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27th Jun 2017

Remembering Ryan Giggs’ Secrets and Skills: the greatest football video known to man

"Hey Giggs. How'd you get so good, huh?"

Simon Lloyd

Ryan Giggs was fortunate enough to enjoy a long and successful career as a professional footballer.

As well as making more appearances for Manchester United than anyone else, he also played his part in the team winning 34 major trophies – a tally that makes him the most decorated player in the history of English football.

Despite all of this, the undeniable pinnacle of Giggs’ playing days came relatively early on, when the then-21-year-old launched the iconic Ryan Giggs’ Secrets and Skills on VHS.

Joined by Bobby Charlton and some bloke called Bryn, the majority of the video saw a Reebok tracksuit-clad Giggs repeatedly using his hands to brush his long hair away from his eyes, stopping occasionally to pass on his footballing skills to a group of children.

These coaching points were cleverly broken up by a series of features and interviews with Giggs, in which his already media-trained voice spoke sensibly about important issues such as coping with the pressures of being in the public eye at such a young age, going to McDonald’s and Gary Pallister’s fondness for visiting the cinema.

Now, nearly two decades on from its final copies vanishing from Woolworths bargain bins, it’s time we revisited Ryan Giggs’ Secrets and Skills and reminded ourselves of its sheer brilliance. Let us begin.

First, let’s appreciate its absolutely banging intro music…

A unique blend of American voices uttering a series of completely random phrases over some Haçienda nightclub-esque dance music ensured that this video was off to a phenomenal start. Yes, there’s something slightly unsettling about hearing one of the voices saying “okay kids, stick it in there,” but to our eight-year-old selves, this music probably sounded quite cool.

We learned that, as a talented young footballer, Ryan Giggs would never be able to do a handstand in the street without being noticed.

How Giggs coped with fame was a regular theme throughout the interview parts of the video. At one stage, it became quite clear that Giggs resented his friends for being able to live normal lives, hand-standing their way down the street without having to worry about their antics ever being splashed across the front pages of red top newspapers.

Bobby Charlton crushing the confidence of a child

By all accounts, Bobby Charlton is a thoroughly nice man and although he is warm and encouraging to the children he helps to coach in RGSaS, his attempts to completely obliterate the confidence of young goalkeeper Fergal Larkin are there for all to see. From openly laughing at the child’s unsuccessful attempts to save a soon-to-be world class professional footballer’s free-kicks to later describing him as “the worst goalkeeper in the history of the world,” Bobby didn’t hold back.

We’re sure Bobby was joking, we just hope Fergal didn’t sustain too much psychological damage as a result.

Paul Ince sealing his move to Inter Milan

Paul Ince, a key member of Alex Ferguson’s first two Premier League-winning squads, left the club in the summer of 1995. RGSaS featured this short piece of footage from United’s Cliff training ground which almost certainly proves to be the moment that Fergie made up his mind.

Bryn Cooper’s press up obsession

Of the three men responsible for coaching the kids in the video, Bryn Cooper was by no means the most high profile. Not that this mattered. Much like every PE teacher or coach of a junior football team at the time, he knew the value of press ups as punishment, and wasn’t afraid to use up a good few precious seconds making this point clear.

Ryan Giggs enjoyed discharging fire extinguishers, all in the name of banter

Ever the role model, Giggs also makes clear in the video that he is one of the practical jokers of the United team, smirking as he tells the young children watching of the time he once soaked his teammates with a fire extinguisher as they watched Question of Sport together in a London hotel. Simpler times.

“Hey Giggs. How’d ya get so good? Huh?”

Arguably the greatest moment of the entire video comes in a short section showing Giggs’ trip to the 1994 World Cup in the USA. The United winger explains that he was hardly recognised while in the States, with this encounter with three incredibly excited fans an obvious exception.

It might only be a few seconds in duration, but there’s simply so much to enjoy in this short clip. From the manic “Giggs, Giggs, Giggs” chants of the kid in the AC Milan shirt, to the way his United shirt-wearing friend swats away the calls for them to calm down – “That’s Ryan Giggs, you don’t tell me to calm down.”



Ryan Giggs