Giggs takes centre-stage as Man Utd salute old-timers
After 23 seasons in a red shirt, Ryan Giggs could play at Old Trafford for the final time tonight
IT WASN’T so long ago that a Premier League climax without Manchester United would have been unthinkable. But as Manchester City and Liverpool prepare to take the title to the wire on Sunday, United will be mere spectators in what has been their most disastrous season in modern history.
Currently seventh, 21 points behind leaders Liverpool, United host Hull City this evening in the last match of the season at Old Trafford. After Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland – the first time the Black Cats have won in Manchester since 1968 – the United faithful will be praying tonight passes off without a hitch in what will be the swansong for at least one senior player.
Club captain Nemanja Vidic will be making his final appearance for United before joining Inter Milan on a free transfer but there’s speculation that Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand could also be turning out for the last time at Old Trafford after long and illustrious careers.
The 32-year-old Vidic has spent eight years at Old Trafford, winning five Premier League titles, a Champions League crown and three League Cups, and he acknowledged the debt he owes the club during a press conference on Monday. “I have learned a lot, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well,” said the Vidic, who joined from Spartak Moscow in January 2006. "Manchester United make you feel part of the family. I have developed as a man at this club, it has been a great experience for me and my family. I have nothing to regret.”
Yet Vidic’s United career, impressive as it is, pales into insignificance when set alongside the contribution of Ryan Giggs. The 40-year-old Welshman, who took over as interim manager following the sacking of David Moyes last month, could be set to make his final appearance for United 23 seasons after he first graced the Old Trafford turf.
It’s believed Giggs will name himself in the squad for the visit of Hull, although he refused to deny or confirm the speculation on Monday. "I want to do what's best to win the game and not just make room for me in the starting line-up or on the bench, which I won't do,” said Giggs, who has scored in every Premier League campaign since 1992 except the current one.
Asked if he believed in fairy tales, Giggs laughed off the idea that one could be in store for the Old Trafford fans on Tuesday evening. “Of course, the perfect scenario is me coming on and scoring a goal, the winning goal,” he said. “But it doesn't always work like that. We'll have to wait and see what happens on the night."
According to the Guardian, even if Giggs does play his last game for United tonight he’ll be around next season if, as expected, Louis van Gaal is appointed full-time manager. The paper claims that the Dutchman will offer Giggs “a senior position on his coaching staff” rather than appoint Patrick Kluivert, who has been assisting van Gaal as manager of the Dutch national team. It had been reported that Giggs would decline any job offer from van Gaal if had been merely a token one, but the Guardian says he “appears likely to accept what will be a high-ranking position”.