Amidst the spotlight of an exciting 3-3 draw between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park was the feeling of infinite refreshment. This was not the fragile Newcastle, lacking in character and mental courage to challenge the top dogs and to pull themselves out of a relegation dogfight. This too was not Manchester United, boring staid possession, sideways passing and Read the rest of this entry
There was a period – in March – when the mist seemed to clear and the road ahead could be seen with more clarity. Manchester United were rampant, ruthless and effective. As they swept aside Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City, the thought was that finally those intricately prepared patterns on the Carrington Training Ground were starting to Read the rest of this entry
Take two! Like a setting from a film set, with the director angry at the acting in the just shot scene, the post-Ferguson era at Manchester United is at its second take.
The first take was disappointing. David Moyes arrived at Old Trafford and the ridicule seemingly followed him in. Previous highs crashed to mediocre levels. It came as no surprise when he eventually crashed and burned out.
Louis van Gaal has replaced him. His managerial CV includes Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona (twice), AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich and the Netherlands national team (twice). His titles include a Champions League trophy, league titles and cup wins in Holland, Spain and Germany.
Described by Jonathan Wilson as red-faced and dogmatic, van Gaal’s managerial career has developed steadily. The older, the wiser. His strict and stubborn approach to his philosophy in his early managerial years have now given way to a mixture of Read the rest of this entry
Crisis brewing, egos clashing and a deference to arrogance. That has always been the story told of the Netherlands. An international football team which is prescribed on its own philosophy rarely lives up to the expectations demanded. The ambitions have only ever been met in 1988. Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten added international glory to Rinus Michels’s CV at the European Championships in Germany.
They have never gotten as close again.
Indeed, maybe they have. At the 2010 World Cup, they were in the final and were four minutes away from Read the rest of this entry