Van Gaal: Sewing The Seeds of Success?

When Manchester United reached the end of their ill-fated football season with David Moyes at the helm, one thing was clear: they needed a manager that didn’t pander to public opinion, had complete faith in his own ability, and a philosophy capable of transitioning the team from the Sir Alex Ferguson era into a new chapter at the club.


They got all of those things, in the form of former Netherlands, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax manager Louis van Gaal. Whether Van Gaal has done enough to remain in the job for a third term is the subject of much debate, with many fans believing he has reduced United’s style of play to robotic possession football, with not much in the way of creative flair. There is however, an argument, to let the Dutchman stay another season.


Although United can no longer pip rivals Manchester City to fourth place in the Premier League , they can still win the FA Cup, Van Gaal will have achieved progress of sorts after coming up trophyless last season, and then adding the domestic knockout competition to United’s trophy cabinet. But putting immediate targets aside, Van Gaal has, in many ways, performed a selfless task.

In the face of torrents of criticism, he resisted the temptation to buy a huge amount of proven players ahead of this second season, instead preferring to purchase the youthful but unproven Anthony Martial, and concentrate on blooding United’s next generation of football stars from within. This is a risky tactic, not lending itself to the immediate success expected of every big club manager in the modern day.


But there is the sense that United are looking five years ahead, and are willing to bear the brunt of criticism now, in the hope that this crop of youngsters – Marcus Rashford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Jesse Lingard among them – benefit from the experience they are now being given.


If we are right to give United the benefit of the doubt in this respect, they may well have flown in the face of the knee-jerk tendencies of fans and critics alike and kept their eyes unwaveringly on building the foundations for something special in years to come. One thing’s for sure, if they wanted a manager to act as an unflinching protector of this long-term vision, they have found it in Van Gaal.


Contact:  Janie Rabet