Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal echoes the sentiments of many a Red Devils supporter when he blatantly questions the acumen of club CEO Ed Woodward. Van Gaal, who managed the club from 2014-2016, says the all powerful and well known United executive knows absolutely nothing about football.
LVG added that it’s a really bad situation when a football club is run only from a business perspective. While LVG is certainly a figure who’s open to criticism, and then some, he’s definitely not wrong on these two points. Many fans and plenty of pundits have espoused his ideas.
The recently retired Van Gaal, who had several stops during his coaching career, harkened back to his days in charge at Bayern Munich.
“At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that,” the Iron Tulip is quoted in the Daily Mail.
“At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO — somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker.”
“It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective.”
It’s true- someone who is a genius in the board room (albeit with a product that essentially markets itself already) is not exactly the guy you want making roster decisions.
Van Gaal, who won the 2015-16 FA Cup in his final game in charge, was replaced by Jose Mourinho.
The Dutchman defended his oft-criticized record at the club, but also understands why Mourinho was appointed to replace him.
“I don’t hold it against the club. They wanted Mourinho and he was on the market,” the former Ajax manager continued, “but appointing Mourinho was obviously interesting from a business point of view. He wins games. And for a club like United, the main thing is to win trophies.”
“How they are won isn’t the main priority, the English fans see it differently. They accept that the game is not all about attacking but it is also about defending.”
Van Gaal was routinely slammed for his ultra-pragmatic style, which frequently resulted in goalless draw results, but he does not apologize for emphasizing defense.
“I always tried to defend high up the pitch, to be in the opposition’s half and play the game there,” he added.
Still, he is totally right about Woodward. The fact that we know so much about him, a former accountant who runs the c-suite, is very telling and not in a good way.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.
Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.