Sami Hyypiä, who played for Liverpool for 10 years and won several medals with them, ended his playing career at Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and became their coach soon afterwards when Robin Dutt was sacked.
The Finn seemed to be the perfect coaching solution because he was highly respected by the whole team and the fans loved him.
At first things went great and Leverkusen qualified for the Champions League with him. Also in the next season they had an excellent start and the team played the best first half in their Bundesliga history. At that time Leverkusen’s sporting director Völler predicted Hyypiä a big coaching career and said that they hoped to keep him as a coach as long as possible.
However, after the 20th matchday this current season they started a series of 9 matches with only one victory and dropped from the second to the fifth place in the table. Hyypiä was then dismissed after a defeat against Hamburg and the real possibility of not even qualifying for the Champions League.
Everybody regretted this development as it is probably impossible not to like Hyypiä with his calm and humble character. When Völler declared his dismissal it sounded more like a public excuse rather than an announcement.
There are players that are so popular with the fans that these would love to see them as a coach for their team one day. They want to see it work, even if they know it probably won't long term. Sami Hyppiä was such a player at Liverpool and also at Leverkusen, but Ryan Giggs is it of course even more at Manchester United. Probably every neutral observer of the Premier League hopes that this likeable character will be successful as a coach.
Unfortunately he now has to deal with a major transition of the team, which would even be a big challenge for an experienced coach. For somebody who has never coached a team before it is simply a very high risk to fail. What happens if he isn’t successful and the team continues to play badly under him?
Would the fans in Old Trafford start booing at him? Unimaginable of course, but how long would they accept bad performances of the team only because the coach is one of the biggest club legends?
Nobody would like to imagine such a situation but that is exactly the problem. Hyypiä was a very talented coach but simply too inexperienced in this role, so that he couldn’t manage the first major crisis. It is not unlikely that the same thing could happen to Giggs at United, even if he might have a good start there. Being an experienced player is still no guarantee for being also a successful coach.
Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea to let Giggs be the assistant of an experienced coach like van Gaal and let him then take over afterwards. Like that he could still learn a couple of years from a successful mentor instead of taking the risk to fail now because of his lack of coaching experience.