I’ve had to put the English in just in case Ryan reads it, he won’t understand Welsh.
So Giggs is 40 today. Everybody trip over each other and bow down at the hairy ones’ feet and shower him with plaudits of how great he is, how much of a role model he is, how he is the ultimate pro and how he has won so much and has more silverware in his house than Buckingham Palace and his awful beard put together.
If any readers of this article are familiar with the 5 live lunchtime phenomena that is Fighting Talk, this article would be perfect for the ‘Defend the Indefensible’ round. Why Ryan Giggs shouldn’t be as lauded or celebrated as much as he is, is because he is a serial cheat, ruined his brothers marriage and did Wales a national disservice by dropping out of matches regularly because of his famous hamstring injuries, only to be seen tearing down the wing for Manchester United days later. I always thought nah they must have put Rhodri in, but sure enough it was the charlatan that is Ryan Giggs. Charlatan by the way is an excellent adjective for Ryan Giggs, off the back of a number of things he has done in his lifetime, and dropping out of numerous Welsh squads is just one of them.
It is kind of ironic that a milkman spotted Giggs playing football, and started talking to his mum about playing for the local side Deans youth as Giggs recently has sort of adopted the metaphorical milkman role when it comes to the ladies (google Natasha Giggs, Rhodri Giggs and Imogen Thomas for more information). Even from an early age, his ability to drift past players at speed and with an incredible balance was obvious - traits which he probably inherited from his father, who was a rugby league player. These traits were not the only obvious ones from the start, so were his winning drive. He won an Under-16′s regional schools final at the age 14, and this drive stayed with him throughout his career (to an extent). He racked up 168 goals in 953 games, 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 4 League Cups and 2 Champions League trophies, not to mention his recent exploit of 3 assists in United’s 5-0 Champions League triumph away to Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen. It is easy to see why he is regarded so highly in football. The above stats back that up. But for me, I will always have a bit of a bitter and vexed opinion of Giggs because of the contemptuous attitude he gave to the principality, his nation of birth, his heritage, Wales. It is nothing short of a disgrace.
The Celtic nations, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are all incredibly passionate and proud of their heritage. The honour of playing sport for your home nation is one that is acknowledged as one of, if not the most bestowed and privileged accolade that an athlete can obtain, and for Giggs to dismiss Wales and the Welsh national team is simply disgusting.
He has been a pro footballer for 23 years – 16 years of which he spent as an ‘international footballer’. In 16 years, he racked up 64 caps - an impressive average of 4 caps a year. To further put it into context, Giggs has played more times in the FA cup than what he has for Wales. His debut was in 1991 in a friendly, it took him nine years to find the time and fitness to pull on the Welsh shirt for another friendly. In the meantime, he was too busy doing ridiculous celebrations with Paul Ince and Lee Sharpe.
To draw some sort of comparison and put Giggs’ failings towards his country into context, David Beckham achieved 115 caps for England, Micheal Owen 89 (in 10 years). More accurately perhaps, we should compare Giggs’ efforts alongside fellow Welshmen. He isn’t even in the top 10 capped players for Wales. Given that he had 16 years as an international, that is farcical. He was playing in a Welsh team that got as close to a major tournament than it had ever done since 1958. He should have had way more than 64 caps. Neville Southall won 92 caps, Gary Speed (RIP) 85 caps, Craig Bellamy (78). Chris Gunter, who is 24, already has 51 caps, Simon Davies obtained 58 caps in 9 years, Hartson 51 in 10 years, Bale has already amassed 43 caps at the age of 24 and Aaron Ramsey already has 30 caps at the age of 22.
Giggs is a disgrace in his personal life and a disgrace to Wales. A country whose people have so much passion, pride and support for the national sporting sides don’t deserve to be treated with such contempt like Ryan Giggs has treated them. Part of me wishes he had have been eligible and gone and played for England. Maybe then the likes of Paul Parry would have flourished more at international level. For someone with so much talent, Giggs really did do Wales more harm than good. I have more time for the less talented individuals who gave such passion and commitment to the Welsh national side than Giggs ever did. Gabbidon, Speed, Bellamy, Ledley, Gunter, Melville - those guys all mean more to me than Giggs ever will. Yet Giggs had the audacity not to sing the national anthem for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games because he was a proud Welshman. Who are you kidding, Ryan? You are a man in denial and suffering from an identity crisis. A Manchester United legend you may be, but a Welsh great? Not a chance. Giggs doesn’t deserve to be bracketed in the same class as Neville Southall, Gary Speed, Ian Rush, Dean Saunders, John Hartson and many others. He’s not even deserving of being bracketed in the same class as Bale and Ramsey, who will do so much more for Wales than Giggs ever did.
Happy Birthday Ryan.
By Peter Poonia
Do you agree with Pete’s view on Ryan Giggs? Is he a legend or is the praise he’s receiving unmerited? Please feel free to leave your comments and Pete will respond. Alternatively, comment by following us on Twitter @capsnbovril or ‘like’ our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/flatcapsnbovril .