WHEN former league champions struggle to gain ten points from as many games, high profile petitions are launched against the manager and season ticket holders can be heard heckling the players during the games, you might not expect their chief to last much longer in the job, especially in an industry where managers are often dismissed as quickly as England in a penalty shootout.
Not so for Louis Van Gaal, however, who has gained notoriety for his direct way of dealing with the media as well as his style of possession football, which has been labelled ‘shambolic’ and ‘rubbish’ by members of the Old Trafford faithful. The 64 year old has promised both the fans and his wife that he will retire at the end of the next season, when his current contract with the Red Devils expires, but a recent poll found that 79% of Man Utd fans want to bring in a fresh face as soon as possible and it’s easy to see why. 13 times the side has failed to score in the first half, only once have they found the net before the break in a home league game and even David Moyes’ ill-fated period in charge was more fruitful in terms of league performance.
With all this to consider, why is it then that Ed Woodward and the board have not lost patience with the former Bayern, Barcelona and Netherlands manager? Perhaps as a name with such an impressive list of credentials they want to see if his experience will eventually shine through, and undoubtedly United’s satisfactory FA Cup form has been a help in a year when they’ve been relegated to the Europa League after failing to progress from their Champions League group – much like Sir Alex Ferguson during his times of turmoil with the Reds this could be giving Van Gaal time.
And what of the possible candidates to take over during such an important time in the club’s history? The shortlist is generally said to have two names now Pep Guardiola is out of the picture; Ryan Giggs and Jose Mourinho. Former interim player-manager Giggs is said to be Van Gaal’s personal first choice for the role, but may lack the experience to take on such a high profile job in what would be his first permanent role in management. Mourinho on the other hand is said to be keen to take up the mantle in Manchester and regain his ‘Special One’ status in English Football, but perhaps the Man Utd board may be less enthusiastic about a manager largely associated with close rivals Chelsea taking up the role.
That all aside though, there will be no new manager down at the Theatre of Dreams until Van Gaal leaves, and with 18 months left on his contract and the club’s executives reluctant to make any hasty decisions, perhaps United fans are stuck with the eccentric Dutchman for a little while longer.
Featured image: The Mirror