The instinct of any right-thinking person should be ‘because it would be mental’ but when you have Bryan Robson claiming the fans want his former teammate Ryan Giggs and Dwight Yorke ridiculously claiming he is the only candidate, we feel moved to offer seven pretty compelling reasons:
1) Giggs is either implicated or irrelevant in failure
John Nicholson wrote this in December and nothing has since changed: ‘If true, United want to give the job to someone who was a player-coach under David Moyes, which ended in their worst season in decades and who is assistant manager during their worst spell of form since, well, the previous season. And his fans are trying to tell us none of this is his fault? Absolutely none. We are entitled to be very, very cynical about that.’
So either he is partly culpable for the current malaise – and there are certain tactical changes, largely involving Michael Carrick, that would appear to bear the mark of Giggs – or he is being ignored. And if he is so easily ignored, is he really management material?
2) Giggs has almost no experience
We simply cannot emphasise this enough. His supporters point towards Germany (until he moves much, much closer) and Pep Guardiola, but Guardiola had managed Barcelona B (successfully) before being appointed by Barcelona. Of Giggs’ other contemporaries – in terms of age, at least – Antonio Conte began in Serie B, Luis Enrique managed Barcelona B, Roma and Celta before taking over at Barcelona, Diego Simeone cut his teeth in Argentina and Mauricio Pochettino has now managed over 300 games. Giggs? He was in charge of four Premier League games two years ago and beat Hull and Norwich City, who finished 16th and 18th that season. Seriously, it’s embarrassing that we are even talking about this.
3) Giggs would be the knife in a gunfight
While (most) under-performing teams around them are upgrading, Manchester United would be swapping a Champions League winner for a novice. Guardiola arrives in Manchester with a suitcase full of medals, Conte will become Chelsea manager having won three consecutive Serie A titles, Liverpool have appointed a Bundesliga winner and Champions League finalist. Even sodding Newcastle have a Champions League winner in charge. And there are still those who think Giggs can take on these master tacticians and supreme man-managers?
4) Giggs belongs to the past rather than the future
The word ‘millstone’ is perhaps a tad strong, but the Class of 92 brand currently does more harm than good to modern Manchester United. It’s a shadow rather than a beacon of light, providing unhelpful comparisons with a bygone era. The further we move away from 1992 – and that’s now 24 years ago – the less likely we are to see another crop of local boys breaking through to make Manchester United the envy of Europe. United cannot make it any more likely simply by appointing one of that amazing crop. See Glenn Hoddle, Stuart Pearce, Ossie Ardiles and many more managerial zeros for examples of why romantically looking backwards might not be a wonderful idea when making what should be a cold-hearted decision.
5) Giggs is a one-club man
The phrase ‘he knows the club’ is thrown around both willy and nilly by ex-footballers who see this as A Good Thing, but is being entirely immersed in one club from the age of 14 really a desirable quality in a manager? Even those who came through Liverpool’s famous boot room had played or managed elsewhere before entering that cosy, whisky-drinking club; Giggs knows nothing but Manchester United. Guardiola played in Italy, Zinedine Zidane played in three different countries, Luis Enrique managed in Italy – almost all successful modern managers have played or managed at more than one club. Some may say that ‘learning at the feet of Fergie’ is training enough, but how has that gone for Bryan Robson, Paul Ince and a whole host of other managerial failures?
6) Giggs could struggle to be objective
“Sometimes it’s a little more difficult to be critical of the lads you’ve played with,” admits professional Manchester United critic Paul Scholes. So imagine managing them. Could Giggs make the decision not to renew the contract of his friend Michael Carrick? Could he decide that selling Wayne Rooney would be in the best interests of the club? Could he leave Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the bench? This is a Manchester United squad that needs surgery; should a family member be wielding the knife?
7) Giggs lost to Sunderland
Giggs lost to Sunderland when they were managed by Gus Poyet; he was out-tacticked by Gus Poyet. His response? “I trusted the players but some of the players let me down and let themselves down.” Buck passed. Actually, forget everything that has gone before, he sounds exactly like a Manchester United manager.