Ahead of another eagerly anticipated Manchester derby on Sunday, Ryan Giggs tells ManUtd.com how he hasn't looked back since joining United from City as a youngster more than two decades ago...
If you play on Sunday, you will have made more Manchester derby appearances than any other player. How does that make you feel?
I didn't realise that! It’s great to play in these sorts of games. For the first part of my career we won all of them, more or less, but over the last four or five years it’s been different – they’ve had a bit of success and so have we. They are massive games for the fans and the rivalry is huge, but it’s also important for us to get the three points.
What are your best derby 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. I came off the bench to set up Eric [Cantona] 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! The debut ‘goal’ [in May 1991] is down in the history books as being mine, not Colin Hendry’s! 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.
And your worst?
My worst memory is probably when we lost at Maine Road in 2002, when Shaun Goater scored twice. That was the first time I’d ever experienced defeat in a derby so it was hard to take.
Do teams lose something when they move to big new grounds like the City of Manchester Stadium?
I think they do simply because of the history of the grounds they’ve been at. Having said that, you have to move with the times and Eastlands is a fantastic stadium, with a massive, great pitch, so you have to try to better yourself. But they did lose that atmosphere that they’d had for 100 years.
Many fans will remember you wearing those tights at Eastlands in 2005…
I was thinking about that the other day, funnily enough – probably because it’s getting a bit colder! 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