One more time: How not to sack a manager

Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal is sacked as manager of Manchester United. At least, that is what a thousand media reports said soon after his team won the FA cup this weekend

Plucking one such report out of many, I found The Sun’s ‘Dream team’ account on 21st May (the day before the match) claimed that the unfortunate Louis Van Gaal was about to be sacked and The Sun knew why and when

The Sun also rises

The Sun initially suggested the announcement would be at 2.30. Why? Because the New York Stock Exchange opens then (that’s 2.30 GMT or maybe BST). And MUFC ‘probably’ has to announce such things on the NYSE before making any official announcement. Presumably the club carefully avoided telling Van Gaal, as that might produce a remark from him triggering a leak.

Unfortunately, it didn’t need a remark from LVG for the story to get out.  The source has been widely cited as Jorge Mendes, powerful agent of Jose Mourinho. Jose is already believed to be about to become the new manager at MUFC.

Fortunately, those us not in the know were not left misinformed for long.  The Sun’s dream team followed up with another scoop, that the 2.30 deadline (invented by them a few hours earlier) had now passed. We could assume that van Gaal was still living on borrowed time at MUFC.

 Dream on

Perhaps the dream team had failed to dream up the right interpretation of events.  Maybe they missed the point that the New York Stock Exchange would be opening again after the weekend, as I write this post [Monday, 23 May, 2016].

Then some hours later, (these dudes working for the Rupert do the hard yards) had another scoop obtained from another part of the Empire on which the sun never sets.  Sky News has found out that it was indeed Jorge Mendes, Mourinho’s super-agent and self-made millionaire who leaked the news, AND IT WASN’T NICE AND HE SHOULD BE ASAMED OF HIMSELF!!

The reports of Jose Mourinho’s imminent arrival at Manchester United have come from his agent, Jorge Mendes, and not the club, according to Sky Sport’s Hayley McQueen:

Man United secured a memorable 2-1 FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday to win their first piece of silverware under Louis van Gaal.

But almost immediately after the win, news broke that United are set to announce the arrival of Mourinho on Tuesday, and revealed that the reports came from Mendes and not United:

The story develops

For several days, the story was kept alive without any hard news.  That being said, the substantive facts remained.  That MUFC was letting LvG go, and that The Special One was signed, sealed and ready to waltz in.

AS the BBC put it:

Forty-five minutes [after LvG arrived at th Unite Training ground} League Managers’ Association lawyer Paul Gilroy QC drove into Carrington.

Gilroy is the same employment barrister who acted for David Moyes when he was sacked as manager by United in 2014.

The BBC understands that Saturday’s FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace was Van Gaal’s last game in charge.

To be continued

The story seems to be substantially accurate.

The Author

Your editor of LWD who wrote this post followed the rise and fall of Jose Mourinho over the last months of his time as Chelsea manager in 2015. His book Mourinho Matters describes Jose’s long-time ambition to manage Manchester United, and ends with an account of The  Managerial Roundabout with the prevailing speculation that Jose would one day fulfil that dream.


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