Who should be the next Manchester United manager?

The events that have transpired at Manchester United in the past week can only be described as unbelievably anarchic and ridiculously subverse. The chaos around Old Trafford and indeed the footballing world has been somewhat unsettling for myself and the majority of the Manchester United fan base. Although the dust regarding David Moyes’s departure seems to be finally settling, many questions about the clubs future are still being asked and to be brutally honest their haven’t been any answers.

The Glazers at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United

This past week however, has given everybody a real insight to how the men behind the scenes at Old Trafford operate. A club that always suppressed information impeccably and went about their business quietly under the wise observation of David Gill and Sir Alex has been stripped of all dignity it had and magnified so thoroughly that it probably needs a few sessions of therapy. The way news regarding countless matters was leaked forced Manchester United into a metaphorical dark corner that they haven’t been in since the Glazer protests almost 10 years ago.

Manchester United fans waves their Green and Gold Scarves

Despite all the pandemonium, some things about Manchester United’s future has been made very clear. Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mouriniho and Carlo Anchelotti have all (probably quite wisely) dismissed the possibilities of taking up the hardest job in world football for next season at least. This is slightly upsetting in all fairness, these managers really do possess the appropriate credentials to take Manchester United into the future. This means that the likelihood of Louis Van Gaal taking over the squad is exceedingly high.

But does he fit the bill to take over things next season?

Although Van Gaal hasn’t ever experienced the challenges that come with being a premier league manager, his track record at certain clubs is nothing short of remarkable. He guided Barcelona to two league titles and one Copa Del Rey during his 3 year tenure, he performed miracles at AZ, who were at best a mid table club found themselves on a 28 game unbeaten run and crowned Dutch champions which was widely attributed to the managerial knowhow of Van Gaal. His most recent club success came at Bayern Munich where he became the first Dutch manager to win the Bundesliga and also led his side to the Champions league final in 2010. His distinct interest in utilising young talent has provided a stepping stone for the likes of Barcelona and Bayern to mature into world beating teams. Van Gaal is the one responsible for giving chances to the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Schwienstieger, Muller, Robben and Badstuber. Another thing which is somewhat enticing yet slightly concerning is that this guy is quite bonkers. This may seem like something wrong, but you have to be a bit bonkers if you’re going to take up this job. His ego is compelling and definitive, and if you’re not performing to the standards he expects then you will feel his wrath. He has an immense capability of dealing with big egos, which is something poor Moyes couldn’t boast. The Old Trafford congregation hunger for a return to the United way of attacking play. Van Gaal should guarantee such a revival. He favours a high, pressing style, often with pace and width when going forward. At Bayern, he bought Arjen Robben to join Franck Ribéry to ensure this. I must acknowledge that his history in the manager game hasn’t been perfect, failing to guide Holland to 2002 World Cup qualification and reducing Barcelona to a relegation threatened side in 2003 must be taken into account by Woodward and Co.


Despite this, there is somebody else who must be seriously considered for this job. Yesterday, Ryan Giggs marched out into a jubilant and revived sounding Old Trafford to thunderous acclaim. In those few moments before kick off he cut a figure of real poise and authority, he seriously did look as if he was the real deal. He promised a more attacking and positive style of play which was music to the ears of United fans. Yesterday we did get that. It was highlighted thoroughly when at 2-0, Rooney picked up the ball from a wide position and ghosted inside, releasing a powerful drive which was palmed away from John Ruddy, straight afterwards Jones drove in a cross towards a congregation of anticipating red shirts and Mata made it 3-0. The start of the game was promising but lacked that cutting edge in order to get in behind a really average Norwich side. It was evident at times yesterday that confidence was still quite low. Dare I say it, but if United had gone up against a side that counterattacked efficiently, the outcome may have been a bit less favourable. Was yesterdays performance any better than the 4-0 triumph at Newcastle the other week? I’ll let you decide.


If Giggs masterminds 4 wins in 4, displaying attacking verve and flair, then it will be hard for the Manchester United board to overlook Giggs as a possibility for the ‘hot seat’ next season. Giggs (along with some of the class of 92) acquires an unprecedented amount of  knowledge about the club and understands how the players function better than any manager on this planet. Nonetheless, the manager of Manchester United must have a proven record of success at the highest level as well as being clearly able to secure big signings and dealing with big egos. The reason David Moyes is currently unemployed is because he didn’t have these qualifications, and neither does Giggs.

So this is how it should work, Van Gaal and Patrick Kluivert should take up the roles that David Moyes and Steve Round had, but should also closely work with Ryan Giggs in order to keep things running along smoothly. This would ensure that the expertise and winning mentality of Van Gaal and Kluivert is accommodated by the wisdom of Giggs.

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  1. The romantic in me would love to see Ryan Giggs and the Class of ’92 become the permanent (well, ongoing) coaching team at Old Trafford. They are United through and through, and do have the trust of the fans.

    However, given the total disaster that was the Moyes era, I think the powers that be at Old Trafford will adopt a much more analytical and criteria-driven method of identifying and appointing the next manager. The appointment of Moyes via a tap on the shoulder by Fergie was ludicrously flawed.

    United is an elite club which needs an elite manager and at this stage, Van Gaal is much more likely to be seen as that person rather than rookie Ryan. There are unknowns whatever choices are made but I reckon this time, the hard-headed bean counters will hold sway over the romantics. It appears we have had enough risk taking for the time being.

    • Having said all that I think Giggs should get the job with his Class of ’92 mates as his assistants and most importantly he will use Fergie as a mentor when required. That way there is no need for Van Gaal’s experience, it’s coming from Fergie when it’s needed. Something Moyes didn”t do.

      Modern coaching is more of a young man’s game these days and the need for a coaching and recruitment team is becoming apparent. A sixty two year old Van Gaal turning up as a new manager at O.T. and looking for assistants seems to be not very forward thinking. Certainly not as forward thinking as giving the job to an ambitious Giggs with Fergie as guide in the background. What can Van Gaal bring to the situation that Giggs couldn’t get from Fergie and his assistants? There is talk of Kluivert or Keane being Van Gaal’s assistants. Why, what are either of those two going to bring that isn’t already there?

      Van Gaal’s job with Holland is finishing in July and no doubt he is looking for work and a final big payday before retirement. I don’t blame him for that. His best years are behind him especially since he is now a parttime national coach.
      He is older than Fergie was when he first decided to retire.

      What United need is a young ambitious, talented, driven manager who has already learned under the master and who can always call on him for advice. (Quite different to Moyes who stuffed things up on his own). He will also have much better coaching support. They are all steeped in the United culture.

  2. I would like to see R.giggs as united manager but van.gaal is also good and giggs can gain more experience as manager with him

  3. If my research is correct Van Gaal has had two trophy-winning seasons in the last fifteen years,

    Is that the recent track record you want from a sixty two year old new United manager?

  4. Would be great for British football if Giggs got a stint at manager,not that he would,nt be buying foriegn speaking lads like the rest of em.Just that he knows the English game.They could make it a super Young Club.Nope it,s gonna get milked by cv experience and big Money making names.Think Giggs will make it sometime for se..

  5. When I first heard that LvG (sounds like a trophy for non-League clubs!) was a possibility I was excited. That was based on an impression formed over quite a few years, that he was a tactical genius.
    Plus, now hearing stories of how he laid the foundations at Bayern and Barca.

    My heart goes with Giggs for all the reasons that everyone else’s heart goes with him. He young, ambitious, and lives and breathes United.

    BUT….. we need someone capable of handling new transferees-in, maybe even baing part of the negotiations (not necessarily money, but playing time etc) – which is why I would have gone along with LvG plus Giggs for 2 to 3 years. And – it takes time to learn the manager’s biggest art – delegation. No matter how ambitious you are.

    But, Mr Everyman, you have put forth a VERY strong argument. Fergie playing the LvG role?? If he was prepared to put the hours in – rather than the odd phone call – then that would be my beats-all choice…….

  6. Van Gaal does have the edge over Giggs in the area of recruitment and transfers of players. As a long standing coach and an international one, he will have watched lots of players and will have excellent contacts in Holland and Germany. Giggs, as just a player, can hardly be expected to have the same network of contacts.

    That is why I see a role for Alex Ferguson. That raises questions about Fergie’s position on things. Of course, he will have views, but is he interested in a defined role, rather than just being available for a chat over the phone. Is he happy to have retired and only interested in being a spectator? The spectacular disaster that was the Moyes era shocked most of us and certainly would have hit Ferguson hard, since he gave Moyes the job. Does that mean that he feels like distancing himself from the running of the club, or conversely is he itching to help put things right?

    A part-time role for Fergie where he is responsible for the identifying and recruitment of players would work. It would be quite separate from coaching the team. That’s the manager’s job. Giggs and Ferguson have strong relationship and as long as the roles are clearly defined then I see no real problem. It would allow United to get a bit more out of Fergie whilst Giggs is evolving as the manager.

    It all depends on the attitude of Sir Alex and of course, the men in grey suits.

    • Well, I must admit, having Fergie effectively in the continental ‘Director of Football’ role certainly sounds highly appealing.

      But I have my doubts that Fergie would commit the time. After all, he now has his professorial role in the States to fulfil (doesn’t that contradict his reason for retiring in the first place – to spend more time with his wife – or does she go to the USA with him? – then again I guess she could go on his player-reconnaissance and agent-negotiating trips with him, I suppose).

      So my own alternative to the LvG bandwagon would be to bring Rene Meulensteen back. Not quite as a Director of Football, but someone who would give Giggs a bit of experience in the coaching team, and also give Giggsy a bit of free time to discuss transfers with his scouts.

    • Old Salford Red, you are probably right about the lack of availability of Ferguson. Someone like Meulensteen could definitely fill a support role for Giggsy. There are so many ‘roles’ that a manager has to take on at a club as big as United, that there is a place for a ‘management team’ to support him. As you said, the manager needs to learn the art of delegation.

      I was surprised that Fergie did not create a line of succession within the club, or at least a blueprint for the future, for when he retired. He has built the club almost from the ground up since 1986 to be a genuine, elite world class footballing organisation. He would want to preserve that. Fergie made a point of employing ex-United players as youth team and reserve/U21 coaches, plus Phelan as his assistant, to maintain the tradition, ethos and philosophy of the club. The class of ’92 are exactly the kind of trusted ex-players that Fergie would want around the place, perhaps in key positions, to help carry on the United tradition.

      It was surprising therefore to see Moyes given the job and the power of hiring and firing that went with it. Why didn’t Fergie recommend a promotion from within eg. Meulensteen or Phelan? Why didn’t he groom Giggs as his successor? In his book Fergie talks about being against the fast tracking of young managers.He thinks they need to serve an apprenticeship lower down the food chain before they are considered for a big job. Presumably Moyes fitted the bill, as being time-served.

      I see nothing wrong with a young manager such as Giggs coming in and then wisely chosing as his support staff, individuals who have the talent to fulfill roles which can help Giggs as he develops as a manager. That’s a world away from clueless Moyes turning up with his equally clueless cronies from Everton. So rather than Giggs being an assistant to a more experienced manager, he, Giggs becomes the manager and he ‘buys in’ the kind of support that can help overcome any shortcomings caused by his perceived current lack of experience. Funny thing experience, Giggs might have little management experience but twenty three years in the first team at United makes him the most experienced elite club footballer on the planet. Got to be worth something.

  7. Spot on, Mr Everyman, as ever!!

    Now tonight we have to listen to Moyes’ blue-eyed boy, the “detached-house-a-week” player who in my humble opinion is now behaving as if he really IS bigger than the club.

    I’ll wait until tomorrow to make sure that I’m not just jumping to false conclusions and to make sure the press get their facts straight…….

  8. I would like to see R.giggs as permanate manager of manchester united. He know united very well than other. He know his game style,tradition etc… And his assistant is good also with n.butt,scholes and neville. I would prefer that he call ole gunnar solskjaer also to join the class 92. I know he had a bad phase at cardiff. But he is talent and have won everything with molde as manager. And as united reserve coach also.

  9. I know solskjaer is having bad phase to keep cardiff survival in premier league. But he is learning from these difficult moment. He has won with molde now he fighting for relegation. I would say join giggs as assistant coach

  10. Utd should bring bring back Meulensteen, mike phelan and richard steele to assit Giggs if he is to be come the manager.

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