Louis van Gaal attempted to resign as Manchester United manager twice during December but was talked out of it by Ed Woodward, reports The Times.
In some startling revelations, James Ducker discusses how Woodward convinced van Gaal to stay but the situation has now changed because the fear of missing out on a Champions League qualification spot, and the £35m that comes with it, has taken an overriding priority.
Let’s get one thing straight here – van Gaal will be remembered as a great manager for his career in football. His years at United are a stain on that record but he’s been great nevertheless. He wouldn’t reach the decision to resign on a whim, so why on earth would Woodward try and keep him in the job?
Was it because the right alternative wasn’t there? Potentially. Was it because the board liked van Gaal? Maybe. Was it because the politics inside United’s boardroom dictated he had to stay? Also a possibility. The problems with the club are deep rooted at the moment and Ducker’s seemingly exposing that here.
Writing in his column, Ducker said: “Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, twice talked Van Gaal out of resigning over Christmas, but the prospect of missing Champions League football for the second time in three seasons, and with it a windfall of at least £35m million, has left the club considering all options.”
This whole situation is starting to sound like the plot of a seedy film. Money driven decisions, people being convinced not to resign from their jobs, boardroom politics and an unnerving sense that the decision makers are steering United so far in the wrong direction. All we need now is a sex scandal to make it the full package.
Here’s something that now looks as much of a necessary inevitability as van Gaal being relieved of his duties; get Woodward out of that Executive Vice-Chairman role as soon as possible. Let him go back to doing what he does best in the commercial section of the business, an area he has proved he’s brilliant in but please, for the sake of the club, take him away from running the show.
United are in disrepair at the moment – from the football to the manager to the boardroom – and I think it’s a matter of time before the rotten foundations have to be completey replaced.