To every story, there is a beginning, a middle and an end. This is where is starts for Ryan Giggs, the new manager of Wales.

There will be a settling in period, where he will get to know the players as people and for them to buy into his ideas and vision for Welsh football. The relationship between him and the players will then hopefully blossom and everyone will have part to play in his vision. He will stamp his own authority on the group and make big decisions, while trying to keep team spirit in-tact.

So let’s get everyone on board early, fans included.

Then, there will be a middle to the story, where we will be developing as a team and a tactical understanding between each other. It will be intriguing to see this stage, when youngsters coming through, like Ben Woodburn, Harry Wilson and Chris Mepham will be putting down to be a part of the next generation of Welsh football.

There will need to be a balance of ambition, targets and goals, but most of all, Ryan will have to inspire the players and create an attitude of confidence within the squad, to help them reach the next level. When challenged, the players will have to show their personality and character to achieve their lifelong football dreams.

The excitement of this next chapter in Welsh football is the unknown. I’ve known Ryan from my days of playing with him and he can’t wait to get started. He has already spoken to almost everyone who is eligible to play for Wales, and told that to have pride every time they pull on that red shirt. "It’s a privilege to pull on that shirt and you must feel that emotion when you do,” Giggs said recently. I couldn’t agree more, Ryan. And if he can lead us to qualification for our next Euros in 2020 - that would be a happy ending.

Ryan will kick off his managerial career with Wales by trekking thousands of miles to take part in the China Cup. Yes some people may ask, why travel so far at this important part of the season?

Well, since Euro 2016, Wales are a worldwide brand these days, so let’s not disappoint the 700 faithful travelling Welsh supporters, sat among 80,000-odd Chinese fans, and let’s bring this China Cup back to Wales. What a way that would be for Ryan to answer his critics….


Back in my Watford days, I went on a similar footballing trip to China back in 1987 as a young 20 year-old striker. It was at the end of the season, and Graham Taylor had just left for Aston Villa. To avoid having to cancel the trip, Hornets chairman Elton John came along to lead the lads on the pitch and off it. He acted as our manager for those 10 days and we had a lot of fun, singing along with him as he played the piano in the pubs of Nanjing.

We eventually qualified for the final of the Great Wall Cup, as it was known then, where we were up against the China national team in front of 80,000 Chinese supporters.

They all turned up to the game in their bicycles, and on our team coach before the match, my team-mate Iwan Roberts asked me in Welsh – “How do they know who’s bike is who’s after the game?”

We went on to win the game 2-0 and I even managed to score in that match. What a trip that was, and although football has changed a lot since then, I hope the Welsh lads have trip as memorable as ours.


The shock of Dean Keates’ departure to Walsall is still vibrating around Wrexham. The players and staff need to stay focused.

I don’t want to be too negative about the timing of what’s happened, and try and reflect positively about the position he left Wrexham in. Managers’ jobs are few and far between and jumping straight back into League One may have been a no brainer to him, so good luck to him.

But I do have an opinion, that he’s left a job half-done. I thought he could’ve seen the season out and got promoted, which would’ve made his managerial stock even higher. But there’s no future without the past, so let’s concentrate on staying in the play-off places. There’s still history to be made.

There are eight games left and they can still make their dreams come true. 78 to 80 points should be enough to guarantee a play-off spot and they are more than capable of this target. This is not a time for panic or losing your nerve.

With Andy Davies and Carl Darlington staying with the team, there is stability for Wrexham. They need to stay focused and plan game-by-game. Never look at the finishing line – the journey is far more important than the destination at present.

Momentum is key from now on in, and I hope the team can give all these faithful and fantastic supporters what they deserve.

Malcolm Allen is part of the S4C presentation team for the China Cup. S4C will be showing highlights of Wales v China at 6.05pm on Thursday, and live coverage of the second match, against either Uruguay or the Czech Republic, on Monday, kick off TBC. English commentary available on both programmes.