Friday 27 May 2016

Louis Van Gaal Gave Manchester United Players And Staff Summer Schedules Before He Was Sacked

Louis van Gaal was so convinced he was seeing out his contract as Manchester United manager that he gave players and staff a programme outlining plans for the summer on Sunday morning. United's fringe players had broken news that Van Gaal was to be replaced by Jose Mourinho as the team celebrated in their Wembley dressing room with the FA Cup on Saturday.
As word filtered through there was a visible downturn in celebrations as players asked discreetly if there was official clarification. The United party continued at the Corinthia Hotel where they were joined by Sir Alex Ferguson and his brother Martin but the topic of conversation was dominated by Van Gaal's future rather than the celebration of a record-equalling 12th FA Cup win. United's board members were conspicuous by their absence and as Van Gaal woke to headlines about Jose Mourinho's pending arrival, he gathered his staff together as planned in a pre-breakfast meeting on Sunday morning.

He addressed them all, opening with the fact that as far as he was aware he was still their manager as no one had told him otherwise but expressed disappointment that, for the first time in his career, he was celebrating winning a title without any members of the board being present to share in the celebration. In his clipped Dutch tone, Van Gaal thanked his staff, praising them for being the best backroom team he had known in his career, before the emotion and uncertainty of the occasion visibly began to get the better of him.

Composing himself, the 64years old proceeded to hand out an itinerary for the summer and said he would see them all soon.  It was later on Sunday afternoon that van Gaal received a message from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward asking to see him at his apartment in Bowdon where it became clear that the rumours were indeed true and he was to be sacked. Van Gaal arrived at Carrington on Monday morning knowing his fate but still wished to say his goodbyes to the office staff who hadn't travelled to London.

For all his troubles on the pitch, the dignity and warmth he showed to people off it had earned respect from staff and some had to turn away upset as he tearfully told them of his surprise that he was leaving, saying he had fully expected to stay for another year. As he cut a lonely figure patrolling Carrington's corridors for the final time, the manner in which he had learned of his demise left many staff, even those players who wished for him to go, feeling sympathy for their former boss. They all felt 'The Iron Tulip' deserved a better ending.


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