2010 was a remarkable year in many ways but undoubtedly one of the greatest accomplishments of the year was reached by Ryan Giggs in his role as a Manchester United player.
I recently released a book which drew from Giggs' personal diaries and gives us some great insights into the man and the changes that have taken place in his time at Manchester United so far.
Read on to view some of my favourite excerpts…but still buy the book please because, well that's the whole point. Ryan asked me to mention that half of the proceeds go to Unicef but I don't really want to…
"….So it's finally February 1910 and we get to move to our new stadium, Old Trafford they call it and it looks like some class of Theatre that you would imagine playing on in your dreams. A theatre of dreams is what I overheard Sandy Turnbull calling it. Billy Meredith being somewhat more to the point simply referred to it as the new place the pelt the ball about….
Ah Billy Meredith or Billedith Merry as I have never referred to him until just now is probably my best friend at the club. We both come from Wales and we both play on the wings so we have a bit in common. He plays outside right and I play outside left but sometimes the manager likes us to switch wings to confuse the opposition. Other times he likes to play us both on the left with no-one on the right which certainly confuses the opposition but kind of confuses us as well".
There was a lull in United history over the next number of years. They came up and down the divisions a few times, with Giggs being an ever present during this boring bit of United's history.
In 1939 it got even more boring for Giggs when football was put on the back burner for six years to give the War a chance to shine. World War II they called it but Giggs escaped being drafted in and decided to spend the next while doing keepy-uppy's in Glasgow waiting for Alex Ferguson to be born.
In just over two years the waiting paid off as on New Years Eve 1941 the world welcomed an absolutely tiny version of the current Manchester United manager. Almost immediately Alex's mother started him on his first packet of Juicy Fruit. It was not long before he had progressed to spearmint, soon after he was on Extra and eventually Extra Ice.
There is a bit of a mystery as to what Giggs did between 1942 and when the War ended in 1945. Experts have called this period his wilderness years. Some say he was instrumental in modernising the game for a 1950's audience and made sure old-fashioned names such as Walter Crickmer and Harry Moger was a thing of the past.
Others say he secretly enlisted in the war and historians have placed him and several key battles raiding up the left flank dodging and weaving his way through the enemy.
More say he spent these three years wandering the highroads and byroads looking for other future Manchester United legends to be born.
In 1945 football broke out and Matt Busby took over as Manchester United manager. By the mid 1950's Busby had assembled a team based around a youth policy which included the likes of Giggs, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards. We now take an excerpt from Giggs diary during this period.
"Duncan Edwards, wow what a player. It's the first time in over thirty five years that I have shared a wing with anybody and what an honour it is to share it with someone like Duncan. He has everything. Two feet, a brain, thumbs, a nose, shoulders...He can also play anywhere. Last week he played the match whilst on holiday in Spain and still scored the winner".
By the 1960's a new star had arrived in the shape of George Best. We again take a look what Giggs had to say...
"People are always comparing George and I. They have called George 'the new Ryan Giggs' and called me 'the new George Best'. I find this a little confusing. I mean why do they not just say he is George Best and I am Ryan Giggs? Now I fell things are getting more out of hand with people calling me 'the old George Best', 'the new George Best', 'the present Ryan Giggs', 'the future Jesper Olsen', 'the good Karl Poborsky' and 'the last of the Mohicans'.
The 1970's saw a decline in Uniteds powers and by 1974 Best, Law and Charlton had left the club and United were relegated. Only for new manager Tommy Docherty's affairs with wives of other members of the staff the decade would have been another boring one for the club.
Now 1986 and forty five years after Giggs had witnessed his birth in Glasgow, Alex Ferguson took over the reigns at Old Trafford. Giggs was now serving under his seventeenth manager as a Manchester United player. By 1992 United were again becoming a force to be reckoned with and that year they won the League Cup for the first time.
"Some say that winning the League Cup in 1992 was my first trophy as a Manchester United player but it was actually my twenty fifth. I had broken into the first team and a few of my youth team colleagues like Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham were breaking in by 1995 but after a poor start to the 1995/96 season Alan Hansen famously stated that you don't win anything with kids referring to myself and the other youth team lads.
I know we all took offence to that remark but it cut me deeper that I let on. I didn't like being called a 'kid' after all I had been playing in the first team for eighty five years".
Giggs has seen twenty seven club captains come and go in his time at Old Trafford. He has seventeen top division medals, ten FA Cups, three European Cups and has amassed almost four and a half thousand appearances in his first 100 years at the club. Here's to the next hundred!
'Ryan Giggs: My First 100 Years at Manchester United' is available now in telegraph, morse code, as a telephone call, paperback, hardback, silverback, fullback and centreback.