Lord Of The Wing

“The first time I saw Giggsy, he was playing for Salford Boys against United’s apprentices. He was thin and wiry but he just glided past four of our apprentices as if they weren’t even there, then he put the ball in the back of the net. I just thought ‘This kid’s an absolute natural’” – Bryan Robson

John O’Shea’s beautiful chip over Manuel Almunia in the 2005 EPL fixture at Highbury between Arsenal and Man Utd marked the end of an incredible 7 Year rivalry between both teams. The match ended 4-2 with Man Utd getting all 3 points on that occasion. The departures of both skippers, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, later that year left both teams bereft of any intimidatory presence in the midfield and subsequently the rivalry was almost inactive with Man Utd largely dominant since then.

During those 7 years, fixtures between both teams were characterized by supreme competition, a bountiful supply of dramatic and heart-stopping moments and great entertainment especially for the neutrals. Highlights of those glorious 7 years include David Platt’s late, looping winner for Arsenal in 1997 (This goal actually sparked up the rivalry), Dwight Yorke’s hat-trick at Old Trafford in a 6-1 trashing, Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s magnificent solo goal in 2003. Thierry Henry’s majestic (and I mean MAJESTIC) flick and volley over Fabien Barthez at Highbury, Barthez’ (again) double error and gift to Henry at Highbury, Sylvain Wiltord’s winner at Old Trafford in 2001/2002, the Martin Keown-led baiting of Van Nistelrooy by The Invincibles. Multiple clashes between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira AND…. Ryan Giggs’ mesmeric FA Cup semi-final extra-time winner in 1999 which birthed the phrase “Giggs: Tearing You Apart Since 99”.

Ah! That match, hearts were broken, mended and re-broken. The first match had ended goal-less which resulted in a replay a few days  later. Dennis Bergkamp equalized for the Gunners in the 69th minute after David Beckham had opened the scoring for the Red Devils in the first half. Both excellent goals. Captain Roy Keane was sent off after he received a second yellow card and Man Utd was left to play with 10 men for the remaining match. With a few minutes remaining Anelka slotted in a goal from close range after Peter Schmeichel failed to hold on to a Dennis Bergkamp shot. The stadium erupted. The teenage Anelka ran to the fans and celebrated with them,the rest of his teammates and Wenger joining in immediately. The celebration lasted for about 10seconds and after the Arsenal players were done celebrating they turned around and saw the Man Utd players smiling and pointing to the linesman. The goal had been ruled offside and (of course) disallowed. After the (usual) confrontation with the linesman and the Ref, play resumed. With few seconds of the regular 90minutes left it happened…. Phil Neville brought down Ray Parlour in the penalty box and the ref pointed to the spot. This was one  of the rare moments in football, nobody protested the penalty. I mean, the Uruguayans even protested the Penalty at the 2010 WorldCup after Luiz Suarez pulled a “HandS Of God” move. The Arsenal fans and players held their breath as Dennis Bergkamp picked the ball up, placed the ball on the PK spot, took a few steps back, ran forward and kicked the ball…. (At this moment I’ll just like to say my Birthday is on the 24th of next month and imma be expecting gifts yo, not just shout-outs on twitter)…. And Peter Schmeichel saved it. it just seemed impossible to get another goal past the great Dane. Phil Neville immediately ran to him and said “Thank You”. Extra-Time. Arsenal optimistically continued to press forward. They believed it was just a matter of time before Utd’s 10 men broke. Second half, and Patrick Vieira who was with the ball in the center of the pitch gave a wrong pass to his right which was picked up by Mr. Ryan Joseph Giggs, and he immediately got possessed by a demon called Untanglodis, the same spirit responsible for entagling your earpiece when it’s left in your pocket. As he picked up the ball Dwight Yorke moved to the left of the pitch and Paul Scholes ran to the penalty box, both with the intention of creating options for Ryan Giggs who was already doing some damage but that’s the thing about Untanglodis, its evil and very focused. Its main aim, to single-handedly cause pain and that was exactly what Giggs did. He dribbled past Vieira and the entire Arsenal defense that included Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and in my opinion the best English center-back in the last two decades, Tony Adams, before striking the ball with his left foot beyond the reach of David Seaman into the roof of the net.

It was 11-seconds of pure brilliance. Ryan Giggs pulled his shirt (revealing his extremely hairy chest… uggh) and celebrated. The fans ran wild. Some ran onto the pitch to celebrate. Man Utd assistant manager, Steve McLaren, stood still in shock. Emotionless. He obviously couldn’t believe it. An amazing goal that eventually got voted as the greatest goal in FA Cup history. It was at that moment that Giggs cemented his place as arguably the best Left winger to ever play the beautiful game. Tireless runs, the ability to create goal opportunities, beautiful crosses, great ease with turning right-backs inside out, great leadership on and off the pitch. A few qualities the Welsh man possesses. Listing his awards and achievements would be both mind-blowing and a bit of a bore because it goes on and on and on. From his record of 271 EPL assists to his “Greatest Player in EPL History” award to his record of 900+ appearances (with no red-cards) for Man Utd. Truly, the man is an amazing being. With no plan to retire just yet he will continue to create/smash records and when he does decided to call it a day one can only assume Wikepedia.org will have to create a separate page for his list of awards and records set.

“This is embarrassing to say but I have cried twice in my life watching a football player. The first one was Maradona and the second was Ryan Giggs.” – Alessandro Del Piero

    • REDD
    • July 23rd, 2012

    I cried that day……really heartbreaking, true Legend!!!

    • trafels
    • July 23rd, 2012

    The Welsh Wizard … On & off the pitch (u dig?)

  1. U know that feeling u get when blood floods ur cheeks and u feel a tingling sensation in ur eyes…. And slowly a drop of… Oh shit! I just shed a tear…. Giggsy truly is the best in EPL history!

    • Conjinus
    • July 23rd, 2012

    Dis guy is a maestro On d pitch nd On d bed….smashin records and Bitches…he is eva green….I hope we find a perfect replacement &he retires soon…#Utd 4 lyf

    • omo_phineboi
    • July 23rd, 2012

    Truly “Lord Of The Wing”…. *sniffs*…*tear drop*

    • sholly
    • July 23rd, 2012

    That match ended the era of tough 90’s english football.who remembers giggs’ chest hair? I know I don’t want to 😀

    • KareemXCIII
    • July 23rd, 2012

    RYAN GIGGS! LEGEND!!!!!!!! Incredible professional. I’m crying right now. Retire that No. 11 shirt please.

  2. That day, everyone went crazy in my crib. I wasn’t even interested in football at the time cos I was gay and all…but watching him dribble past an entire field of players and slam dunk that ball behind the goalie was absolutely amazing.

    Giggs is a Legend no doubt.

    Also, I like the way you slipped your birthday at the ante-climax. Awesome technique. I shall adopt this method.

    Great post faggit.

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