On our latest podcast, we discussed Manchester United’s insipid performance as they lost 3-0 to Tottenham. In this piece, United fan Ken Frampton (@Kframpton) reveals just what it is that Van Gaal has been writing on his clipboard during games. For more from Ken, visit his website.
Week after week, United supporters watch as their team struggles with incomprehensible tactical decisions, lackadaisical performance levels and being generally not good enough.
All the while, our fearless field marshall scribbles furiously as he keenly observes the goings-on from pitchside. I’ve asked Ryan Giggs to steal a glance and fill us in on the Dutchman’s stratagems and deepest thoughts. Here’s what we’ve learned.
“REMINDER – Change full-backs for no good reason around the 60-minute mark. ALWAYS. Everyone knows this is the position from which a managerial genius can most quickly impact the match.”
LISTED – Every player has a so-called ‘natural position’. The Dutch master keeps a neatly typed list of these so that he may disregard them when making the team sheet or when planning substitutions. All world-class managers do this to keep the opposition manager and the lads themselves ‘on their toes’.
TACTICS BOARD – This is an indispensable tool when having to explain to Ashley Young that he is to play as a centre-forward, rather than say… Martial. Only with a visual aid will he understand the depth of the manager’s tactical nous.
“TO TRY – Fellaini needs more game time, perhaps he could play goal while I allow De Gea to play as a winger? That will really confound the other team!”
“DEAR DIARY – Ed and I don’t seem to get on like we used to. Lately, he’s been very cold and distant when I ask him about his plans for the summer and how much money I’ll have to spend. I think he’s been talking quite a bit to some fellow named Joe or something, and he shoos me out of the room when they’re on the phone together. Should I be worried?”
BARCLAY’S, MARKET STREET, MANCHESTER – Location of the safety deposit box where I keep the top secret photos I have of Ed and his ‘incident’. He’ll never fire me!
REMINDER – The season is almost over, I’m likely to get the sack and not achieve one of my targets. Watch me stick it to the board and the supporters by doing as much crazy, inexplicable shit as I can so I can go out in a blaze of glory after leading the club to a majestic seventh-place finish! You thought Moyes was bad? Watch this!