Manchester United: Ryan Giggs ready for tearful farewell
Ryan Giggs is still waiting to hear whether he will be appointed as assistant manager to Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, as he prepares for an emotional last evening of the season at Old Trafford tonight.
The Dutchman is expected to be revealed as the next United manager in the next 48 hours – possibly before United's match against Hull City tonight – but Giggs' future remains unclear and it is possible that he will close off the evening by bringing himself on as a substitute during a game which has no significance for the team.
The obstacles to Giggs being named assistant appear to be less formidable than had been thought, with suggestions from several reputable sources in the Netherlands yesterday that Patrick Kluivert – assistant to Van Gaal in the national set-up – may not be appointed the Dutchman's United No 2, as some had anticipated.
With Danny Blind, Van Gaal's Dutch No 2, definitely not moving to Manchester with him, the task of keeping Giggs happy as No 2 while introducing an outsider may not be as difficult as initially anticipated.
It is possible that Van Gaal will be at Old Trafford to see the penultimate game of the club's desperate season.
Giggs, who will not have Wayne Rooney fit for tonight and has also excluded Rio Ferdinand from his squad to face Steve Bruce's team, will be left with the decision of whether to address the crowd after the game, as Sir Alex Ferguson always did.
It is thought that he will not take the microphone, as he has only been manager for three games and is highly unlikely to be next year.
There are no plans for a special send-off for captain Nemanja Vidic, who will move to Inter Milan next season, though with Patrice Evra also possibly taking his bow, the evening will feel like a curtain falling on the great United side Ferguson put together.
Van Gaal, who has maintained a silence on his future, will be in Holland tomorrow for a training camp involving Eredivisie-based Dutch players who are in contention for this World Cup squad.
He announced the list of players by email yesterday and is not scheduled to make a press appearance until the provisional squad for Brazil is announced a week today.
Evra has expressed his sadness at the departure of his team-mate Vidic, remembering how the two of them had made inauspicious debuts together for United's reserves in January 2006.
"When you speak about Nemanja it's like you are speaking about myself," Evra said.
"We joined the club together. I remember our first game, it was so hard and the one game we played in the reserves – me and him –we were so poor and Rene was the manager and he took us both out of the match and we were playing with the reserve team.
"We were talking together in the dressing room and saying 'Oh my God. Why have we come to Manchester United!? We should go quickly back to our clubs!'
"It was a difficult moment, I remember, but we stuck together. We have been in the same hotels.
"We go into training together. We win the same trophies. I am really sad to lose the rock because for me I call him the rock.
"I give my thanks to him because I play alongside him and for me he was a great centre back. When you see a player like Nemanja Vidic is leaving this club, you feel really sad."
Of his own uncertain future, he said: "Everyone has a different story. Let's see."
Meanwhile, Louis van Gaal should be forced to keep Giggs and his coaching staff at United next year, according to former captain Bryan Robson.
Robson said: "I think it would be very disappointing for those lads not to be kept on, in whatever role, as they are part of Manchester United.
"The fans would be very disappointed if they don't have a future in the club.
"I have read that Van Gaal wants to bring in a goalkeeper coach, a fitness coach, and (Patrick) Kluivert as his assistant.
"Sometimes I think when you go into a new club, why not give the staff a chance?"