Let van Gaal leave Manchester United in peace

Relations between Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and the club's fans were irreparably damaged on Saturday when United fell at home to Southampton, 1-0.

Fans booed van Gaal as he left the field at halftime and after the game at Old Trafford. Afterwards, he admitted he had lost the United fans.

"They have -- or they had -- great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfill them, so I am very frustrated because of that," said Van Gaal. "They are right to boo. I cannot deny that. I saw the match. For better or for worse, we have to stick together. We are working very hard, but we have had a lot of injuries. That you cannot change."

The Guardian reported that van Gaal offered his resignation but Ed Woodward, the United executive vice chairman, talked him out of it and suggested he talk it over with his family back in the Netherlands, where he flew to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. Van Gaal will be back in Manchester for more talks with Woodward on Tuesday when a decision will be made.

The decision regarding the United manager is apparently Woodward's to make, not former boss, Alex Ferguson, who pushed for David Moyes to replace him, or former great Bobby Charlton or the Glazer family, the club's American owners.

Woodward will likely pick Jose Mourinho to replace van Gaal, though there is believed to be support from the old guard on the United board for assistant Ryan Giggs. (A long shot: snatching Pep Guardiola.)

The first decision Woodward should make is to give van Gaal the dignity to resign on his own. After all, the Dutchman has been involved in coaching for a quarter century and is one of the most decorated coaches in European soccer with league titles in the Netherlands (Ajax and AZ), Spain (Barcelona) and Germany (Bayern Munich).

He also won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995. Since then, only one team, Portugal's Porto in 2014, from outside Europe's big four leagues have won the top European title.

Saturday's boos marked a turn in van Gaal's relationship with the fans. Indeed, he often cited the faith Old Trafford supporters had shown in him as a reason he wanted to so desperately turn things around on the field. According to reports, he was almost fired after Christmas, but three wins -- notably a 1-0 victory and Liverpool -- and a tie at the beginning of the year eased the pressure on the 64-year-old Van Gaal.

The Dutchman's relations with the press are another thing. He has battled the Manchester media, but that's nothing new. When he exited Barcelona the first time in 2000, his closing lines were "Amigos de la prensa. Yo me voy. Felicidades" ("Friends of the press. I am leaving. Congratulations").

When he departs Manchester United, expect one final tongue-lashing from him directed at the English media.

1 comment about "Let van Gaal leave Manchester United in peace".
  1. ferdie Adoboe, January 26, 2016 at 7:24 p.m.

    And while you are at it, Send Gary Neville home as well.

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