Ryan Giggs is the man for all Manchester United seasons
Ryan Giggs’ nine-minute cameo against Spurs saw him become the new all-time top division number one appearance maker.
His 614th Premier League match took him past Steve Perryman’s record that had stood for 25 years.
Like Giggs Perryman was a home-produced player and served Tottenham from 1969 to 1986 as right back and eventually captain lifting back-to-back FA Cups at Wembley in 1981 and 82.
The Londoner is now director of football at Exeter City and didn’t even know he held the record until he was informed late last season that United’s 37-year-old was on the brink of overtaking it.
But when he officially heard on TV on Monday evening that Giggs was the new record holder Perryman could not have been happier.
“I am absolutely delighted it was Ryan Giggs who broke my record,” Steve told M.E.N. Sport.
“I am disappointed for myself but it couldn’t have got to a better professional. What he has achieved on the field with United is phenomenal.”
Giggs opened his Reds league account in 1991 as a sub against Evert on just five years after Perryman’s 17-year White Hart Lane career ended.
“Manchester United and Ryan Giggs is a marriage made in heaven just as myself and Tottenham Hotspurs was,” Perryman said.
“A lot of things have to go right for that kind of appearance record to happen and I am not sure it will happen ever again. I was just unlucky Ryan Giggs popped up at Old Trafford!
“You have to get into the first team very early for a start to have a chance. I was 18 and Ryan was 17. Then you have to be consistent, have some luck and prepare properly.
“You also have to be happy and feel right at the club. You have to fit in. If you are not happy you will find injuries.
“You will pick up niggles if you are stressed because that is what stress can do to you. I never had that feeling and I don’t think Ryan has because he loves it at United as I did at Spurs.
“Loyalty is a two-way thing. It only suits if both parties are happy. If you are treated right then you will respond and give it back. If you feel the club care about you as I did at Spurs then you are content and will play well and work hard.
“Tottenham was a very big family club. Looking in from the outside I get the impression United are the same.
“Also, very importantly you have to work for a very good manager.
“I had Bill Nicholson as my boss for most of my Spurs career. Ryan has had Sir Alex Ferguson for all of his. Managers are not selecting players out of kindness. Their jobs depend on their team choices so you have to have been doing something right for most of the time to keep being chosen.
“When you have a manager like I had and like Ryan has who appreciate you and respect you then you have to do something really stupid to set them against you.
“To have the consistent backing of a manager for so long is terrific to have.
“The one thing that helped me was that I was never allowed to get above myself. Firstly I had my elder brother who was always telling me I was rubbish no matter how well I played.
“Then I had Bill Nich who would never let you get above your station. I recall one famous occasion when I played what I regard as my best ever match.
“I was always a team player and set great store by that and have always been reluctant to pick out my individual favourite performances but against AC Milan in the semi final of the UEFA Cup in 1971 I scored twice.
“For a player who was lucky to have two shots in a match this was an achievement!
“After matches I always used to find a quiet spot before I left the dressing room to meet family and friends. I used to sit in the treatment room.
“After the Milan match I was sat alone when the doctor walked in and as he straightened his tie in the mirror he muttered to himself, ‘Bill Nicholson is a genius’.
“It was obvious he wanted me to hear and knew I’d respond. I asked him why and he replied ‘he very nearly didn’t pick you tonight.’
“I was the star of the evening but I left the ground wondering what I had done wrong to almost not be chosen. I am not sure Bill Nicholson was into mind games but I suspect he may have put the doc up to it to keep my feet on the ground.
“If you ever got too big for your boots he would tread on you very hard. It was all part of the discipline and good habits. You have to buy into that and adhere to them if you hope to have longevity.
“From what you hear I think Sir Alex Ferguson is similar. I am sure Ryan will have experiences moments like that no matter how much he has achieved.
“However, you can be led, and that is important, but at the end of the day it comes down to yourself. Ryan has the benefit these days of better diet and things like his yoga but those kinds of things can be on offer but you still had to do them and he’s prepared himself so well for so long.”
Perryman also admires Giggs for tackling the day in, day out weight of expectation of being a Manchester United player.
“United are not allowed to lose matches and to live with that is a big stress,” added Steve.
“Also being a home grown player brings its own pressures. I was a home produced player and then I became Spurs captain. It was a heavy responsibility.
“I always knew if we’d lost and then I had a letter in my post at the club addressed to ‘Steve Perryman – captain’ it was not going to be a good one!
“You take a lot on yourself when you are skipper or like Ryan a long server. That kind of responsibility can make some players but it can kill others.
“Ryan has obviously responded to the expectation at Old Trafford. He’s been terrific.
“I was assistant at Spurs when Ryan first made it to the first team at United and I watched him at close quarters. As a former right back I was glad I didn’t have to face him because he was rapid.
“What I admire about him is that he’s developed his game as he’s got older and that has helped him towards that record. Will it be broken? I don’t think so. He’s probably got it for good.”