David Gill calls for calm; Louis van Gaal admits he’s failed

It has been a turbulent season for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, a season he may not have expected at the Old Trafford club. Recently, United have not been doing all that well on the pitch, something which is directly attributed to the manager by many. Not the players on the pitch churning out uninspiring matches, not the hierarchy at the club, who have effectively failed to bring in the players that the club needed, not the now retired Sir Alex Ferguson, under whose watch the problems in the side first started. Pretty unfair I would say. Yes Louis van Gaal is at the helm of the failure, yes his philosophy does not seem to be working, but blaming one man for everything is a bit pathetic. In order to solve a problem, you need to sort the problem at its root, and I fervently believe that the root of the problem is not with Louis van Gaal.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Old Trafford, the sixth league defeat this season, the second of such at Old Trafford, was not the ideal result, but it was coming. The victory over Liverpool at Anfield was nothing special. United were lucky, as they have been in a few matches since the eight match winless run was ended at the turn of the new year. Things are not going to plan, and that is partly because we do not live in an ideal world. I can see the problems at the club like everyone else, but I am not reactionary. Calling for the manager to be sacked on social media is not going to do anything. Being abusive to the manager on social media is not going to do anything. Moaning about the club being in decline on social media is not going to do anything. It is clear that anything to do with social media is not going to do anything. Social media is not a controlling factor of a football club, all it does it shows the whingeing supporters who cannot accept what is currently happening.

One thing is for certain, the Dutchman now knows that he cannot reach the expectations set by the Manchester United supporters, which taken on face value look like the words of a man who has given up, or is close to doing that, but words can be taken out of context, and may be said, but not meant in a way many perceive them. After the 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday, Louis van Gaal said:

“I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans.

“They have – or they had – great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them, so I am very frustrated because of that.”

Van Gaal also spoke about the booing and jeering he and his side received at the end of the match, which saw United lose for the sixth time in the league this season, the second time at Old Trafford. Responding to that, the manager said:

“I agree with them, so it doesn’t have any impact [on me]. 

“They have also knowledge of football, of entertaining football, and you have to play football to entertain the fans.

“[On Saturday], I don’t think we have entertained the fans, so they can be very angry.”

It is clear that the manager knows why people are upset and want him to be sacked, but it is also clear, to me, that things are not working, but not only because of the manager. Why are the players not held accountable? Why is Ed Woodward not being held accountable for his failings? Why only the manager. It is clear that there are many contributing factors here that have put United into this position, but just getting rid of the manager is only going to solve one of those problems, with the other two problem areas still at the club, this could all happen again. The problems need to be rooted out properly, not just by a change of manager. How many have actually thought about that? Most are too busy calling for the manager to be sacked, with is rash and reactionary, it will only solve one thing, the failure caused by the manager, but the players and Woodward get off with it all once again. Poor.

I said to myself at the start of the season that I would see out this season with the manager in charge, then form my opinion on the two season he would have managed the club. I still feel the same way. United may be down, but they are not out yet. The way people moan on social media, you would think this is the worst season United supporters have ever endured. Worse than relegation in 1974. Worse than seeing eight promising players lose their lives. Worse than the club being close to bankruptcy and possible cease to exist. No it is not worse than any of that, or any other bad parts in the clubs history. United are a team in transition, and whoever is leading the club as manager, that will not change until the club changes. Whether you choose to agree with me or not, there is a lot more to this than just the manager causing problems.

Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill spoke to the media after Saturday’s defeat to Southampton, in effect calling for calm. Results have ben dire, just like the football, and the club needs to come out of this downward spiral and get back to playing the football everyone loves and more importantly, getting back to winning ways. There is disappointment, I am disappointed, I just don’t show my disappointment on social media, as that will (collectively) fuel the media to become negative about the club, which is one of the main contributing factors for all the discontent all around the world. On social media, you have the ‘top reds’ who are orchestrating discontent, many of whom live in India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria. People who have never paid a penny into the club, suggesting that the club does something to avoid losing their support. If that is what you call support, I’d rather lose it. Speaking about the results this season, the under achievement and the fact that the manager and his side are working hard to turn the results around, Gill said:

“Clearly we all hoped the results would have been better and everyone is disappointed with that. It’s been a season of under achievement.

“But I know that everyone, from the owners and Louis van Gaal and his team, is working extremely hard to turn that around. It’s not easy but we have to stick together.

“What you’ve got to do is stick to what you know is right to turn it around and don’t get too distracted.

“No one likes to see that. We’re fans as well as directors and we don’t want booing, we want cheering. But I think we’ve got to stay calm.”

Some of the abuse you saw at Old Trafford at the weekend was poor support. Booing the team is poor support. Yes supporters pay good money to see their side, but you should support the team. Seeing all this discontent could go one of two ways, the players will turn it around, or it will get worse. Player power is something that controls football. How many players do you see getting sacked for not doing their job on the pitch. Chelsea for instance. The players clearly stopped performing for Jose Mourinho, the manager than many want to see replace Louis van Gaal. The manager that forgets about the youth completely. The manager that has been pretty despicable in the past and acted like a spoilt brat when things did not go his way. Those players are still at Chelsea, playing for their new manager. Why did they not get sacked, docked wages, disciplined. Why sack the manager. Players control things collectively, they also come away without blame. Is that what everyone wants to see?

I am not saying the club should sack players, but let it be know that they have a job to do, and they should be doing it. They are well paid for what they do. Most are millionaires. Most do not care about the supporters. Against Liverpool the weekend before last, you saw Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo in the away end with United supporters. Previously you have seen the likes of Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and many others do the same. You don’t see some of the more established players doing that, do you. Yes the likes of Wayne Rooney have boxes, especially at Old Trafford, and have been seen there on match days, whether due to injury or something else, they have supported their team. But turning up to an away match, mixing with supporters? That is something that used to happen, but not so much in the modern era.

I still believe that changing the manager at this point in the season will cause more problems that it would solve. Many seem to be expecting something to happen today with the manager, but I doubt it. Too many supporters believe what it being reported in the media. Louis van Gaal is on the brink. That does not actually mean anything. On the brink is a negative phrase, but also an assumption which will make you believe the end is near, when in fact, it is a guess, nothing more. We are seeing poor support for the club here, too many people baying for blood. Too many people wanting another manager to be sacked. What if the next manager does not achieve instant success, which is what many are demanding? Do you then sack them and continue that conveyor belt, bringing in manager after manager? Maybe it is the supporters that are demanding too much at once.

Many have been spoilt by success, especially in the last 30 years, which saw Sir Alex Ferguson deliver 38 trophies to the club, including thirteen league titles, two UEFA Champions League trophies and a FIFA Club World Cup. Those days are gone, but with patience, they could be back. We as supporters have no right to demand the club win trophies, we do have a right to demand that we are entertained though.


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