Ah, Louis van Gaal. The Premier League misses him, that’s for sure.
In amongst all the modern day drama, the sniping between managers and the mind games, all that’s missing is someone clearly with a screw or two loose, but who gets away with it because they’re so loveable.
Van Gaal is the king of that particular wheelhouse. The Dutchman was only in charge of Manchester United for two years between 2014 and 2016, but he left us with so many classic memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Whether you’re a Red Devil or not, Van Gaal has made you laugh at some point in your life. But which are his best moments which bring a rye smile to our lips? 90min runs through some of the great man’s best wise cracks.
The reason we’re all here. On 28 February 2016, Van Gaal treated us all to his best impression of a diving Arsenal player – and it was brilliant.
Unimpressed with the ease at which the Gunners were throwing themselves to the floor, the Man Utd boss demonstrated it to fourth official Mike Dean, maintaining eye contact throughout.
It was a moment of genius, and one that will never be forgotten.
Chris Smalling may not be a Man Utd player any longer, but his legacy lives on – well, Mike Smalling’s legacy does, anyway! The AS Roma defender was sat next to Van Gaal in a press conference on a pre-season tour when the Dutchman introduced him as Mike Smalling.
His words were met with confusion by the press, who then slyly corrected Van Gaal, upon which he quickly realised his mistake. He won’t do that again! Only, he did.
After a victory over CSKA Moscow, the coach said: “David de Gea saved us and after that Michael Smalling has saved us.” Whoops…
Now we’re reaching some vintage LVG chat. Speaking to a reporter after his side’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City, Van Gaal lost his cool over Robert Huth’s hair-pulling on Marouane Fellaini, and the Belgian’s subsequent reaction and red card.
“When you see what Huth is doing to Fellaini, that’s a penalty,” said Van Gaal, before questioning the reporter. “Shall I grab you by your hair? What is your reaction when I grab your hair? Your hair is shorter than Fellaini but, when I do that, what are you doing then? It’s a reaction.
“Every human being who is grabbed by the hair, only with sex masochism, then it is allowed but not in other situations. They did it. They did it several times I think.
“Huth was the guy who grabbed the hair of Fellaini. I think the reaction of Fellaini is like a human being.”
Now for something ‘very weird’. When speaking ahead of another important Europa League tie, Van Gaal admitted he tells his players to ‘get horny’ in preparation for the games.
“Desire…it is a great word. I often use the word ‘horny’ with my players,” he stated, without a hint of embarrassment. Juan Mata was the unlucky soul to be sat next to his coach at the time, and confirmed that it’s true, and the players react in the same shocked manner as the press.
Ah, Uncle Louis…
Now, it’s not easy to earn your own song at a club, and when the fans do decide to honour you in such a way, it really should be a privilege. Or, you could simply create your own song about yourself, and hope it catches on?
Van Gaal opted for the second approach, telling the press: “Now the fans are shouting every week, ‘Louis van Gaal’s army! Louis van Gaal’s army!’ So also the fans are very satisfied with Louis van Gaal and my players are also satisfied with me.”
Anyone else feel a bit uncomfortable with the use of the word ‘satisfied’ after his previous outbursts?
Man Utd star Wayne Rooney was coming in for a bit of stick from the media in 2016, but Van Gaal wasn’t having any of it.
“You have criticised him, I don’t,” he said. And just as Van Gaal had got up to leave the room, he turned back to face the journalists, pointed a finger at his unlucky target and said: “You too, fat man.”
That’s put him back in his place.
Van Gaal wasn’t a huge fan of fulfilling his media duties, and quickly grew tired of the typical questions. But he went one further when asked about the possibility of signing Ashley Cole as a replacement for the injured Luke Shaw.
“He didn’t play for a year,” Van Gaal noted, while giving the journalist a gentle yet telling slap across the chops. Only Louis could get away with that. Classic Louis.
It wasn’t just as Man Utd manager that he made his feelings known, however. While working on Dutch TV, he was shown a clip of Paul Merson, who claimed: “The quicker Liverpool go out of the Champions League, the more of an unbelievable chance they have to win the league.”
It’s fair to say, Van Gaal did not agree entirely with this opinion. “This man is not normal. Liverpool shouldn’t take his bad advice into consideration,” he said. Woof.