van Gaal: a new hope

Ann-Arbor

It is, to paraphrase John Cleese, not despair, but hope that is so hard to take. Common idiom, perhaps, but one that has become more relevant to Manchester United supporters over the past 12 months. After all, there were plenty of false dawns in David Moyes’ calamitous Old Trafford reign before despair set in; many […]

United set to profit from van Gaal’s “Hollandisation”

Hollandisation

Criticism followed David Moyes in the manner praise seems to bless new Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal. The Iron Tulip’s magic touch kissed this summer’s World Cup as it had, for better and sometimes worse, at Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar. There was little about Moyes to spellbind. Two weeks on the […]

van Gaal ushers in a brave new tactical dawn

Louis van Gaal training

While the 7-0 scoreline spoke amply to its effectiveness, it was Manchester United’s tactical complexity that astounded in Louis Van Gaal’s debut against LA Galaxy on Wednesday night. The veteran manager’s strategy was far more intricate and exotic than any employed by David Moyes’ yet the team carried out the plan with remarkable fluidly despite an […]

van Gaal gets busy erasing Moyes’ legacy

Louis van Gaal, Wayne Rooney

There has been no word on David Moyes’ fabled iPad bunker. You know the one – the Scot’s replica of Everton’s Finch Farm transfer headquarters: whiteboard lists of targets and touchscreen analytics married effortlessly to interactive profiles on players from Aberdeen to Zenit St Petersburg. It was, we were told, the modernisation of United’s archaic […]

Everything you wanted to know about pre-season

Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal’s 25-man Manchester United squad set flight for California on Friday ahead of a three-week pre-season tour of the United States – a regular summer fixture with so many stateside with sponsors to please. Games follow against LA Galaxy, AS Roma, Internazionale and Real Madrid before the Reds return home for the Premier […]

No limit to Reds commercial gain – now for squad renewal

Adidas Old Trafford

It is, in every sense, an extraordinary deal. Some 13 years after Manchester United first hooked up with Nike, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has brokered a shirt manufacturing contract with adidas that is worth at least £750 million to the club by 2025. Possibly substantially more. It is a deal that underlines United’s enduring […]

Coiffured Fellaini faces a United career cut short

Marouanne Fellaini

There is no degree of prolixity in an assertion that this has not been a good year for Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian’s disastrous first season with Manchester United ended with the Reds trophyless, managerless and the £27.5 million signing roundly criticised for a series of hugely disappointing performances. To cap a miserable 12 months, Fellaini’s Belgium […]

United’s new kit is…

Adnan Januzaj

The annual cycle of corporate nonsense and glib spin: Manchester United’s kit launch. Two years ago the club released, to much fanfare about Manchester’s “industrial heritage,” something akin to a £60 tablecloth. Last year, with a kit that actually drew positive supporter reviews, the spin centred on United’s green (but not gold) edge – a […]

Ander and Shaw add silk and steel as superstars wait

Ander Herrera

It has become awfully passé, the long-running debate about Manchester United’s midfield deficiency. After all, it has been six long years since United signed a proper central midfielder. And no, Marouane Fellaini doesn’t count. This is not exactly United’s road to Damascus, but the club, it seems, has finally got the point as Ander Herrera […]

Valencia’s dubious reward for scant achievement

Antonio Valencia

There is so little to dislike about Antonio Valencia. Off the pitch there are few late nights, no entourage of note, and no hint of the now wildly popular biennial tantrum during contract negotiations. The Ecuadorian is a family man, settled in Manchester and enjoying life in England. In training he is dedicated and professional; the “quiet, shy boy,” Sir […]