Friday, November 24, 2006
Superstar is born
In 1994, the BBC described Giggs as "one of the most photographed persons" in Great Britain. Giggs or "Giggsy" as he was known, was also hailed as one of the FA Premier League's biggest stars and could often be found as the picturebook merchandising icon of the league's early years. He (along with Jamie Redknapp and Lee Sharpe) was part of the league's attempt to market itself globally, reforging its image after the hooliganism affected years of the 1980s.Giggs turned professional in November 1990 and made his League debut against Everton F.C. at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991, as a substitute for Denis Irwin. In his first full start, Giggs scored his first ever goal in a 1-0 win in the Manchester derby. He collected his first piece of silverware in April 1992 as United defeated Nottingham Forest in the League Cup Final, after Giggs had set up Brian McClair to score the only goal of the game.
By the start of the 1992-93 season - the first season of the newly-formed FA Premier League, Giggs made the left-wing position at United his own, and became known as one of British football's most prodigious young players. His emergence, and the arrival of Éric Cantona (who later claimed that he had a telepathic understanding with/of Giggs) heralded the dominance of United in the new Premier League.His ability to consistently dribble past opposing players by using his own exceptional balance, pace, and skill to beat players he ran at became the most noticeable aspect of his game. Giggs was also renowned for pre-meditating celebrations with team-mates, such as Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis. He was afforded many opportunities which were not normally offered to footballers at his young age, such as hosting his own television show, Ryan Giggs' Soccer Skills, which was a hit with ITV and Granada in 1994.Ryan Giggs chants often heard from the fans during the Manchester United games include:"Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, Running down the wing, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, Can do anything, Feared by the Blues, Loved by the Reds, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs."and:"Giggs, Giggs will tear you apart, again"the latter adapted from the enduringly popular Joy Division song, 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.His goals were constantly on shortlists for Goal of the Season and tended to be memorable, particularly the ones against Queens Park Rangers F.C. in 1993, Tottenham Hotspur F.C. in 1994, Everton F.C. in 1995, Coventry City F.C. in 1996, and the most remarkable of all, his amazing solo-goal against Arsenal F.C. in the replay of the 1999 FA Cup semi-final. During extra time, Giggs picked up possession just after Patrick Vieira had given the ball away, then ran away from the half-way line, dribbling past the whole Arsenal backline, including Tony Adams and Martin Keown before launching his left-footed strike just under David Seaman's bar and beyond him. It has been hailed as one of the best goals ever scored in the competition.
By the late 1990s, with the retirement of Cantona and the emergence of Giggs's fellow fledgling young colleagues like David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Philip Neville and Nicky Butt, Giggs's popularity and fame gradually dissipated. However, his football skill was still marked genius, and he developed into a more mature senior player by the time United won their record breaking and unprecedented "Treble" in 1999. This achievement aided by Giggs's form and key contributions in several tournaments. Memorable was his extra-time goal in the FA Cup semi-final against arch-rivals Arsenal (see above) to give United a 2-1 win, and his 90th minute equalizer in the home leg of the Champions League semi-final against Juventus F.C..Giggs set up the equalising goal scored by Teddy Sheringham in the UEFA Champions League Final that set United on their way to the treble. Giggs was also the man of the match as United beat Palmeiras to claim the Intercontinental Cup that year. He has been considered a Manchester United 'Legend'.In November 2003, Giggs was mentioned in an episode of The Simpsons, entitled "The Regina Monologues", which takes place in England. In response to Marge complaining that Homer punched out three people on the street, Homer replies, "That was over soccer results. Can you believe they gave Giggs a yellow card in the box?!"