(*Now with updated first link…)
As a Gooner, the hardest goal to take being scored against my beloved Arsenal will probably always be this one.
It’s not so much that my United supporting friends would bring it up for years to come, or even that it came moments after Dennis Bergkamp missed a penalty – although my love of Bergkamp did make it particularly hard to swallow. No, the reason it will always hurt is because as a young wannabe pro-footballer Giggs was my idol.
It’s not even particularly hard for me to say that as a Gooner. He was a left-footed winger in the classic style of wingers, and that goal was the sort of goal I dreamed about scoring. The importance of it, the style of it, and the way it looked so effortless; all things that a kid of sixteen years would want to do in a sport he adored.
“Keep an eye of Ryan Giggs, Kev”
My dad told me that as a boy of eight or nine, roughly two years after the welshman’s 1991 debut.
“He’s the player you want to keep an eye on. See how he finds space, always moves, intelligently uses the ball…”
And I did watch him. Despite my love of Arsenal, I watched him right up to the point that I decided I could no longer realistically want to be a professional footballer. I watched him when I decided I wanted to write for a living instead, and I watched him right throughout my late teens, and early twenties at university.
I still watch him now of course, and that I can is a testament to a man who has never accidentally shot a colleague with an air rifle, or obviously gone out to elbow someone in the head, and somehow get away with it (yes, I mean Wayne Rooney). What has he done? Well, he’s stayed in great physical condition, and continues to pose a threat and ‘do a job’. He’s never really courted celebrity (apart from some odd Fujifilm and Quorn adverts…but anyway…).
Not only that, but in appearing during the defeat against Chelsea – which I hugely enjoyed, for obvious reasons – he equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of appearances for United. That doesn’t alone make him a footballing legend. But, that he’s achieved such a long and rewarding career in all those appearances might. And that I still rate him as one of my favourite ever non-Arsenal players in spite of scoring ‘that goal’, probably does.
In my book, anyway.
p.S: For more Giggs check this: