It is a long time since I expected any decent journalism from the BBC, but one Andy Cryer has lowered the benchmark still further when covering yesterday's Manchester United vs. Norwich City game . Either he is a Manchester United supporter, in which case he should try to conceal it in the interests of impartial writing, or he decided in advance what his story would be and wrote it regardless of facts or sense.
From the heading ("Ryan Giggs: Old Trafford united again by managerial natural") to the final Ferguson shoe-shining, this was a disgraceful op-ed piece.
Starting with the heading, does effectively captaining from the sidelines a team for which one has played for 27 years have anything to do with managing a football club? Would the situation have been the same (surely a "natural" manager would handle any club equally well) if Giggs had been in charge of Liverpool? I don't think so.
"Two managerial rookies took to the stage at Old Trafford on Saturday evening - but by the end of a one-sided 90 minutes it was Premier League football's newest boss who looked very much at home." Yes, because Giggs has worked at Old Trafford for 27 years, and it was against Norwich.
"As Giggs emerged from the tunnel before the match and strode ("strode", I tell you) towards the home dugout, more than 70,000 supporters rose to acclaim one of their own. Old Trafford was united again." Really? As there were not many more than 70,000 at the ground, and they can't all have risen, this must have included the Norwich supporters, right, Andy?
"Giggs made the walk towards his seat pre-match on his own looking every inch the manager. He was dressed smartly in a club suit and tie and solemnly applauded the supporters who were giving him a hero's welcome. He even found time to sign a few autographs." For Dog's sake - is Cryer fourteen? Did he write this just after "What I did on my summer holiday"? Does he get paid for this?
"Giggs promised to put his own stamp on things and his first team selection did just that. Moyes's two big-money signings - Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini - were dropped as he made six changes from the 2-0 defeat at Everton which ended Moyes's reign." Err, yes, but Moyes's two BIG money signings, Mata and Rooney, accounted for all 4 goals, despite "natural manager" Giggs not even giving Mata a start. That suggests to me that without Moyes, using only the players Ferguson had left behind without alienating them, this game would have ended nil-all. (Using "natural" maths.)
"The Old Trafford faithful had never turned against Moyes but, as he struggled to turn the club's fortunes around, his presence was becoming increasingly divisive. There was no such division on Saturday." Nor was there at Moyes's first match in charge, so what's your point, Andy? Did that make Moyes a "natural", too?
"Giggs's first foray onto the edge of his technical area to pass a message onto his players was greeted with a loud roar of approval, as was virtually every appearance thereafter. The whole repertoire of Giggs songs were sung within the first 10 minutes as he watched on intently." So it was a big wank-fest, like Cryer's article.
"Giggs's response [to the first goal]? A subtle double fist clench and another set of instructions shouted out to his players." A "subtle" fist clench? FFS!
"Giggs ended the match as he had begun it, walking down the touchline... ". Yes, that would make sense, to walk back the same way he came. "A quick round of applause to all sections of the ground, a handshake with Norwich boss Adams and his managerial debut was over." Gripping stuff (no pun - intended).
"Just six weeks ago, Giggs had been on a media training course as part of his Uefa coaching badges. He already seems to be natural." Then why did he need to go on a course?
Ferguson once wrote in his autobiography: "Ryan could definitely be a manager because he is so wise and players invariably respect him." Except perhaps when he's shagging their wives.
"Sooner or later you get the feeling Sir Alex will once again be proved right." Well, sooner or later, everyone is right once in a while. Ferguson said a couple of days ago that Giggs was "100% right" for the Man U job. So what percentage "right" was he nine months ago and why was he not chosen then by Ferguson? And what percentage was Moyes when Ferguson unilaterally chose him? Or to put it another way, what percentage was Ferguson himself wrong when he forced the decision on Man U?
"A group of fans chanted "United are back" as they walked down Sir Alex Ferguson Way." Yes, the Alex Ferguson Way - making mistakes and never admitting it.