Is Ryan Giggs making a push for power at Man Utd?
It has become abundantly clear in the last week that Ryan Giggs is positioning himself for a final push to take the Manchester United managerial throne.
After months of speculation when the agenda has been dominated Jose Mourinho and his team of advisers merrily leaking information about their man’s desire to succeed Louis van Gaal as United boss, Giggs has picked his moment to make a late bid to shift the agenda.
The end of the Van Gaal farce has long since become inevitable at United and now the two primary candidates to succeed him are positioning themselves in a push for power.
While Mourinho has ordered his camp to keep a dignified silence last month as he awaits to discover whether he will land his dream job at Old Trafford, his chief contender for the post has ended his self-imposed silence at a timely moment.
Giggs has been a muted partner to his boss Van Gaal in his two seasons as United’s assistant manager, with the increasingly shambolic mess at Old Trafford encouraging to distance himself from a regime that he has been at the heart of.
All interview requests with the media and offers of to speak at charity events have been politely declined in the last 18 months, with the Welshman who celebrated a remarkable quarter of a century of service with United in recent days preferring to take ip a role as back seat driver to Van Gaal.
Yet this was the week when the Giggs campaign for top office was officially launched, with public shows of support backed up by the main man’s own timely appearance at a stage managed interview.
United’s increasingly large team of ambassadors have not tended to offer too many public comments on the future of Van Gaal, so when first Bryan Robson and then Dwight Yorke conducted interviews that were tantamount to passionate pleas for Giggs to get the United job, eyebrows were raised.
Then there was a fast food company sponsored Giggs interview in the Daily Telegraph, with no mention of his relationship with Van Gaal or the depressing tactics he has employed at United.
The message from the discussion was clear; don’t blame me for the mess at United this season, this is all down to Louis. It was an inevitable PR plan, yet surely Giggs has to be guilty by association to some degree.
Next up was a publicity event orchestrated and executed with enthusiasm by Giggs himself.
The purpose of Van Gaal’s assistant taking centre-stage and barking out orders on the Old Trafford touchline during Thursday night’s Europa League game against Liverpool was clear.
This was Giggs’ latest attempt to look like the manager in waiting and he has one more trick up his sleeve as the post mortem on United’s defeat against Liverpool began.
His pal Paul Scholes used his BT Sport appearance to push he claims of Giggs to replace Van Gaal, arguing that “experience isn’t that important as they have had that for the last two years and look where that has got them.”
Scholes’ contribution completed a three-day publicity splurge that not even a highly paid team of political spin doctors could not have organised, with all looking in on this stage-managed event left in little doubt that Giggs wants the United job and he wants it now.
Yet mention the notion that it will be Giggs and not Mourinho taking over at United this summer on Twitter and you are instantly subjected to a deluge of abuse, much of which would be libellous if muttered in a public place.
The modern breed of football fan is does not put sentiment and patience near the top of their list of priorities when a new manager is appointed at their club and they want a proven winner rather than a nostalgic step back towards the club’s golden past.
Throw German World Cup winning boss Joachim Loew or highly impressive Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino into the discussion as potential United managers and you are greeted with more encouraging responses.
However, it appears that influential United directors like Bobby Charlton are blocking any attempts by the club to hire the firebrand Mourinho, with Giggs appearing to be their only viable alternative currently under consideration.
“Giggs would be under pressure from the off if he does get the job,” BT Sport pundit and former United striker Michael Owen tells the Sunday World.
“The United fans seem to want Mourinho and I still think he is the man they should go and get, but Giggs will probably manage Man Utd one day and the decision that has to be made is whether that is now.
“I don’t see him hanging around and working as assistant to Mourinho takes over, but it would also be risky to take over United now. He would have a massive job on his hands trying to turn this team around because they require major surgery.”
You cannot compare a novice who has won nothing as a manager to the highly decorated Mourinho, but United have to decide whether they try to rekindle their glory days with Alex Ferguson’s ultimate golden boy or just join the ranks of the other clubs by craving quick-fix solutions.
United’s hierarchy like to see themselves as being a class apart from their rivals and much of that arrogance is a lingering trait from the glorious Ferguson dynasty, with the idea of his head boy restoring the club’s true soul appealing to influential voices at Old Trafford.
If Ferguson could be persuaded to take on a prominent role as adviser/mentor to Giggs, United fans may reluctantly endorse a ‘dream ticket’ that would combine the club’s golden era and a bold new future, but it may be a hard sell.
Huge risk would be attached to appointing Giggs to oversee a United squad overhaul that may need to be carried out by a manager with more clout, which is why Mourinho stands alone as the outstanding candidate for the role.
What happens next will see football and politics are colliding in fascinating symmetry behind the scenes at Old Trafford before a decision is made that could shape United’s future for years to come.
Appointing the wrong manager for a third successive occasion would be fatal for one of the game’s ailing giants.