otherwise he entertains only by is footballing prowess. H es a good bloke off the pitch. People don t realise that before Beckham he was the premier league pin up boy, but he never acted like a celebrity. Only a handfull of players in history will ever come close to getting his collection of winner's medals. Absolute legend. He deserves all the plaudits he gets. Most under rated player in my opinion. Get those chips off... Best topic to write about Phil

  • Comment number 79.

    Absolutely spot on with regard to your comments and musings on Nani. He has finally been handed a fair run of games by SAF to prove his mettle, however, his "ronaldo-complex" is shining through and he is coming up painfully short.

    As far as planning both short- and longterm, Nani is not the solution to our apparent gap on the left wing.

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh my god, how many bitter posters are there here?!!! Relax people! You'd think Phil was the ONLY journalist out there. Phil McNulty was at the game, so he's going to write about a key story of THAT match and that was Giggs' considerable contribution to United winning the game, matching his already consistently high quality impact for United so far this season. Whether people like it or not, Giggs is one of the stories so far this season.
    As to the accusation of pro-united bias (by the likes of DemocracyThreat and Chasney), i think this is a little unfounded. For one, Phil McNulty has already come out and stated he thinks Liverpool will win the title. If he's so biased, surely he could easily go for a 4th United title? Also this month he rightly questioned united's ability to reach another CL final as well as highlighting how Fergie's response to the threat of City must have pleased City; Hardly sycophantic! It has possibly been a little united-centric of late but then again there have been two big, leading games that i would expect the chief sports writer to cover - namely United vs Arsenal & United vs City. Maybe he could have chosen another game this week considering the focus on the united v city game last week, but looking at this week's uninspiring fixture list, what game would have you chosen? The Stoke game offered a potential upset. Chill people.

  • Comment number 81.


    if you had read my posts correctly you would see that i often praised United. can't stand them but appreciate good football. so what am i bitter about? nothing.
    i do reserve special thoughts for Phil though who bigs up everything single thing United do. i never said Stoke was an easy fixture, but i also disagree that it's the gauge for Prem champions.


    as mentioned, i don't like United but that doesn't blinker my appreciation of their success.
    what is becoming tiresome is the constant United blogs that only show them in favour, while there are digs at other teams. even blogs on other teams usually suggest their achievements aren't as significant as if they were United.

    i'm not on some United hate campaign, but i'm tired of coming on here to see adulation heaped on United and less so on others. there were 8 fixtures yesterday but Phil went to see United for a second time this week.

    my comments on Giggs you can see earlier and my opinion on the expensive signings.

  • Comment number 82.

    I have been a football supporter since 1963
    I have seen Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Bobby Moore etc etc
    however, I would like to pay tribute to Ryan Giggs who
    has not only been a brilliant player but a brilliant
    person off the field too. What a fantastic credit to the game
    we all love so much. I am not a Man Utd fan but I have the
    most respect for good when I see it. Brilliant and a credit
    to the game the way it should be played.

  • Comment number 83.

    i can't speak for everyone Phil, but i didn't belittle United winning at Stoke. i did belittle your notion that winning there is an accurate gauge of Prem champions.

    Well then, how about beating Arsenal, Man City, Spurs(Away) and Stoke(Away)?

    I make them four of the trickiest fixtures of the season so far.

    More to the point, what have United's rivals done yet?

  • Comment number 84.

    Phil, there has never been a better player in the Premiership or a more worthy player to be titled Sir. I have nothing to do with the website I'm about to mention, but if people on here seriously consider Giggs to be worthy of being knighted then may I suggest they visit It seems to be gathering pace and with a bit of luck the powers that be may listen to it.

    Ryan Giggs is different class to anyone else. People have mentioned Scholes, Shearer, Henry, etc - but seriously Giggs is a step above. The longevity, the consistency, the professionalism. You can find many 'flaws', if you will, in other players, but there are simply no flaws with Ryan Giggs. To mention him in the same breath as David Beckham is an insult to the Welshman.

    Giggs is the Premiership's original poster boy. The flagship player for a new format. Without him, I daresay that the Premiership as we know it today would not be the same. Arise Sir Ryan and keep up the great form - two player of the year trophies in a row would be exceptional.

  • Comment number 85.

    Giggs has got to be hailed as atleast one of the best players the premiership has seen, i cannot believe at his age what a difference the guy makes. How long do you think he will go on for? He seems to have a fair bit of life in him still.

    I haven't been so furious with nani in some time. Time and time again he failed to pick out a pass, and normally tried to go for goal himself, the sub was inevitable and it proved to be decisive, if you look at the celebration you can tell how thankful berba is to giggs, he has been wanting the ball on a number of occassions when nani just tried to go it alone, and you could tell berba was getting frustrated with him.

    Anyway, thankyou Sir Ryan Giggs!

  • Comment number 86.

    I'm with #54.

    Watching Giggs, on or off the field, you can forget who he plays for because, ultimately, he plays for all of us. This is why he will be knighted (though it won't be before he retires imo).

    I'm quite sure he will be as professional and humble as he is now when HE is 67.

  • Comment number 87.

    Considering every season I have moaned about Giggs at one stage or another I suppose I have to admit defeat at last. He really has learnt the trade and proved himself.
    On a slightly churlish note I do believe gongs should be given out a few years after retirement. Give him chance to cope with life after football before tagging him. I can't see him as a manager, too low key and besides it seems only ex players with something still to prove in the game that have the motivation for management.

  • Comment number 88.

    These "Arise Sir Ryan Giggs" banners are all well and good, but shouldn't we be concentrating on Scholsey getting an MBE first? After all, Barry Ferguson, Steven Gerrard, Teddy Sheringham have MBE'S. OBE's have gone to Dean Windass, Zola(?!), Pallister, Beckham.

    Only Giggs has achieved more.

  • Comment number 89.

    freddawlanen: I'm in no doubt it is loyalty and not a lack of ambition. You can either think "well I've won everything I can here, it's time to move on" or "I love this club and want to do it all over again". Ronaldo chose option one whereas Giggs chose the second. Both are probably still as close to guaranteed more medals as a footballer can get these days. Just because he is on a very good wage for a footballer he could have easily improved it by joining another massive club abroad earlier in his career, or maybe even still right now. It's quite clear that money isn't what motivates Ryan Giggs anyway, I think everyone can agree on that.

  • Comment number 90.

    Ryan Giggs is indeed a fantastic player, and it's amazing that he's kept his performances so consistent over a span of 20 years.

    However, the main thing that I respect him for strangely, is his off-pitch manner. He is the consumate professional, just like Alan Shearer was in his playing days. He just gets on and does what he's paid for.

    In my opinion, if he had chosen to play for England instead of Wales, he would have been far more widely-recognised. It's extremely rare for an all-round class act such as Giggs to come along.

  • Comment number 91.

    Well,Giggs is a great player,but let's see if he can keep his form until January.In my opinion MUtd. depends more on Rooney form than any other player in it Giggs or Scholes...
    I don't like this stance...'post Ronaldo',now you can see CRonaldo at Real Madrid,he his just one more player in the team.Only Kaka has a special status in Real Madrid,he his the playmaker.CRonaldo was overrated,ovrhyped in his MUnited days...Rooney,Giggs,Vidic doing the work...and the potuguese player allways getting the the media is,was responsible for this to happen...
    As for Nani he should be on loan(I don't think he his good enough to play for MUtd first team) he was a very expensive signing.
    MUtd sold Richardson for no more then 5 millions and bought Nani for around 20 millions,but they are both on the same level...maybe only Ferguson and Carlos Queiros could explain the reasons behind this unlucky deal...

  • Comment number 92.

    Greatest Welsh player?
    Many on here have claimed so, but what about Ivor Allchurch or John Charles?
    IMO, he's third behind the two of them.

    Best Utd player?
    He's not even the best left sided player, he's very good, but a distance behind Best.

    Now that sounds just a little mean spirited.

    Nobody will ever be better than Best, simply because he's romanticized beyond his achievements as a player by a certain age group who had twenty odd years to look back at a golden age of Manchester United when they were successful. Many, more objective people see him as one of the biggest wastes of talent in the history of football.

    Don't get me wrong, Best was a great, explosive player. But it's possible to argue that Giggs, having spent nearly 20 years ensuring United domination of domestic football (and two European Cups), while providing a fitting role-model to young footballers everywhere, has contributed more.

  • Comment number 93.

    Great to see the admiration for Ryan Giggs from so many quarters. What do United fans think of Antonio Valencia's contribution in his brief United career? Clearly talented but yet to flourish. Had one great chance and wasted it yesterday.

    And what about Nani? Lots of chat about his performance after the game yesterday. Am I being generous in suggesting there IS a good player in there trying to get out? It was quite pointed that Sir Alex Ferguson hauled him off immediately after he had wasted yet another promising attacking position by crossing straight into Thomas Sorensen's hands. What's your verdict? Will he ever fulfil his potential?

  • Comment number 94.

    Nani will fulfil his potential eventually. He's a young player and therefore inconsistent. The raw talent is definitely there though. He tries too hard. He needs to stop trying to be a superstar and do the simple things right first.

    I can't think of a better example for him than Ryan Giggs. Maybe they should get together on the training field and Giggs can try and impart some of his footballing knowledge to him? How in football, what is subtle can also be devastating.

    Valencia is a different case though. For me, he hasn't shown enough yet to prove himself as a United player. It's very much early days though. Don't expect to see the best from him until at least next season. Then we might be in a better position to judge.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    Phil, your comments often are more interesting and insightful than your blogs, as this one ramlbed on quite a bit, when it was really all wrapped in inside of the third paragraph. Perhaps you should open up for comments before writing the blog?
    I believe the big story yesterday, if you were at the United game, was improvement in United early in the season. They took on Stoke last year with all their glitterati on show and could only win late on. It strikes my that despite my expectations that they would be a worse team this year, and in particular might struggle without Ronaldos goals, against weaker opposition, they are in fact a better team and have no problem scoring, with better goal difference than Chelsea.
    Reliance on the Old Guard, of Scholes and Giggs, is a non-starter of an argument, as Scholes has not been a ever present starter and Giggs has mostly played cameos.
    My only hope as a Liverpool fan, is that they will struggle against quality opposition...but they have beaten Arsenal and City already this year, so its a slim hope. Or....maybe they will get tired....being so old...or maybe we will just have to win every game between now and the end of the season and earn the premiership title!

  • Comment number 97.

    ShadyLadyinred (comment 11) You obviously have not read this article or you do not understand it. This article talks about the career of Ryan Giggs, the trophies he has won and also the desire he still has to carry on achieving at the highest level.

    He came off the bench yesterday and changed the game, making 2 goals, not 'just making a 10 yard pass' as you put it. I agree Fernando Torres is one of the best players in the world but scoring a hat trick against a team who gave one of the worst defensive performances I have ever seen does not warrant a great deal of column inches.

    Maybe your argument would have been valid if Torres had achieved even a quarter of what Giggs has achieved. Ryan Giggs is a legend, a role model for any young footballer and a total professional. When he eventually retires he will definitely go down as one of the greats at Manchester United and one the greatest players the Premiership has ever seen.

  • Comment number 98.

    Phil -well done a good read - I would add my support to that of others who suggest Ryan Giggs should receive a knighthood whilst he is still playing, it would not be OTT and would send a powerful message about the importance of maintaining excellent (untainted) professional and personal standards of behaviour and sporting success.
    I don't think Man Utd are relying too much on Giggs or Scholes, quite the opposite, the younger players coming through have the benefit of playing with and observing the two 'mastercraftsmen' at work; also SAF can measure the progression of the youngsters against the 'benchmarks' set by these two. In fact the 'blend ' of old and new' at OT was seen to great effect on Wednesday when the 'old head' of Michael Owen played in the 'younger legs' of Danny Welbeck for the goal - post CR and Tevez, Man Utd are doing fine thank you very much!
    The only worrying aspect is Nani, although he has undoubted talent he cannot seem to make the right decisions about, crossing, passing, shooting or taking on the extra opponent - this would not be so bad if we could see he learns from his mistakes, but unfortunately he is not showing this ability either, making the same errors of judgement as he did last season. After Giggs displays on Sunday and yesterday, you have to feel for Nani, he has just emerged from under the shadow of Cristiano who (I think is younger than him) and he is now being overshadowed again, this time by someone older than him - tough situation he finds himself in!.

  • Comment number 99.


    that's what i'm saying. ok two of those fixtures were at home, but away to Spurs is a pretty good gauge. why is it now Stoke away?
    i've said nothing United's win yesterday. it's a good 3 points, but my question still is why has Stoke suddenly been made a gauge for the Prem?


    my favoured team in league 1 is Yeovil Town. my tip for the League 1 title is Leeds. that doesn't mean i automatically support or like Leeds.

    the alex article you mention still put alic as the grand master and Hughes the pretender to the throne.
    it said that if he was making comments about City then City should be grateful. not that he may, just may have been genuinely worried and it was showing. he is always shown in a positive light and it's not always an accurate portrayal.

  • Comment number 100.

    I think it is still very early to judge Nani. At the moment, he is not performing well, however he is still very young and inexperienced.

    Consider this: From what I've seen, he carries the ball too long, tries to go alone to often, is guilty of overplaying and looking for the glory goal/ball, and is more style than substance.

    Does that remind you of any other young Portugese player at the start of his United career?

    I'm not for one second suggesting that Nani will develop into the player Ronaldo has become, but it's worth giving him more time to find out.

    Of course, as a Liverpool fan I'm desperately hoping what we're seeing now is all we're going to see from him!


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