From the lifting of the title with Man United to the release of Salford City – the decline of Darron Gibson
Darron Gibson went from lifting the Premier League alongside Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at Manchester United to paying his wages in the fourth division.
Now, his former teammates and friends made the decision as owners of Salford City to turn the door on him and not extend his six-month deal after League Two clubs voted to end the season early amid the corona virus pandemic .
Gibson faces the prospect of non-League football unless he can convince another Football League side to give him a bone. But how did it come to that? A Premier League winner under Sir Alex Ferguson scrambling to his eighth professional club.
Alongside Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes, Darren Gibson (right) won the Premier League title in his last season with Manchester United in 2010-11
He left for Everton and then for Sunderland, but off-field problems soon made headlines
He avoided jail after pleading guilty to drink-driving while he was a Sunderland player in 2018
While the frustration and disappointment has lingered on Gibson since leaving Old Trafford, it is important not to forget the impression that he broke into the team.
Handed over his debut of Ferguson against Barnet in the League Cup in 2005, the year he received the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award after being the standout player from the club’s academy, there was great expectation to see how the Republic of Ireland’s midfielder would board.
Gibson didn’t have a star role early on, but soon settled into the group, more than his own, as Gary Neville, also a co-owner in Salford City, rejected suggestions that kids were getting runouts.
CAREER CV OF DARRON GIBSON
2005-12: Manchester United
– Royal Antwerp (LOAN – 2006-07)
– Wolves (LOAN – 2007-08)
2018-19: Wigan Athletic
2020: Salford City
“For a start, they are not children,” said Marcel after a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in 2009.
“They are experienced players and they are on the right side of the team. Some criticism is sometimes unfair, but that’s just playing for Manchester United. Lose a game and that’s what happens. ‘
There were high points, no more than his thunderous finish against Bayern Munich in a quarter final of the Champions League in 2010-11.
Rigged by close friend Wayne Rooney, Gibson threw the ball past the goalkeeper, as United won 3-2 at night and eventually went out on a 4-4 tie.
Ferguson even indicated that Gibson could become the next Scholes under his supervision. His ceiling didn’t appear that high until 2010.
“It’s the kind of contribution we got from Paul Scholes,” said Ferguson a year before Gibson lifted the title. “He always gave me 12 to 14 goals from midfield and we haven’t had such a player in a while.”
With a range of talented midfield options as a league, along with an unpleasant injury early in the 2010-11 season, Gibson was limited to 60 appearances and scored 10 goals, before a move beckoned to him. At the age of 24 he had to play regularly and with a Premier League winner medal around his neck, his stock was high.
Gibson (left) is close friends with Wayne Rooney (right) and the pair are often on vacation together
He emerged as a major talent from the club’s academy and was seen as a potential heir to Scholes
He scored a wonderful goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in 2010
Gibson is particularly close friends with United’s top goalscorer, Rooney. The couple went on vacation together and their families know each other well.
Rooney has been cited on more than one occasion because he played a major role in Gibson who chose Everton after United.
“I think it’s a good move for him,” said Ferguson at the time. “He has great ability, Darron, but he knew he wouldn’t be a regular team here all the time.
“He played some great games for us, but unfortunately he got an injury early in the season that kept him out of the game for ten weeks, but he’s back in shape and it’s a good chance for him.”
Gibson himself seemed to shake off the disappointment at the departure from United.
“It was the right time for me to move on to Manchester United,” he said. “Hopefully I can improve Everton, it’s a great club with great fans.”
And the next five years he was in Goodison Park, anchoring midfield.
He worked for two seasons under David Moyes for Roberto Martinez and then Ronald Koeman. With each managerial change, his side impact decreased and his off-field problems became more serious.
In September 2015, he was banned from driving for 20 months and was sentenced to a 12-month community warrant after pleading guilty to drink-driving, careless driving and unstoppable crash scene after crashing into three cyclists.
Koeman’s arrival ended the point where he appeared only once before being sold to Sunderland along with teammate Bryan Oviedo in 2017.
Sunderland had attempted to sign Gibson after being made available by United, but failed.
It was Moyes who reunited with him and Oviedo at Wearside and with the Premier League club bottom, his job was to inject some quality into an ailing squad.
But it didn’t get any better, Gibson and the rest of the team were relegated. And it all started to unravel, both on and off the field, for the Irish international.
Just hours after Celtic was 5-0 in the preseason in July 2017, Gibson was caught on video camera in a hotel bar where he punched his own side “and said some of his teammates don’t care.
During the dirty-mouthed rant he can be heard saying: ‘We are f ****** s ***’, ‘There are too many people in the club who don’t give a ***’, and ‘Maybe I am out of my head here, but I still want to play for Sunderland. The rest of them don’t f ****** ‘.
Sunderland was relegated and Gibson’s problems got worse at the Wearside club
The infamous rant was a major part of the opening episode of the Netflix documentary series’ Sunderland ‘Until I Die’ and Gibson was featured in the film, which recently had a second season and admitted to regretting what happened. Sunderland did not kindly record the video that surfaced and took action against Gibson after apologizing for his behavior in the bar.
CEO Martin Bain was interviewed by producers and made his point of view clear.
He said, “It just makes you sick. It’s a negative start to the season when you’ve tried to build so many positive things.
“There are plenty of negatives from the Premier League and the problems you have. You think you’ve left that behind and then Darron Gibson is doing something totally unacceptable to me, the Sunderland Football Club and all Sunderland supporters.
The club said in a statement at the time, “Darren [sic] Gibson has not behaved in a manner appropriate to Sunderland Football Club. As a result, we will start our internal disciplinary process to address the issue. Darron apologized this morning. ‘
Gibson’s northeastern nightmare ended less than a year later when the club canceled his contract for pleading guilty to drink-driving. He made 30 appearances after joining Everton.
The midfielder was found to be three times above the limit after clicking a taxi and then driving a few miles before crashing his Mercedes 4×4 into several parked cars on his way to Sunderland’s training ground on St Patrick’s Day in March 2018.
Wigan Athletic gave him a lifeline, but chose to release him at the end of the 2018-19 season
Rebecca Laverick, prosecutor, said: “The defendant was spoken along the way, the police officers determined he was under the influence.
“He said he had two drinks the night before. That did not coincide with the way he presented, his speech was unclear and he smelled of alcohol. ‘
Gibson was eventually spared prison and received a two-year community warrant when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty.
The time when he was seen as Scholes’ heir had long since evaporated and with his stock so low, Gibson’s career was at stake.
Clubs had gone from squeezing his signature to reading the warning label. But Wigan boss Paul Cook decided to give Gibson the chance to turn his career around.
Cook said at the reveal of the player, “Darron is a talented footballer who has played at the highest level and is a good addition to our squad.”
His impact since the confrontation with Bayern Munich at Old Trafford had diminished to the point where he played 18 games for Wigan before being one of six players to be released at the end of the season.
Six months after the game followed, until some familiar faces gave him a lifeline in League Two – a far cry from the level he’d been used to for most of his career.
After months out of the game, Gibson signed for Salford City, but made only four appearances
After signing a six-month deal, Gibson said, “I’m looking forward to it, it’s a new challenge.
“I love where the club is going to try to push for promotion and I look forward to getting involved and getting started.
“It’s a personal challenge for me, I haven’t played in a while, I’m just looking forward to getting back on track.”
Salford, who was in the top half and pushed for League One promotion before the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, had secured a Republic of Ireland international with 27 caps to his name.
He would only play four times under boss Graham Alexander, and his six-month contract was signed with clubs that voted to finalize the score due to the cost of operating under the pandemic.
It was yet another disappointment for Gibson, another chance to get his career back on track, and by the age of 32 his future in the game could fall on the pyramid at any level.
From his group’s standout academy product in United to release by owners he once shared a locker room with, the decline was as sad as it was steep for a player once marveled at by legendary Old Trafford chief Ferguson.
FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT OF BAR RANT WITH SUNDERLAND FANS
Darron Gibson’s video addressing Sunderland fans at a hotel bar, uploaded to Twitter by Sunderland fan @cameronjmcgough, appeared in July 2017 after the club’s 5-0 defeat to Celtic in the preseason and the clip’s full transcript is read below
Gibson: “I know you’re not personal, I’ll answer you. We are fucking ***. ‘
Fan: “But are you having trouble with it?”
Gibson: “Of course I am.”
Fan: “It doesn’t seem to be you.”
Gibson: “I don’t want to be bothered … that we’re not. There are too many people at the club who don’t give a fuck. ‘
Gibson: “Do you want me to say it? You tell me who is not committed to the club. ‘
Gibson: “Yes, there is one. Next one.’
Fan: “Jeremain Lens?”
Gibson: ‘Next one.’
Fan: “Wahbi Khazri?”
Gibson: ‘Next one.’
Fan: ‘YOU? Howay Darron, you’re upset here. ‘
Gibson: “Okay, so maybe I’m crazy here, but I still want to play for Sunderland. The rest of them don’t. ‘
Fan: “You’ve absolutely gotten off Celtic today, Sunderland has been beaten up and you’re out of your face here – that looks good for the club, doesn’t it?”
Gibson (shrugs): “Do whatever you want friend, I’m not ** ed.”
Fan: “You’re not my friend.”
Gibson: “I understand what you are saying. But what I’m saying is, f *** ing … Jesus. Say whatever you want. ‘
Fan: “I’m not going to sit here to blow up smoke, you’re fucking fucking out here. It doesn’t look right. ‘
Gibson: “P *** by heart, who’s been knocked out?”
Fan: ‘Of course you are.’
Gibson: “Have you been knocked out of your head?”
Fan: “Not me buddy.”
Gibson: “Have I been memorized? No I am not.’
Fan: ‘Yes. You just do doggies for 90 minutes. ‘
Gibson: Doing 90 minutes of doggies? True?’
Fan: “Around Celtic.”
Gibson: “Around Celtic? I came in for 15 minutes. Bring him here. ‘
Gibson: “Because I haven’t been doing dogs for 90 minutes. I put his f *** ing head in it. ‘
Female fan: ‘Take it easy.’
Fan: “What he says is, we were beaten 5-0 and you don’t seem to be bothered too much.”
Gibson: “How does he know I’m not having too much trouble.”
Fan: “You don’t look crazy, that’s all.”
Female fan: ‘Are you on your way?’
Gibson: ‘Where to?’
Female fan: ‘The toilet.’
Gibson: ‘Stay there, see what happens. ‘
Female fan: ‘You what? “
Fan: ‘What’s going to happen? “
Female fan: ‘Just keep going. ‘