By Tony Attwood
Man U want a new manager, and that means Louis van Gaal according to the pundits. But it seems he wants to bring five specialist staff with him and Man U don’t like that because they brought in a whole team of new people with whatever the guy’s name is – the one they had last time.
And worse, no one is quite sure what one of the five does. But more on that in a moment.
But never mind, say Man U, we’ll have that guy from Real Madrid. OK, except, maybe he doesn’t want to come. After all looking at the team he has got, why should he want to unravel a squad like Man U, deal with owners like Man U and do it all again?
Edward Woodward is the man who draws up lists of candidates for jobs at United, usually, it seems, without asking them first. (Actually it happened to me once, although of course not in football. I was invited to apply for a job, went to the interview, and realised I was just a makeweight to enable the interviewing panel to rubber stamp who they really wanted, while making it look like a real selection process. So I walked into the interview room, they asked me why I wanted the job, I told them what I thought of them and their fake process, and departed. I was quite surprised at myself, but rather pleased that I had done it.)
Anyway, Man U in their arrogance state that Van Gaal, Ancelotti and Diego Simeone of Atlético Madrid will of course all want the job – as will Jürgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund. So they Man U choose who to give their largesse to. Except some of them might well say either, “Not with old red nose breathing down my neck,” or “here is my list of demands” which is what Van Gaal seems to be saying.
Van Gaal of course doesn’t have a job once the Netherlands either win or are knocked out of the World Cup. But the notion that he might know what he wants to do and who he wants to having doing it, is a bit, well, foreign to Man U. They have had Sir F telling them what they want for so long, it is hard to imagine an alternative.
Besides muddling through while talking to referees is the normal English way. We don’t do organisation, planning, structure, thinking… That’s all a bit German.
So Edward Woodward wants the Dutch coach to work with Ryan Giggs – the thread of continuity. Or he could get Guardiola who might now be available. Except Giggs is the new Guardiola according to one newspaper report I saw so he doesn’t need him.
Arsenal will be ok when Mr Wenger finally retires, because his backroom team has been here a long old time. Boro Primorac will presumably move on, as will Vik Akers. Neil Bamford has been at Arsenal for 15 years, and he and Steve Bould might have to move on, but the youth team is being restructured this season, as Liam Brady’s reign comes to an unfortunate end, so that section of the club could be stable beyond Mr Wenger’s final departure.
Man U however appear to be lumbering themselves with old boys. And as we know just because a player has played well, it doesn’t mean he can do much else in football. Billy Wright anyone?
So setting Giggs alongside Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes will excite the media who love those guys, but not necessarily be the new manager’s choice.
Van Gaal works with the likes of Patrick Kluivert,k Danny Blind, Frans Hoek, Jos van Dijk and Max Reekers. Actually Max Reekers is an interesting person – always referred to by the single word “analyst” but with little explanation of what he analyses. Is he a psychoanalyst, or a football analyst? Internet coverage of him is a real cut and paste job – everyone says, “Analyst Max Reekers” and that’s that. Lazy journalists. (Well lazy me too because I don’t know what he does – but then, journalists are paid to find out).
All these funny foreign people coming in would mean that poor little Giggs would be pushed out of things a bit, but as we know the heritage of Man U says that he must be involved until he’s 200 years old, so that is a problem.
Perhaps the most amusing thing is that Sir Alex F is going to be involved in the appointment – just as he was central to making the appointment of the Moyes. Still he won’t be able to get it that wrong again. Will he?
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal