The Badger


Ryan Giggs is a rubbish footballer, because The Badger says so


It has been a manic two weeks in the world of sport. Diving, cheating, scheming, more diving, inciting, and Renault F1 getting more stuck in a rut than Flavio Briatore into wonderbra models. The only stone left that seems unturned is the undoubted fact that Bolton Wanderers’ defender Zat Knight is an impersonator of a footballer, who in an incredible feat of illusion is conning Premiership managers into buying him.

The ‘Ginger Mourinho’, Gary Megson, is the latest in a long line of gaffers who believe that the stringy centre back can ‘do a job’ for his gung-ho defensive side – though The Badger has seen worse players venture through the English leagues and Eurotrash’s top divisions, from Winston Bogarde to Eric Djemba (so good they named him twice) Djemba. The two-time England international, however, is way out of their league.

It is always very embarrassing for clubs to splash the cash on a player from a fourth divison team somewhere in Honduras, having only seen cartoon reenactments of his play on an A4 notepad and a three-second grainy clip on YouTube, only to figure out that the player is actually a plumber looking for work (or in Liverpool’s case, Lucas Leiva).

In Scotland, however, the trade of deficient footballers is taken very seriously. Scotland even has an entire league system dedicated to giving rubbish players like Rafael Scheidt (the hint is in the name) and Kenny Miller jobs as footballers over there. Local domestic coaches even stretch their passion for this strange fetish to the international stage, where they seem dedicated to seek out atrocious players like Chris Iwelumo who are allergic to scoring goals.

However, it is depressing to chat about this ilk of player for too long. Funny yes, but talking about Ryan Giggs is much more satisfying. The reality in which Sir Alex can still call upon him at the slender age of 35 is beyond believable. It is hard to believe that in 2003, only six years ago, there was talk of Ryan Giggs being denied a contract extension at United and moving on. The Badger even remembers Big Sam Allardyce voicing his interest in adding the then ageing, now effervescent, Giggs to his Bolton team.

Right now United fans are shrugging off the concept and tittering away to themselves that this never happened. However, seeing that miss of Giggs’ against Arsenal in the 5th Round of the 2003 FA Cup may jog their memories. After beating Sol Campbell and David Seaman, Giggs had a glorious chance to open the scoring, but managed to calmly chip the ball over the crossbar as United went on to lose.

badger_philbrownThe ensuing weeks saw Giggs being focus of the Prawn Sandwich boo-boys until Djemba (twice the gem) Djemba arrived to put some perspective on the situation – leading the whole discussion back to the topic of rubbish players. Does this mean that Ryan Giggs is a rubbish footballer? It appears so.

Football is a cruel business which changes quickly. At the start of this article Ryan Giggs was bang in-form; now he is ranked amongst Winston Bogarde. Phil Brown could tell you all about football being a cruel sport: this time last year he was capping off an impressive September with a win against Arsenal. This season he is watching a chuffed Fernando Torres walk away with the match ball.

However, you can’t question his “things only get better” attitude. After seeing his side concede as many goals as they have scored this season, The Badger can tell Brown he is totally right, it cannot possibly get any worse. At the same time, Hull City are not going to get any better; so chin up Phil, your abject team is only going to continue conceding four, five and six goals every week and get relegated. It could be worse: you could be signing Eric Djemba Djemba’s paycheque.

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