Ryan Giggs 'will never forget' his first visit to Istanbul to play Galatasaray

 

Ryan Giggs will never forget his first visit to Istanbul.

November 1993. Champions League second knockout round, second leg. Galatasaray away.

Welcome to Hell.

"I remember it vividly. It will always stick with me," the veteran Manchester United midfielder said.

"I was 19 and, when we arrived at the airport, there were all the banners and fans. Thousands of fans screaming at you.

"There were things being thrown at us when we were driving away on the coach. Outside the hotel their fans were chanting all night, making sure we didn't get any sleep. People were phoning the hotel room.

"Prior to the game, the manager told us to go on the pitch and sample the atmosphere.

"The fans had been in the ground for hours and hours. The atmosphere was buzzing 90 minutes before kick-off.

"We were stood in the middle of the pitch watching the fans chant. It was one stand to another."

Nineteen years on, Giggs recalls it as being a brilliant experience - at least until the final whistle when United, who had Eric Cantona sent off, were knocked out, triggering a frenzied reaction from their hosts.

"When we came off the pitch, it was chaos," Giggs said.

"Eric had already been sent off and the way back to the dressing room was underneath the pitch.

"There were armed police either side - not the kind of people you would ever mess with. They had helmets, batons, were all ready. And it just kicked off.

"I was just trying to get back to the safety of the dressing room as quickly as possible.

"Obviously not at the time because we lost and went out, but it was a great experience for us.

"They were a good team then and they will be a good team now."

Giggs' last comment is particularly pertinent as United open this season's Champions League campaign against Galatasaray at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

And they are not so much on a revenge mission for that defeat as nursing an additional sense of purpose following last season's debacle, when United tumbled out of the group stage with only two wins.

After reaching three finals in the previous four campaigns, it was an unexpected blow Giggs and his team-mates are anxious to put right.

And the 38-year-old believes he knows just how to do it.

"We need to win our home games," he said. "Usually 10 or more points gets you through, which means winning at home and trying to draw away.

"We didn't manage it last year because we didn't perform at Old Trafford the way we have done in the past."

Robin van Persie's appearance off the bench in Saturday's 4-0 Barclays Premier League win over Wigan showed the Dutchman has no lingering effects from the groin injury that curtailed his international involvement.

It also confirmed manager Sir Alex Ferguson's determination not to take any chances in Europe this term after admitting he got his team selections badly wrong last season.

And with fellow new boy Shinji Kagawa also set to return after being given additional time to recover from his arduous trip to Japan, Giggs is expecting both men to make a positive impact.

"Robin has the experience of playing in Europe with Arsenal," said the Welshman, who became the first player to clock up 600 Premier League appearances at the weekend.

"The goals he has got will hopefully give us that extra edge this season.

"Shinji is that kind of player who will thrive in Europe, where possession is key.

"He keeps the ball and gets into positions where he is hard to pick up.

"I am sure they will both be very good additions in Europe for us."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones