The Giggs Story: 1999 to 2003
Manchester United continued to bring trophies back to Old Trafford in the wake of the incredible Treble of 1999, with Ryan Giggs going from strength to strength as the team evolved.
The Premier League title was retained with ease in 1999/00, with the Reds’ winning margin of 18 points over runners-up Arsenal still a record in the Premier League era. Giggs also played a key role when a new item of silverware was added to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet, claiming the Man of the Match award in the 1-0 win over Palmeiras of Brazil in the Intercontinental Cup final in Tokyo. United’s controversial involvement in the subsequent FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil in January 2000 - which meant the Reds pulled out of the FA Cup that season - was less successful but at home the machine rolled on to a second consecutive league title in emphatic style. Giggs 1999/00: 44 games, 7 goals.
In 2000/01, United won the Premier League for the third time in a row, the first time a club had completed a hat-trick of titles since Liverpool in the early 1980s. Eight points clear at Christmas, this Reds vintage was dubbed the best ever by Sir Alex Ferguson, and with Giggs’ “Class of 92” team mates complemented by Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and others it’s hard to argue with that assessment. Arsenal were again beaten into second place, this time by 10 points, as United won the Premier League for the seventh time in nine seasons. On a personal level, Giggs came third in a fans' poll for the greatest-ever United player behind Eric Cantona and George Best. Giggs 2000/01: 36 (9) games, 7 goals.
The club awarded Giggs a testimonial match at the start of the 2001/02 season, marking his decade of outstanding service. Celtic were the visitors as 67,000 fans paid homage to the Welshman before the start of the competitive campaign, which was a disappointing one by United’s high standards. In stark contrast to what had gone before, the Reds finished the season empty-handed, finishing 10 points and two places behind Double winners Arsenal.Giggs 2001/02: 32 (8) games, 9 goals.
Giggs passed even more milestones in 2002/03, notching his 100th goal for the club and making his 500th appearance, the seventh player to do so for the Reds – and he was still only in his twenties. A rare dip in form saw him left out of the side several times in mid-season, but it proved to be a temporary blip and United went on to claim yet another league title with Giggs playing an integral part. A key moment for Ryan was the headed equaliser against Arsenal at Highbury - had the Gunners won that six-pointer in April, instead of being held 2-2, then Arsene Wenger's men would have been favourites to go on and retain their crown. Giggs 2002/03: 52 (7) games, 14 goals.
Source: By Tim Oscroft, ManUtd.com