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Author Topic: During a tempestuous two years as Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal was derided as a relic,  (Read 26 times)
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« on: July 27, 2019, 12:48:09 AM »

During a tempestuous two years as Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal was derided as a relic, a manager at odds with the modern game who, rather than galvanise his expensively assembled squad into a premium attacking force, instead focused on an outdated 'philosophy' that drove supporters to despair.
Following 'the Iron Tulip's' announcement of his retirement, yesterday, the danger is that this final two years of Van Gaal's career is how he'll be remembered by a good portion of modern football fans, rather than as the man who's devotion to developing youth helped produce the finest players of a generation and also gifted the world an Ajax team of Kluivert, Davids, Seedorf, the De Boers and Van Der Sar.
Even under his Old Trafford stewardship, youth thrived, most notably with Marcus Rashford emerging as one of the most exciting English talents since Wayne Everton Trikot Kinde Rooney.
In total, the Dutchman handed first team debuts to 14 academy graduates while he was in charge at Old Trafford, although most of them are now either no longer employed by the club, out on loan or being used in a squad rotation system rather than as first team regulars (hello Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah).
Just over 20 years ago, Van Gaal was a revolutionary rather than a relic and, thanks to an 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert, he was the manager of the European Champions, with Ajax lifting the 1995 Champions League after seeing off Fabio Capello's AC Milan in the final in Vienna. Van Gaal would go onto lead his teams to two more Champions League finals, with Ajax again in 1996 and Bayern Munich in 2010, although both would be losing efforts.
Van Gaal's two spells with Barcelona brought with them differing fortunes, with two La Liga titles in his first spell counterbalanced by a disastrous spell in the early stages of the new millennium which saw the former Netherlands coach depart Catalonia with Barca hovering just three points above the relegation zone. However, his tenure at the Camp Nou saw the laying of the foundations for one of the greatest club teams of all time, with Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes all being brought into the first team by Van Gaal.
An 18 month spell in Bavaria with Bayern was typically tumultuous, with a domestic double and Champions League final place secured in his debut season in the Allianz Arena dugout. Just under a year later and Van Gaal was leaving his Bundesliga champions in familiarly volatile circumstances, but did so with David Alaba and Thomas Muller now established in fotbollströjor barn the first team set up.
More recently, just weeks before he arrived at Old Trafford, Van Gaal led a relatively inexperienced Netherlands team to third place in the 2014 World Cup, succumbing only to Leo Messi's Argentina on penalties in the semi-finals. His young side's tournament would be remembered for their iconic 5-1 dismantling of then World and European champions Spain during the group stages.
Not a bad side to say they cost Van Gaal a combined fee of **** all. So let's maybe start remembering the Dutchman as one of the most important coaches of the past 30 years and not the cantankerous bastard who looks suspiciously like a Dutch Martin Sheen, who bored English football fans to tears on the pitch for two years. Even then, he still came away with an FA Cup, so he can't have been all bad.
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