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|Being the brother of the biggest ever medal-winner in one of the world’s best teams must be a strange situation to deal with, but now settled at FC United of Manchester, Rhodri Giggs admits he is having the time of his footballing life.
"Anyone who knows the first thing about football has to take their hat off and recognise what Ryan has done,�€� he says.
"What I have done through football doesn’t even remotely compare. He has done superbly. Of course, you’ve got to have a bit of luck along the way along with raw talent and bundles of effort. He has had all that and of course I am delighted with all he has achieved.
"I am really enjoying it at FC. The players and fans are superb and luckily for me I have managed to become part of that by getting a starting place."
The Giggs brothers�€trade; story began in November 1973 when Ryan was born in Cardiff, four years before his brother Rhodri. Rhodri was just four years old when the family upped sticks, moving to Swinton.
As Rhodri explains: "We moved because my dad [Danny Wilson] got offered a contract playing for Swinton Lions rugby league team. He had to switch from rugby union, but we moved up because it was good money for him. I don’t really have any memories of Wales, except going back there all the time as kids to visit relatives."
Settled in his new home, Rhodri started at Grosvenor Road Primary School, in Swinton. But, unlike most boys his age, the youngster shunned soccer in favour of the oval-shaped ball.
"I think it was inspiration from my dad that made me want to play rugby. I loved to play. It was fast and a challenge, but as I got older it became harder because you have to be big and I never really had that frame."
As he moved in to high school - Moorside High, also in Swinton - Rhodri took more to football, gaining a place in the school team and learning his trade up front and on the right wing.
As he says: "I think they picked me there because they could see I had pace. I never really wanted to play anywhere else except up front or on the wing. It was always good fun to play with your mates."
As he became a teenager, Rhodri’s skill began impressing his teachers to the point where they recommended him for the Salford Boys’ team. But despite getting such plaudits, Rhodri still had his feet on the ground.
"It was good because I was playing for Salford at both football and rugby [league], but I never really thought about football in the sense of a career. I was just taking it game by game."
It wasn�€trade;t long before Torquay United had heard about Giggs Junior and decided to send out a to watch Rhodri play. They were so impressed with his performance they offered him a two-year youth-training scheme (YTS) contract.
Aged just 15, Rhodri left school and, though he admits living so far from home was difficult, he was happy to take the plunge. "It was a long way away for a teenager, but who would want to turn down an offer to play football at that level and have a chance to make a career out of it?�€� he says.
"I never really got chance to visit home though, but I was either playing games or training down in Torquay, so I didn’t have time."
Such dedication earned Rhodri a fast track through the youth and reserve teams and into the first team. "I made my debut when I was 16, I think it was against Huddersfield and the match ended 3-3 and I did okay. I would say that it has been my biggest moment in football so far, playing in front of so many people at such a young age.
"There was a lot of attention from the press as you would expect, but I’ve learned never to listen to what they say, else eventually you start believing what they say when they put you down."
Rhodri played just two games for Torquay, when - still a YTS player - he left amidst uncertain times at the club. He maintains Torquay didn�€trade;t try as hard as they could have done to keep some of the senior YTS players.
He says: "I was only a first year YTS [player] but I left anyway. The experience put me off and, while I say now I regret not going back, the whole thing left me with a bitter taste in my mouth."
So much so, in fact Rhodri didn’t play football again for the next three years.
"After that I just came home and went out. Not every night, but every weekend and enjoyed myself."
It was when Rhodri turned 19 that he made a bold attempt to kick-start his football career, heading north of the border. "I started out by having a trial with Hearts, but nothing came of that so I went to play for Livingston and I ended up stayed there about six months,�€� he says.
"I was surprised by the level of football, it was about League Two or Three standard. It was colder, but nothing that I couldn’t handle."
But a lack of first-team football made Rhodri think again about just how likely it was football could pay the rent. "I wanted to have something a bit more permanent and, one day, I was speaking to my friend’s girlfriend who told me about an estate agents’ job going in London, so I took it."
Rhodri admits he loved the challenge the job brought and stuck to it for three years without kicking a ball before he opted to return to Manchester to be closer to friends and family.
After bouncing back from personal problems, Rhodri found a way back into football through North West Counties League Division One side Salford City, who were unfortunate not to get promoted in the 2001-02 season when champions Kidsgrove and second-place Prescot Cables took the honours ahead of them.
It was while at Salford that Rhodri met Dave Brown, Phil Melville, Tony Cullen and Karl Marginson - all now familiar faces to FC United fans. Rhodri also spent a brief spell playing for Bangor City under then manager and ex-Manchester United striker Peter Davenport.
"It was good fun playing in the Welsh league,�€� he says. �€�Barry Town were the big team to beat back then before TNS began to dominate. For me, it was a real privilege to be at the same club as Clayton Blackmore. That was a good memory.
"The season before I joined Bangor they got into the UEFA Cup and we ended up playing some big teams in the early rounds. Of course, you know you’re not going to progress very far because the standard of opposition is so high, but even being there is a confidence booster."
Eventually, the regular three-times weekly commute to Wales made Rhodri leave Bangor for Bacup, where he stayed for three months before he joined NWCFL outfit Mossley.
With Mossley, aged, 27, Rhodri found it a bitter pill to swallow when his side were all set to win the league when a six-point deduction lead to the Seel Park Club being denied a place in the Unibond Premier Division.
As he explains: "It was a bad feeling to work so hard all season and not gain promotion, but I had a really good time at Mossley under a decent manager in John Murphy.
"All in all, I settled in the first season, was player of the year in the second season, won promotion last season and played more than 100 games."
It was that record that impressed FC manager Karl Marginson enough to ask Giggs to try out with United after the season was over. Rhodri joined United for pre-season training and began a long quest to earn a place in the first team.
"I remember getting there down at Parrs Wood High School and there being about 100 other lads there - it was like being at school again. But, at the end of the day, if you have the ability you have to be confident and just show it, so I did."
Rhodri’s resolve earned him a first-team debut for FC United at Radcliffe Borough, when his tricks and pace down the wing earned the inevitable Ryan/United comparisons from the press and the terraces.
But, in the first three months of the season, the now 29-year-old has made his own personality shine with a fantastic performance in a 4-1 win at Glossop and two memorable goals against Flixton.
"That first goal was pretty special, but my celebration could have been better. I went into the Manchester Road End and fell on my bum. Some of the lads gave me stick for it afterwards in the dressing room so I won’t be celebrating like that again.
"But it is a great team spirit with the lads. I came here for that kind of spirit and for the spirit of the fans. They have made me feel really welcome. Last year I was playing in front of hardly anyone at Mossley, now it is 2,000 people every week minimum.
So what does Ryan think about FC? "I went to see him play for United on the first day of the season [against Fulham] and it was alright, but I don’t tend to go that much.
"I think he will come to FC to experience it. We’re supportive of each other, but just let each other get on with it."