Alex Ferguson has told a court he never saw Ryan Giggs lose his temper as he gave evidence defending his ex-player.

The former Manchester United manager, 80, spoke about his relationship at the club with Mr Giggs, who is on trial charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville.

The 80-year-old managed the Old Trafford club from 1986 to 2013 and gave Mr Giggs his first team debut as a 17-year-old in 1991.

Mr Giggs, 48, denies using controlling and coercive behaviour against Kate Greville, 38, between August 2017 and November 2020, assaulting her, causing actual bodily harm, and the common assault of her younger sister, Emma Greville, 26.

Mr Ferguson told defence counsel Chris Daw that he was manager for Manchester United for 27 years and "first got to know" Mr Giggs when the youngster was aged 13.

He said Giggs was playing for a local club at the time and was training at Manchester City's ground.

He said: "After that we visited his house to try to convince him to come to Manchester United. Myself and my assistant Archie Knox."

Chris Daw QC asked: "Did you get to know him as a child during that period?"

Mr Ferguson replied: "His main contact was his mother. She was very good. Very accommodating.

"Ryan was a quiet boy. He just sat there listening to what was being said. His mum did all the talking."

'Next George Best'

Mr Ferguson told the court Mr Giggs signed a schoolboy form with Manchester United before getting into the first team at the age of 17.

He said: "That was the first time we had to really think about looking after him.

"The thing was, the press started comparing him with George Best. We had to face a lot of attention on the boy.

"I said to his mother: 'Look, if you are able to trust me I'll look after him'.

"If any media came to him they had to come through me. We did this to protect him.

"When someone's saying you're the next George Best, it's a big issue. But the boy was great, no problems.

"Any media who came towards me wanting to do articles had to come through me."

Ryan Giggs in his playing days

Mr Daw asked Mr Ferguson if he was aware of Mr Giggs having girlfriends.

Mr Ferguson said: "When we had dinners at the end of the season he would bring a friend with him, yeah."

He said Mr Giggs played for Manchester United from the ages of 17 to 41 and had a "fantastic record".

He told the court: "When he got older the issue of the dressing room became - I used Ryan a lot in the sense of, when I lost my temper about performance I would use Ryan as an example sometimes.

"He got the sharp end of my tongue but I knew he could take it, he was strong enough.

"Everyone else in the dressing room would think: 'If Ryan Giggs can take it, we can all take it'."

Mr Ferguson said Mr Giggs had a "fantastic temperament". He told the court: "To have a career as long as he had in a difficult position, in terms of energy, he fulfilled everything we ever wished for."

He said Giggs was "without doubt the best example we had at the club". "Everyone looked at Ryan Giggs as the number one," he added.

Asked by Mr Daw if he had ever seen him "lose his temper or become aggressive", Mr Ferguson replied: "No."

Later, a statement from former Manchester United chief executive David Gill was read to the court.

Ryan Giggs and David Gill in 2011

He said he had known Giggs for "many years" since he joined the club in 1997 when the footballer was already at Old Trafford.

Mr Gill went on to state: "Ryan is a very likeable man, well-mannered, very professional.

"He is always very polite. I found him to be honest. You can trust what he said.

"I always found him to be a measured person ... with a pleasant sense of humour.

"I know Ryan to be hard-working, dedicated and always willing to help and improve."

'Final goodbye' letter read to court

Earlier, jurors in the trial heard the contents of a "final goodbye" letter written by Kate Greville on 29 October 2020, three days before Mr Giggs allegedly assaulted her.

The letter, titled The Final Goodbye, details the former footballer's alleged infidelities with at least eight women.

Today, Mr Giggs' defence team at Manchester Crown Court 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."

Ms Greville described Mr Giggs as a "compulsive liar and serial cheat", telling him: "My gut always told me you couldn't be trusted."

She said: "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."

Ms Greville claimed the "other women" have "husbands and kids".

Ryan Giggs arriving at court this morning

Jurors heard the "goodbye" letter continued: "I know you and Helen had a full-on relationship while you were sleeping with me.

"You told her you loved her and wanted to have a family."

The letter said "Helen" had "met the kids" and that she and Mr Giggs were "in constant contact, even now".

It went on to say: "You and Zara were also in a full-on relationship for nearly a year," adding that Mr Giggs "got your Harrods guy to send her a pair of shoes and a dress".

"I know about Natalie and Suzie, not to mention Kelly," Ms Greville said. "I know about the women you meet at the Stafford."

She also accused him of "sending dirty messages about threesomes with Charlotte from Hotel Football".

The letter also detailed an incident of Mr Giggs sleeping with "someone else" when he was supposed to be picking her (Ms Greville) up.

It said: "Oh, and I know about Steph - she's married to the cricketer now."

Court hears of 'full-blown affair'

Ms Greville accused them of having a "full blown affair in 2014", which "carried on the whole time you were seeing me".

Ms Greville added: "Let's not forget about (name redacted)" - another woman he was accused of being unfaithful with.

The letter continued: "You will never lie to me or cheat on me again."

Ms Greville said she intended to keep the puppy she and Mr Giggs had bought, saying: "I think after everything you have put me through I deserve to have something good from this relationship."

She said she had "finally found out I fell in love with a person who doesn't even exist", adding, "I'm sad you could never be honest with me about anything."

The letter said: "You were constantly telling me you want to be happy but us girls can always tell when a man is lying and cheating.

"A little bit of advice: If you want to be happy with someone, be honest. Don't cheat.

"I believe you loved and still love Helen but you cheated on her with me."

The trial has been adjourned until Monday morning.

Giving evidence earlier in the week, self-confessed "love cheat" Mr 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 he was a "flirt by nature" and confirmed he had lied more than once to his ex-wife Stacey and PR executive Ms Greville.