Sir Alex Ferguson has told a court that he never once saw Ryan Giggs lose his temper in his former player’s career.
The former Manchester United manager said the footballer had a “fantastic temperament” and that the entire club treated Giggs “as the number one”.
Giving evidence in Giggs’s trial on Friday, Ferguson said he “never” saw the footballer become angry or aggressive in the 24 years in which he managed him.
Giggs, 48, is on trial for using controlling and coercive behaviour against his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville, 38, between August 2017 and November 2020 – charges that he denies.
He also denies assaulting Greville, causing her actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, 26, at his home in Worsley, Greater Manchester on 1 November 2020.
Ferguson told Manchester crown court how Giggs had signed a schoolboy form with the club before getting into the first team at the age of 17.
Ferguson said: “They [Manchester United] had been going through a bad period when I arrived at the club in 1986. We had a big job to do. We saw Ryan as one step towards a better situation in regard to young players. The thing was, the press started comparing him with George Best. We had to face a lot of attention on the boy.”
He continued: “When someone’s saying you’re the next George Best, it’s a big issue. But the boy was great, no problems.”
When asked about his experience of managing the winger over the following two decades, Ferguson said: “When I lost my temper, I would use Ryan as an example. He would get the sharp end of my tongue, but I knew he could take it. Other players would sit up and think, ‘If Ryan can take it, we can all take it.’”
“He was the best example I’ve had at any club. Everyone looked at Ryan as the number one,” he told the jury.
Earlier on Friday, the court heard the contents of a “final goodbye” letter written by Kate Greville on 29 October 2020 – three days before the alleged assault took place. The letter detailed the former Manchester United player’s alleged infidelities with at least eight women.
Giggs’ defence team read the letter, which began: “I know pretty much everything you have been doing with other women behind my back since the day I met you.”
Greville described Giggs as a “compulsive liar and serial cheat”, telling him: “My gut always told me you couldn’t be trusted.”
She wrote: “I now know you say the same things you say to me to multiple women. I’m nothing special, I was just the one you didn’t let have a happy life.”
The letter continued: “You will never lie to me or cheat on me again,” and revealed her intent to keep the puppy she and Giggs had bought together, saying: “I think after everything you have put me through, I deserve to have something good from this relationship.”
Giving evidence earlier in the week, self-confessed “love cheat” Giggs told the jury he had been unfaithful in all his previous relationships, but had never assaulted a woman.
He said he had never been able to resist “interest” from an “attractive woman”, agreed that he was a “flirt by nature”, and confirmed that he had lied more than once to his ex-wife, Stacey, and to Greville, a PR executive.
The trial continues.