The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
In all my playing time as a sportsman and listening to managers in all walks of life, I’ve thought about football management and come to my own conclusion.
Football management is ultimately a con job. A manager has to convince all of those in his charge that he knows what he is doing, even if he doesn’t. He has to make everyone — in the dressing room, in the media, in the stands — believe that he has the magic ability to make the team better. Players respond to those who they think will improve them. This is all they want in a manager.
Difference Between Moyes & Van Gaal
Those close to the action who followed Moyes Everton and Fergie Man Utd, like me, however, had a very different view. From the off I could have seen the appointment was a disaster. They, the media and Moyes’ loved ones, pointed to mounting evidence that the idea that Moyes was the natural successor to Ferguson was nonsense. The idea that he shared the great man’s footballing values and talents was based on nothing more than the supposition that if they both hailed from the same town they must embrace the same beliefs.
Immediately the difference is obvious with Van Gaal. He has a style, he has a method, he has a philosophy. His training is already enthusing the players. Based on technique rather than sweat, it is interesting, intriguing, improving. In matches he has a plan and he knows how to apply it.
Watching how it should be done during 2014 World Cup as Holland Coach, watching Van Gaal’s utter self-confidence when dealing with the press, watching the way he does everything. One must make Moyes think, “if only”. If only he had gone about it with a bit more gusto, a bit more ambition. Instead of apologising; if only he had been a bit more flamboyance. If only he had had a philosophy, he might have imposed.
Unlike the shambles of Moyes’ first few games in charge, Van Gaal has thus far presided over three victories (La Galaxy, 7-0; Roma, 3-2; Inter, 5-4 on penalties).
Tour matches are no proper indication of how a team will fare when the real competition starts, of course. But the sense of style, of ambition, of organisational control is unavoidable. This time MANCHESTER UNITED seem to have made an appropriate choice of manager.
David Moyes thinks he had the wherewithal and cunning to succeed as Alex Ferguson’s successor. He had done a magnificent job for over a decade on limited funds at Everton and I thought with the additional resources available to him at Old Trafford he would have grown into the role. Obviously, he would have needed time but provided there was no panic if things went wrong early on, he would have pulled through, but he didn’t.
Seeing Van Gaal has started doing it so easily, maybe it will make Moyes appreciate all the more pressingly that he was never equipped for the job.
Looking from the outside
How must he feel now, then, having blown the biggest chance of his life — the biggest managerial opportunity in the game — as he watches from a distance a man showing every indication of knowing precisely how to do it? Where Moyes stuttered and faltered, Louis van Gaal swaggers. Where Moyes swallowed and gulped, Van Gaal looks down his nose in disdain. Where Moyes wondered by what unlikely mistake he had ended up in the job, Van Gaal has the bearing of a man who thinks he should have been appointed years ago. His every utterance asks this fundamental question of United: what took you so long?
Dominique R Stowe
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].