Newsmaker – Louis van Gaal: All hail King Louis of Manchester

2014-07-21 08:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

David Moyes was unveiled as Manchester United manager about this time last year, taking up one of football’s most coveted jobs.

The problem was, United had not signed nor fired a manager in 26 years.

Just as it happened when Nelson Mandela stepped down, cartoonists had a field day predicting how hard it would be to fill Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes.

Ten months later, with 51 matches under his belt and a record of 27 won, 15 lost and nine drawn, Moyes was given the heave-ho.

His failure was a bitter pill to swallow for the spoilt United fans and administration after Ferguson’s 26-year-reign that yielded 38 trophies, including two Uefa Champions League titles and 13 Premier League championships.

Enter the swashbuckling Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal.

In his first press conference this week, the Dutchman had hacks eating out of his hand from the moment he entered the room.

The Telegraph’s Jim White was struck by how different Van Gaal’s relaxed, confident arrival in Manchester had been to that of Moyes.

White wrote that the latter arrived for his first press conference as coach “wearing the perplexed expression of a taxi driver who has been mistakenly hauled from the green room into the studio of a rolling news channel to give his opinion on the situation in Syria”.

Before taking Holland to third place at the World Cup in Brazil, Van Gaal was asked by a hapless journalist what he knew about Man United.

“It’s a stupid question,” the 62-year-old retorted. “Manchester United is the biggest club in the world. Who doesn’t know them?”

He knows the club, but he’s not afraid to change it.

Before he even started work, he sent a memo to the club ordering senior players to have their lunch promptly at 1pm with all the junior teams and their coaches.

This, he said, was to foster “a family atmosphere” similar to that he had achieved with the Dutch national team.

He’s also in no rush to appoint a captain, saying he wants whoever is wearing the armband to “earn it”.

Last week, asked if he’d considered taking a break after the World Cup, Van Gaal’s response was blunt. “Holidays are for wimps.”

Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Van Gaal is “a dictator, with no sense of humour”.

But the coach’s self-assessment is a little different.

“I am who I am: confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, hard-working and innovative.”

Gift of the gab aside, Van Gaal?–?whose playing record suggests he was an average midfielder?–?is no slouch when it comes to coaching.

He has won three titles in the Eredivisie?–?Holland’s top league?–?the Uefa Cup and a Champions League title with Ajax Amsterdam.

There were also two Spanish La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey with Barcelona, then a Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal Cup this year with German giants Bayern Munich, with whom he reached a Champions League final.

He has impressive timing too, officially joining United in the same week the club regained its position as the world’s most valuable sports team after signing a new deal worth $130?million (R1.4?billion) a year with Adidas.

On Friday, two days after reporting for duty, Van Gaal was on a flight to the US for a tour with a squad of 25 players.

The five-match tour kicks off on Wednesday and will see the Red Devils play LA Galaxy.

They will then take on Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Roma in the Guinness International Champions Cup.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.