A few years back, the only tickets I could get for derby day away were with the home fans. A couple of blues I knew gave us their season-ticket seats, whilst they got their hands on seats with a better view elsewhere. We were under strict instructions not to give away our identity, as they wouldn’t be able to face those who sat around them if they twigged United fans had been given their tickets on derby day.
I sat on my hands throughout the game, struggling not to appeal the small things, like fouls or throw-ins. It was murder.
Giggs came on with less than half an hour to play, wearing supports to help with his hamstring injury, resembling tights. “Who’s the wanker in the tights?” the City fans chanted as well as wolf whistling. It was 0-0 and they were feeling cocky.
When Rooney opened the scoring, some joker a few rows back leapt in to the air, celebrating like mad. Rooney held his arms out wide, running in front of the home fans, whilst the red with the big mouth got dragged out.
When Richard Dunne made it 2-0, slicing the ball in to the back of his own net, it was torture not joining in with the away end. “Let’s all laugh at City, let’s all laugh at City, ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha!” they sang but I kept my mouth shut.
Ryan Giggs, who scored his first goal for United when he was 17-years-old against City, has reflected on derby day memories.
“I have a few good derby memories but my best one is probably coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in 1993,” said Giggs. “I came off the bench to set up Eric to make it 2-2, and then Keaney scored late on. That was a great game. Then there was the goal on my full debut against them and scoring the winner at Maine Road in 1996 – there have been so many!”
Giggs has admitted that his début goal might not deservedly be credited to him, although he’s not complaining.
“The debut goal is down in the history books as being mine, not Colin Hendry’s!” he added. “I think I may have touched it with my bootlace, but that’s about it… In the past I’ve had goals taken away from me that I thought should have been mine, so I’ll claim it.”
Our Welsh winger is still amused by the first appearance of the ‘tights’, claiming Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t best pleased about it.
“I was thinking about that the other day, funnily enough – probably because it’s getting a bit colder!” he laughed. “I was coming back from a hamstring injury, it was cold and I’d trained in them that week, so it was just precautionary, really. I don’t think I’d have started the game in them, though! I took my jogging bottoms off and the gaffer gave me a dirty look – he didn’t even know I was wearing them. I think I’ve got away with it since, although I got a lot of whistles from the crowd at the time!
On occasion, the travelling City fans, who have a much better sense of humour than those that infest the Wastelands, will give Giggsy at hard time. The season before last, chants of “City reject! City reject!” were audible whenever Giggs went to take a corner. Of course, Giggs left City as soon as the opportunity arose, with Sir Alex Ferguson coming to is Salford home when he was just 14-years-old.
“I was at City for two years but didn’t really enjoy it,” Giggs said. “I was always a United fan and had the opportunity to train with them for a week. After that the manager came to my house and asked if I would sign for United and there was no hesitation, purely because I was a United fan and had had such a great time the week before.”
Ryan Giggs, legend. If he plays on Sunday, which you have to imagine he will, then he will have the record number of Manchester derby appearances. Let’s hope it’s another happy memory to add to the collection.