Sir Alex Ferguson won 24 major honours with Manchester United (Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League). He is widely regarded as the modern era’s greatest manager and is in an all time hall of fame that contains the greatest managers the world has ever seen. In short, he’s an Old Trafford legend. However, it didn’t always look like this was going to be the case. It took him four years to win his first major trophy, and in that time there were plenty of loud and vociferous calls from the fanbase for him to pack his bags and leave.
I mention this now because those same calls are being heard again at the Theatre of Dreams, and this time they’re directed at Louis van Gaal, who’s coming under fire not only for the slow, ponderous and frankly boring style of football his side are playing at the moment, but also because results in this first half of the season haven’t really been good enough. Dumped out of their Champions League group after never really getting going in the competition, they’re now in crisis mode in the league as well after consecutive defeats to newly-promoted Bournemouth away and Norwich at home.
Looking at those results then, as well as the frankly soperific football that the side is playing, one can easily see why fans are getting agitated with what they see as a complete lack of progress since the Dutchman was appointed back in summer 2014. For fans used to regularly seeing their side win silverware, these fallow periods will inevitably be hard to take.
However, I believe Man United would be making a grave mistake if they were to sack Van Gaal now. His reputation, and the fact that he successfully managed to get them into the Champions League last season surely means that he should be given at least until the end of the season (or very close to) to try and turn things around and get United back on track. This would be a fair amount of time to give him, bearing in mind that the Red Devils are still definitely in the running to win the league this season, as well as no doubt preparing to have a good crack at the FA Cup and maybe an extended run in the Europa League.
I also think that if they do get rid of the current manager now smacks of panic . Already half way through the season and with the January transfer window looming just around the corner, surely it would be far better to wait for the end of the campaign, and then if the hierarchy are still unhappy with how things are going, make a change then?
Nobody is saying that this season has not been a poor one so far for United and Van Gaal. However, this is a club which does not panic and is always exceedingly meaningful about hiring and firing managers. It would be a shame for everyone if that changed now. Getting rid of LVG would only destabilise the current squad and the club even further, and potentially make it even less likely that they can achieve what they want to this season. Patience is an underrated and underused virtue in football these days, and the United fans could do with some of it right now.