Ryan Giggs: I cried after my last game
Published 05/06/2014 | 07:37
Ryan Giggs burst into tears in his car after the final game of his spell as Manchester United’s interim manager as he feared that he had been involved in his last game for the club he joined as a teenager.
He has since been told that he will remain part of the management team as Louis van Gaal, United’s new manager, has agreed to make him his assistant, much to the delight of the Wales international who was devastated at the prospect of leaving the club who have dominated his life.
Giggs was put in charge of United’s team for four Premier League games at the end of last season following the sacking of David Moyes, but he feared that he would not be kept on when the board appointed a permanent manager who may want his own coaching staff.
Having signed for United in 1987 and going on to make a record 963 appearances for the club, the thought that his first taste of management would be followed by his enforced departure from Old Trafford caused Giggs to lose control of his emotions as he struggled to hide his tears from team-mates and friends after they flew back to Manchester after the final game of the season, a 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Giggs said: “I was saying goodbye to the players, thanking them. Potentially saying goodbye to a lot of the players for the last time, a bit of the staff and I’m not emotional, at least I didn’t think I was.
“My car was parked right outside and I thought I need to get in my car here. I could feel myself getting emotional. So I get in my car and I just went, started crying, getting really emotional. It was a mixture of saying goodbye to people for maybe the last time and the pressure that I put myself under.
“Sounds stupid now. I come out of the airport and at the lights Nicky Butt pulls up next to me and I’m thinking f------ hell, I can’t let Butty know I’ve just been crying.”
Giggs says he hit it off straight away with Van Gaal when they met to discuss the assistant manager’s position at United. “I met Louis and the meeting went really well,” Giggs said. “I liked him instantly and I’m looking forward to working with him and learning from him.”
Speaking for the first time about his experience as a manager and the circumstances that led to his appointment, Giggs also revealed that he wished he had retired as a player at the end of the 2012-13 campaign following United’s 20th title triumph.
He could have stopped playing at the same moment Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s most successful manager, stepped down, but he became a player-coach under Moyes and endured the chastising experience of playing in a poor United side for the first time.
“It’s been a difficult year playing-wise, not enjoyed the results and playing so, have I contributed ...” he says at the start of a ITV documentary, Life Of Ryan: Caretaker Manager. “If I’d retired last year I’d have gone out on a high, you know, it was the 20th title and everything would have been rosy, but life isn’t like that.
“I think Manchester United symbolises, for me, the bedrock of my life. It’s been there since I was 13. I learnt so much, you know, winning, never giving up.”
The revelations are made in the documentary to be shown on ITV at 9pm on Thursday, which chronicles the dramatic final few weeks of a traumatic season at Old Trafford, which saw the club fall into a rapid decline following the retirement of Ferguson.
Giggs is shown struggling with the highs and lows of management, flanked by other members of the Class of 92 side, his former United team-mates and close friends Paul Scholes, Butt and Phil Neville.
As well as the joy of winning his first game as a manager at home against Norwich City, Giggs also gives a glimpse of his tougher side, which many believe will serve him well in the future, following a shock home defeat against Sunderland in April.
“I was really, really down after that game, you know that won’t happen again,” Giggs said, reflecting on his first defeat. “I picked a team that I thought could win the game, and I trusted the players, but some of the players let me down and let themselves down. Maybe I was a little bit too soft.
“If you step onto that pitch as a United player, you give it your all, and if you don’t, then you deserve not to play the next game.”