Changing the Guard at Manchester United


Louis van Gaal shown the door


By Dave Daniel


Well, it’s all over for Louis van Gaal. He flew out of Manchester airport in a private jet to his house in Portugal on Monday. He had £6m in his pocket, being payment for his final year of his three season contract, which was terminated after his FA Cup win over Crystal Palace.


Winning the cup was never going to be enough of course. Missing out on the Champions League was the final nail in his coffin, but if Daniel Taylor of The Guardian is to be believed, there were plenty of other reasons why Louis was shown the door.


He had lost the trust of many of his senior players, they were tired of his strict training sessions, endless meetings, harsh dressing downs in front of team mates and a tactical template that went against all that United stood for.


Didn’t communicate well with the players


Daniel Taylor says : “One example comes in the form of Van Gaal’s “evaluation sessions” the day after every match when the Dutchman could be so outspoken in his criticisms – “he would crucify players in front of each other”.


According to one source, the two most senior players, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, went to see him to air their concerns that it was damaging for morale and, in effect, a self-defeating exercise.


Apparently Van Gaal took notice, but then starting sending emails to the players. Taylor claims that some players simple ignored these messages which included details of their faults with video to highlight his dissatisfaction.


When he suspected that his emails were not being opened he installed a tracker which told him if they had been opened and for how long. It smacks of a ” beatings will continue until morale improves “ attitude.


When there is talk of David de Gea wanting to leave because of Van Gaal then you can be sure it is the tip of the iceberg. If his relationship with the media (he calls them his friends!) is anything to go by then team meetings (of which there was no shortage ) would have been tense frosty affairs.


Is José the man?


What of his replacement?  It is certain that José Mourinho will be appointed in the coming days and may be given a war chest of £150m to spend. Given that Van Gaal spent £250m and for most of the two years served up absolute dross what can we expect?


Mourinho hardly seems a perfect fit. While he won titles at Chelsea he has a record of self destructing and rarely stays at a club for long periods.


His last season at Stamford Bridge was a train wreck with a well documented fall out with Eva Caneiro (the club’s highly respected doctor), senior players and of course, the media.


Sir Alex Ferguson has always liked Mourinho, but you have to wonder if he prefers him as a dining companion rather than the manager at his beloved United.


What do they do about Ryan ? It was generally accepted that Giggs would serve as Van Gaal’s understudy for three years before taking the reigns. He is reported at being disillusioned with his role and lack of influence, having given up on trying to convince the Dutchman to play with more attacking verve, in other words, the United way.


According to reports he has been offered a new role under Mourinho but his path to management may be elsewhere. I for one feel that one day he will be the United boss but a great player doesn’t mean a great manager and perhaps he should cut his teeth at another club.


Interesting prospects ahead

It has been an intriguing season with an amazing canvas being prepared for next season’s artwork.

  • Conte at Chelsea,
  • Guardiola at Manchester City,
  • Klopp at Liverpool,
  • Wenger at Arsenal,
  • Pochettino at Spurs,
  • Mourinho at United.


nd we can’t forget Raniero at Leicester.

How can we possibly forget Claudio? Some time ago you could probably have got 5000-1 on Donald Trump becoming president, the same odds for Leicester winning the premier league. I know which one I prefer.

The changing broadcasting scenario

A word now about next season’s broadcasting rights. The Premier League Pass will no longer be streaming games via the Internet. It has to go back to Sky, but I understand they are baulking at the $4m price tag and it is a worry.

Perhaps it is a case of brinksmanship but Sky do have problems, lots of them. Netflix, Lightbox, piracy and a dwindling customer base. Do they stick or twist?

I for one will be disappointed if they regain the rights but bump up the price because there was no decrease when they lost out to PLP two years ago.

These are tough times for the broadcaster and it will be an interesting off season for many reasons. Keep watching.