Well then, this really is the beginning of the end for one of the greatest careers in sport. Ryan Giggs is now Player-Coach, a title he has held unofficially for the last season or so, and one that is probably his first step towards a future career in management. The official press release had these words from the Manager and the legend...
"I'm delighted that Ryan has accepted the chance to become player/coach. His success and ability to adapt his game over a number of years gives him an unrivalled perspective on the modern game. His career is an example to any aspiring young player and I'm sure that both he and the players will benefit from his new role."
"It's a great privilege to be appointed a player/coach. I hope I will be able to bring my experience to bear, having been both a player and part of the Manchester United family for so long. It's no secret that I have been taking my qualifications and I see this as the first step in my future career. I'm really looking forward to working alongside David and the team."
- Ryan Giggs
This is no doubt a boost to David Moyes - with talk of Phil Neville being lined up as first-team coach - it gives him a link with the dressing room that many felt apprehensive he would lose when replacing the old coaching staff with 'His Boys'. By all accounts, Giggs is revered by the players, and we all know the street rep the Nevilles carry in Manchester.
However, this almost certainly means that Giggs is in his last season as a Manchester United player. The summer retirements of the Class of '92 left him as the last man standing - first and last amongst equals, in a sense. One can certainly understand the problems with form, and the feeling that time was taking his generation away from the game. With another year, Giggsy would have his UEFA Pro Licence, and with it all the tools to be a top-level manager. One hopes that his apprenticeship lies at the Theatre of Dreams, and not elsewhere.
Since we're in the transfer season, this has yet another implication. With Nani's contract status unresolved, it may be time to snoop around for a proper winger to man the left flank. While Giggsy has not played there consistently for a few years now, he was always around to add depth or stretch play when we chased a game. Expect a promotion from within (Adnan Januzaj?) or at least inquiries into some up-and-coming wingers over the rest of the month.