Thursday, November 13, 2008

SPOTY Ryan Giggs – fourturntables

Ryan Joseph Giggs has had a great year. In the last 12 months he has won the Premier League for the tenth time, the European Cup for a second time and surpassed Bobby Charlton's appearance record for Manchester United.

That makes him the most successful player in the history of the English League and the longest-serving player at perhaps the greatest club side in the world – and if that's not enough reason to give him sports personality of the year, there's another reason. He should win it because he hasn't, and we're running out of time.

Michael Owen's won it, David Beckham's won it, Paul Gascoigne's won it. None have a record anything like as good as Giggs'.

The trouble with Giggs is people have forgotten about him. Not just what he was, but what he still offers. This year, while 'past his prime' Giggs scored the goal that secured his and Manchester United's tenth (yes, tenth) Premier League as well as the winning penalty in the Champions League final.

Last year Joe Calzaghe won after a fight that capped 10 year as a world champion. Giggs has been at Manchester United longer, he first played for United in 1991, when John Major was prime minister. For close to two decades one of the finest managers ever has not been able to replace Giggs. Despite the riches of god and a global scouting network.

He has risen to every challenge the best team of the age could throw at him. He has played and scored in every single Premier League season. Ever. And scored in the last 13 seasons in the Champions Leage. That's not getting by, that's excelling.

He now has more titles than all but three clubs in England, and United only had seven before he arrived. Then there are the four FA Cups, two League Cups, six Charity Shields, two European Cups, a Uefa Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. Giggs won his first title before the Premier League began. Now read that again so I don't have to repeat it.

But he won't win it, because we've become accustomed to his excellence. So take a moment with me. Forget the balding central midfielder and remember the man that was. Sharp emblazoned on his chest, hair flying and the rest of the game struggling to catch up.

Remember the winger who left a thousand defenders on their arses and a hundred goalkeepers grasping at air, and that goal – so instrumental in the treble. And that year David Gional won player of the year.

How good is he? It's not for me to say, but if you ever question whether he has a right to win the award – remember the words "it's a wonderful run from Giggs" and then try and claim there's someone more deserving than the most successful player in the history of our most popular sport who is running out of time to receive the recognition that is his right.


Mouth of the Mersey said...

Great declaiming stuff and hits the brief right on the head.

Over at Big Blogger, Blogger B is hopeless and wrong, Blogger C is good (and a worthy choice for the award) and Blogger A sounds like some mouthy bloke.

I'd have this ahead of all three - bad luck Ebren.

MotM said...

It is you isn't it Ebren?

Ebren said...

I thought I detected a certain voice in A. B was annoying, C was preachy. I mean, a Kippling quote? Seriously? Oh well.

Ebren said...

it was me - yes. I thought I'd use the handle that I would on GU

Ebren said...

I've got another of these through - but it's on my home PC, I'll put it up when I get back to my flat.

donwendyagain said...

Sorry ebren, not buying this at all. Giggs is at least 2 years past his best and while he was in on the spotlight moments his contribution to the double was average at best.

Ebren said...

Don - he's had a landmark year. And deserves recognition. If his name was no the shortlist he'd have a good shout at winning. Also, Calzaghe won it last year for less.

ElSell said...

Told you i wouldnt win Ebren :)
Its a conspiracy i tells ya
conspiracy against the illiterate!

Nice post; but cannot agree, I have always thought that Giggs was a good player, sometimes a very good player, but if enough people say good for long enough about something it becomes great.
Eg: Any decent film you have seen in last 10 years that was built up way too much!


andrewm said...

Ebren, all I'd say on Calzaghe is that was arguably his greatest victory, if not performance. He won when at or very very near his peak.

In general, though, I can't disagree with you at all - and very well written too.

ElSell said...

Or maybe its a conspiracy by the illiterate ;)

Either way the man is keeping me down!

im pretty sure that eg should be an ie..
Thats the problem with being a murderoflanguage, you cannot throw as many stones, pointy or otherwise.
I feel what goes up here in the next few days might get as many if not more readers as the champions.

If anyone asks; im good at sums!

andrewm said...

The standard of GU's selections for BB this year has really been poor, I think. I felt last time there were two or three that sat comfortably alongside the pro's (I'm not talking about the many I enjoyed on Pseuds). This time around I think the winners have been quite a few levels below the best GU writers, with the possible exception of Blogger C this week.

Mouth, I can't believe you haven't written something far better than those?

donwendyagain said...

He has had a landmark year and deserves recognition but SPOTY is not the apropriate award as he just hasnt been that good this year. You cant give him the award just because he should have won it a few years ago. Its a well written piece and dont get me wrong Giggs is one of my favourite players. I just dont think he deserves SPOTY this year. As you will see whn my effort gets posted here I went down the SPOTY is a load of bollocks route and named smeone who epitomises much that is wrong with today's sporting 'heroes'.

andrewm said...

Oh ... A was you, Mouth? I had no idea.

MotM said...

andrewm - A is indeed me. I wrote it dead straight, partly because I was awed by Bolt and partly because the brief was so narrow. I tried to go from old cynic to enthusiastic kid in the piece as Bolt went from enthusiastic kid to grown, tired man in the races. And I wanted to wrap it with the allusion to the wonderful discussion here re the 1968 200 metres podium salute and Obam's win. And I wanted to repeat the gangly kid motif as Bolt repeated his races. Finally, I wanted to give a bit of hyperbole at the end to stimulate debate. Some of this I achieved, some I didn't.

I haven't read the other pieces here, but I'm looking forward to it.

I nearly entered a spoof piece about Alex Ferguson: his magnaminity; his generous advice to referees; his willingness to speak to fans through free-to-air broadcasters; the way he stuck to his left leaning principles when the American leverage buyout merchants arrived etc. But I ran out of time.

mac millings said...

Great piece, Ebren - picking a marginal candidate and playing it straight (as you should), arguing effectively.

I mean, you're entirely wrong, obviously - Giggs was never any good, and even that goal against Arsenal was a fluke - but nice try.

Ebren said...

Obviously I believe in this, so I'm not entirely unbiased - but my point is that he has been a stunning player for so long, and men not fit to lace his boots have been given recognition ahead of him. As I said, we're running out of time to aclaim his career before he ends it.

I genuinely think he deserves it, and if he was nominated I think he would be in with a great shout of winning it.

And at least I'm provoking debate.

Ah well - the git refused to play for my five-aside team, claiming he had a ham string tweak. Bastard, it's not like I'm a Wales friendly.

to break ranks for a second - this is my interview with him (the five-a-side question is cut, but explains the laughter at the end)

mac millings said...


It certainly is a debate-provoking piece. Of course, I was exaggerating in my description of Giggs; nevertheless, I tend to think of him as a good, but overrated, player.

He might be worhty of an award, but not SPOTY. I mean, it's not much of an award, but at least it should be consistent, and given to an outstanding performer during the year in question, unlike say the Oscars, which sometimes go to an outstanding performer, and sometimes to someone crap this year who has been good in several others - even though the Academy gives out a separate Lifetime Achievement Award.

If the BBC does one of those Lifetime ones, I would be more than happy for Giggs to get it.

offsideintahiti said...

A Lifetime Achievement Award? Bit like what Mouth got on Big Blogger today? Deservedly so, I must add. Consistency at the highest level should be rewarded.

And Ryan Giggs definitely deserves one of those. Case very well made, Lord Ebren.

bluedaddy said...

Ebren, maybe you didnt win because you got Bobby Charlton's name wrong.

bluedaddy said...

But that David Gional was great player. Lovely hair.

Ebren said...

That's pretty damn embarrassing.

Oh well, this is what happens when you write it with half an hour to go, after spending two hours youtubing Giggsy rather than anything else

greeengrass said...

you are an eminently reasonable bloke - the very kind who never get to make decisions on SPOTYs.
I stiil savour that goal - with or without the help of Youtube; come to think of it, it's better without!

Lord Wrigley surely deserves the award, but writing about his magnanimity - such a univerally-acknowledged aspect of his character - will hardly win any kudos for originality.
As a Toffeeman, you run the risk of being accused of bias, having been blessed with his generosity in the transfer market.

The sports personality who has given me the most amusement of late is the one who keeps burgling the houses of underpaid LFC players.

andrewm said...

Mouth, I wish I'd known - I would have kept my opinion to myself.

I don't think it comes close to what you're capable of, but Sean liked it so what more do you need?

philwest said...

I think this is better than all of the candidates. (Sorry mouth!)

Ebren said...

Gutted - this must be rubbish. It's the first time I've not managed an Hon Mensch.

I should have retired undefeated, now I have to choose between trying to make a comeback or a pride-saving cutting of my losses.

I mean, four out of five ain't bad.

Ebren said...

Cheers Mr West! (I missed your comment while posting mine)

MotM said...

anderwm - Never keep your opinion to yourself!

It's a funny game this BB stuff. I liked my Bolt piece, but I knew that it was straight and obvious. There's plenty of entries already here that are at least as good as mine (even in my opinion) so it shows that it's a bit of a lottery at BB.

Perhaps there was a structure this week with the shortlist limited to one obvious candidate, one crazy and one heartfelt or one sporting achievement, one crazy and one personality.

I still can't see any way for the Reade piece to win, but look at the vote!

Lest anyone think I'm obssessing about the competitive element (Offy) I'm genuinely not bothered about the result. I'm interested first in reading the variety of work at BB and, especially, here, and the reactions to it. After 30 odd years of reading journalism, the phenomenon of blogging has transformed it as an experience.

To that end, and completely off topic, if anyone has read this extraordinary tale - - I'd love to read your reactions.

zeph said...

That's a very good article, Mouth. It doesn't surprise me how little most of them understood what they were doing: I used to know some currency dealers for big London banks in the 80s and it was obvious the banks were recruiting people who were very competitive, quite bright but not really clever - maybe they were afraid the clever ones might work out how to fiddle the books. It seeemed essentially a salesman's world.

In the UK we should be worried about credit default swops, I understand some of our big banks were heavily involved in them and may not have owned up about all of it yet.

MotM said...

Cheers Zeph - the article struck me as a brilliant dissection of ancient regime grown fat on its own complacency (and our money).

In the 80s, I knew a lot of bright people at College. The really bright ones went off to write code in faraway places or went to Bar School. Nobody seemed to go to The City which seemed, as you say, more a personality / sales driven thing than an activity that needed critical analysis and reflection. (The one who wasn't bright enough nor driven enough missed out on being a sports journo and ended up in fashion!)

Ebren said...

To be honest Mouth, there are some seriously bright people there too.

But inside the industry (my one, rather than theirs) there are a lot of people who think the fund managers are nothing special.

The good ones are looking at the current market and their eyes are sparkling. A load of people also called this, Warren Buffet is buying again and a couple of people made billions - one famously said "find me a bubble to short" in 2006 and was told the mortgage market and subprime.

A few people who called it

MotM said...

Ebren - thanks. You've forgotten more than I ever knew about this. But I'm also trying to buy as many equities as I can (in my own little way) as I'm expecting 5000 by end 2009 and 5500 by end 2010. Buying into a recession must be the smart move if you're prepared to sit it out.

Ebren said...

To be fair Mouth, I didn't see this coming. So I can't really claim any props here.

I'd be very careful what you buy. There's a City truism, which is "never try and catch a falling knife" - it's just much safer to get the hell out of the way until it hits the floor, comes to rest, then pick it up.

This is not going to pe petty, or brief, and quite a lot of firms will be in trouble for quite some time yet.

MotM said...

Sound advice Ebren. Fortunately, it's an ethical ISA so those guys and gals do the buying and selling and I just throw fivers at them.

offsideintahiti said...

Hello, what sport are we discussing now? Is it some elaborate form of office cricket?

Tweet it, digg it