The news of Swansea City’s snubbing of Old Trafford hero Ryan Giggs to replace the sacked Francesco Guidolin in early October would have been a big blow for the former Manchester United winger, writes NICK VAN RENSBURG.
On the surface, Giggs looked a perfect fit to fill the hole left by the Italian. Young, hungry and Welsh (he accumulated 64 appearances for Wales during his storied career), the position would have proved the perfect platform to launch a managerial career that now threatens to stall before it’s even got going.
One can understand Swansea’s reasoning, going for a proven manager with years of experience in American Bob Bradley to guide the team out of their current league position (17th after seven rounds with just four points to their name). By opting to snub Giggs, the club have also spared themselves the media circus that inevitably would have followed his every move, blowing every victory or loss out of proportion, with a disproportionate amount of focus on the manager rather than on-field matters.
It now becomes a question of where to from here for the Welshman?
Giggs, who completed a three-year apprenticeship at the Red Devils under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, has made no secret of his desire to one day fill the Old Trafford hot seat. After stepping in as interim manager following Moyes’ sacking in April 2014, he was disappointed not to be given the job on a permanent basis when the club sought out the experience of Van Gaal.
One wonders what might have been if, like Spain’s managerial heavyweights Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane, Giggs had been given the opportunity to take charge of United’s reserve side before ultimately being given the keys to the first team. Now he will have to navigate his career away from Old Trafford.
And while Giggs, at 42, has plenty of time on his side, the reality is he might have to look further down the rungs of English football, perhaps to the Championship, to get his managerial career going. And even success in the second tier of English football is no guarantee of managerial longevity in the top flight.
Just ask another of Giggs’ teammates in former captain, Roy Keane, who steered Sunderland into the top flight in 2007-08 in his first job as manager. It all went horribly wrong, and after another mediocre spell in charge of Ipswich Town, the Irishman has not been given another opportunity to manage in the Premier League, instead he now serves as an assistant to Martin O’Neil with Ireland.
The general feeling is that it is going to be a long way back for Giggs if he wants to land his dream job, and that journey starts with convincing a club chairman to take a punt on an individual who may be the most decorated player in Premier League history, but who is slowly discovering that when it comes to the layer cake of England’s beloved game, legendary status as a player is just not enough in the dog-eat-dog world of the Premier League.
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