Giggs: How Bryan Robson pranked me
Ryan Giggs’s unique and enduring relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the main reasons the Welshman managed to prolong his playing career into his 40s.
During his 23-year playing stint at Old Trafford, Giggsy became like the boss’s right-hand man, and their trust and reliance on one another helped guide the Reds towards 13 Premier League titles.
But, unsurprisingly, in nearly a quarter of a century working together, Ryan and Sir Alex did have the odd disagreement. Speaking as the latest special guest on UTD Podcast, our record appearance-maker reflected on one particularly hilarious anecdote , when he was pranked during his early days in the first team, by club captain Bryan Robson.
“Oh, yeah… I got stitched up,” the now Wales manager said during his episode, which is available on Monday from Deezer, and other podcast providers.
“My memories of that… the first thing that comes to mind is the gaffer’s red face, looking at me and wanting to throw me out the window!
“I had said to Bryan Robson [beforehand], ‘Robbo, everyone’s got a club car [apart from me] and I’ve played 25 games in the first team now.'
”He said: ‘Yeah, I think you should go and ask the manager. Tell him you’ve played 25 games and ask him to give you a car.’ Robbo had never taken the mick out of me or done any practical jokes, so I trusted him.
“So I’ve gone knocking on the door and I’ve said to the manager, ‘Listen, boss, I’ve played 25 games now, I think I’m fairly established. What about a club car?’ Halfway through the sentence I could see his face changing, and as soon as I said 'club car', I could see his face was red and he just started swearing at me.
“He said: ‘Club car? You won’t even get a club bike. Get out of this office now, before I throw you out!’ As I opened the door, half the first team were outside - they had been listening in, looking for a reaction. You live and learn!”
Giggsy did eventually get a car, but that nearly resulted in an even bigger scolding from the boss.
“The car park opposite the K Stand, the big car park, that’s where we used to park, and we were able to walk over to the stadium three hours before the game,” the club legend explained.
“So it was the first time I’d driven to a game. I’ve got out of the car at Old Trafford and there are three or four autograph hunters. So I’ve got out, started signing autographs and they’ve said: ‘Ryan, your car’s rolling’.
“I’ve left the handbrake off and it’s rolling towards the gaffer’s big Mercedes! So I’ve gone running after it, I’ve still got a pen in my hand! I’m still trying to sign autographs and put the handbrake on!”
Of course, over the years, Giggsy went from a naive youngster to an experienced silverware collector. While Ryan always revelled in winning trophies, as he got older, our former no.11 says he experienced a different type of joy when earning winners’ medals.
“I think the later ones were just more satisfying because you’d see some of your team-mates win it for the first time and you were buzzing off that,” he said during the podcast.
“Like Moscow [in 2008]. It was different because you see [Wayne] Rooney, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and all these players who’ve never won it before and you’re buzzing for them as well as yourself. Whereas, the first time you’ve won it, you’re just thinking about yourself. 'I’ve won the league', or 'I’ve won the Champions League', it’s all about you.
“Towards the end, you’re thinking ‘this could be my last one’. It’s a different feeling. I’m not disrespecting and saying I didn’t celebrate or enjoy it as much, but it’s a bit different.”
On his maiden Champions League triumph in 1999, Ryan declared: ”That was the best feeling I’ve ever had. Until you win that first one, you’ve always got that doubt in your mind if you’re ever going to win it. Especially if you’ve come close a few times.
“If I really had to pick [my favourite trophy], I’d narrow it down to two. That first European Cup - and the first league title, because I grew up as a United fan and we hadn’t won it for 26 years.”