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Ryan in wait

Robbo Robson | 12:14 UK time, Monday, 16 February 2009

It's been a hard few months watching Man United, hasn't it? They're on a brilliant run but I'm a bit gobsmacked as to why most commentators are purring about their excellence whereas George Graham's Arsenal won the title by being plain dull.

Hansen always treats a good bit of positioning by any centre-half like it was painted by blinking Rembrandt, but this time everyone else has just been banging on like Fergie's Flinty Back Four are the Rolls Royce of defenders. Even I get accused of being part of the OT love-in.

Let's be straight about it. The Blue Bell's chants of "Boring Boring Man-U!" felt a bit forced, I'll grant you, but there's no doubt that it's Vidic and Ferdinand who have created this run. I'm a little tired of praying for a Moses to part this Red Sea. (In fact Remi would have fitted in nicely).

Still, they can show a bit going forward when they need to. None more so than this jinking little whippersnapper Giggs. I dunno what job this bloke is going to walk into behind the scenes at the 'Theatre of Dreams' but he'll deserve it.

Incidentally, where do you get off with this 'Theatre of Dreams' nonsense? It's a fine stadium but let's not get all Catherine Cookson about it. Everton have got this 'School of Science' thing 'n' all.

I can imagine Phil Neville nudging someone off the ball with the aid of a lit Bunsen burner, but it's all a bit much. Mind, if OT is the 'Theatre of Dreams' then what's the Riverside? The 'Empty Barn of Destiny'?

It's hard to believe it's 18 years since Giggs first trotted out, looking for all the world like a foal running on its hind legs. People raved about him then but I wasn't sure.

giggs446.jpg

He had that running with your head down thing that SWP has that makes them look like they're trying to sneak past a tyrant of a deputy head without him noticing. Also his delivery was about as good as the Royal Mail's in snow.

Then there was the Wales thing. He represented England at schoolboy level and then dumped us for Wales as a 'grown-up'. Some say it was to hack off his dad, but it's just hacked off the rest of us.

All the more so cos we Englanders have been watching muppet after muppet cutting inside from a wide left position while the best left-winger in the country withers on the Welsh vine.

I know that sounds right cocky coming from an Englishman but if they decided to put a GB team together now it'd still be England plus Giggs (sorry Scotland but James McFadden wouldn't squeeze in there). Just as the Lions rugby team should be Wales plus O'Driscoll.

I was beginning to think the Glasgow Beetroot was getting sentimental in his old age when he kept Ryan on the books. It seemed that Fergie wanted him up there with Sir Bobby before he finally gave him the heave-ho.

I'm sure Giggsy'll be doing the ads for what can be achieved by fit old men if they eat the right stuff soon enough. But that's like looking for a tear in the eye of a Great White shark.

Whatever else the man is, he's no mug and Giggs has, from being a wide left player who's pace isn't quite what it was, turned himself into a midfield stroller with a trick or two.
It's 10 years since that goal, where he ran past the legendary back four of Arsenal - which given they had a combined age of 328, was a bit like outrunning the queue at a Bingo Hall - and rammed it above Seaman's bouffanted head.

It's 10 years since that celebration where the lad proved that he was all man now by running, shirtless, along the touchline like some fast-moving brillo pad.

He never looked like a lad who'd turn himself into summat new when his speed went, but he has. The best footballers do, mind you. And Fergie's deployed him craftily, and while Ronaldo's luminous boots twinkle away like a pair of gaudy ear-rings, Ryan keeps the team ticking over and clearly is a massive influence over the new boys who looked so damn good against Derby.

If Fergie gets one over most of the other bosses in the Premier League it's cos of the way he brings the youngsters through rather than just acquiring expensive mercenaries.

They'll be ready to offload the gelled tumbler in the summer. Is it me or have his prancing histrionics reached new levels of prissiness this season?

Trouble is, last season they couldn't do without him and this year he looks like the fairy on top of an already well decorated Christmas tree. Real Madrid, prepare your finance department.

Still, even with wily old souls like Giggs and Scholes, they can't win the lot. Can they? The wheels have got to come off somewhere and while I can't see them not winning the Carling Cup, or the Premier League - and although the Boro will lift the FA Cup, there is one man who we can all look to to stop the bandwagon.

Mr Mourinho. I look forward to a sneering, niggly, grim and gritty Inter Milan wresting the Champs League away from Fergie.

In fact, although there are a lot of cracking fixtures scheduled for Europe, nothing quite compares with the thought of Jose stomping back along the touchline at the 'Theatre of Dreams' - now I've wrote it again, it sounds more like a bed shop, doesn't it? - and celebrating another last-ditch away goal winner - possibly even from a Vieira toe-poke - to put them out.

And if that happens I won't be too sorry for Giggs. He won't be looking for work. I just hope he doesn't join the couches of TV studios up and down the country. He's a lovely lad but he's not exactly lively off the pitch. Which is another reason why we like the bloke.

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