Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson told a UK court on Friday that ex-star Ryan Giggs had never lost his temper or shown violence during his more than two-decade tenure at the club.
Giving evidence at Giggs’s trial for assaulting and coercively controlling an ex-girlfriend, Ferguson said the former player had consistently exhibited a “fantastic temperament”.
He was “the best example we had at the club,” Ferguson told Manchester Crown Court, where Giggs has denied physically assaulting former partner, PR agent Kate Greville, and her sister nearly two years ago.
Giggs also denies controlling Greville during their rocky years-long relationship.
Giggs, 48, says that injuries sustained by Greville were an accidental result of a three-way tussle with her and her sister over a mobile phone.
The former winger has admitted he “may have caught her and her sister”, but has used his long playing career, in which he had an excellent disciplinary record to argue he was not violent.
Ferguson, 80, told the court he had known Giggs since the player had joined Manchester United as a youngster.
Ferguson said he had sought to protect the teenage player from media attention after he was compared to brilliant but wayward 1960s club legend George Best.
“When someone’s saying you’re the next George Best, it’s a big issue. But the boy was great, no problems,” Ferguson said.
“To have a career as long as he had in a difficult position, in terms of energy, he fulfilled everything we ever wished for.”
Giggs resigned as the Wales manager in June, after being on leave since his arrest.
He said he did not want “continued interest around this case” to affect the team as it prepares for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
He remains on conditional bail, and has said he looks forward to “clearing my name”.
Giggs exploded onto the scene as a teenager in the mid-1990s. He ended his career at Old Trafford as the most-decorated player in English football history.
As a player, he made a club-record 963 appearances over 23 years for Manchester United, winning 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.
He began his coaching career at Old Trafford, taking temporary charge at the end of the 2013/14 season after David Moyes was sacked. Giggs then worked as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for two years.
Giggs was appointed Wales boss in January 2018 and helped them secure qualification for Euro 2020, just their second major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup.
He missed the chance to lead them to last year’s European Championships after being placed on leave by the Welsh FA since November 2020.
He finally resigned from that role in June after Wales qualified for the World Cup under the stewardship of his former assistant Rob Page.