FA cup hero to P45 zero

24 May 2016 | Lloyd Hughes

Smashing out the football blogs here before the season properly ends, so apologies as it’s now three on the bounce. But I can’t resist sticking the boot in yet again to Manchester United…

It’s been a bad week. For both them (PR wise at least) and me. I was worried that the week would pan out with Liverpool losing the Europa final and United winning the FA Cup. Sure enough, it happened. Twitter and Facebook have been filled with gleeful United fans laughing at Liverpool’s failure and their victory. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. 

But whilst I might lament Liverpool’s lack of success on the field and United’s win, I can at least gain comfort from another massive PR gaffe from the Manchester club.

Within moments of their victory news was spreading that they were sacking existing manager Louis Van Gaal to bring in Jose Mourinho.

Van Gaal was unaware of these plans until the BBC Sport website announced the club’s intentions whilst he was intent on winning the cup. The news was broken to him within minutes of the victory by his wife, of all people, who’d seen it on the news website. She was, apparently, very upset by this, which led to a tetchy post-match press conference for Van Gaal.

What an extraordinarily shabby way to handle the affair. According to reports, the arrangement was made with Mourinho mid-way through the season and kept secret from Van Gaal. If the Dutchman succeeded in achieving his objectives, then he’d be able to see out his final year (with United paying Mourinho to wait in the wings) and if he didn’t, as he hasn’t, then Mourinho would come in.

An FA cup win and fifth place isn’t good enough for Manchester United. United legend, Paul Scholes, stated earlier in the season that he didn’t want the club to be happy finishing fourth and winning the FA cup as ‘Arsenal do that’. Well, they finished fifth. And Louis Van Gaal has to go.

His team has played some awful football this season and it’s frankly unbelievable that they’ve managed to win a cup. He wasn’t the right man for the job, and his arrogance and supercilious approach was infuriating at times. But to sack him immediately after winning a cup? It’s astoundingly disrespectful. Like awarding employee of the month one minute and a P45 the next. Admittedly the club didn’t plan for it to work out like that, but if you start doing shadowy deals of that nature, it shouldn’t be a surprise when they bite you on the proverbial bottom. It’s a tawdry affair and United have been tarnished again.

Will Mourinho follow the usual pattern of successful season, successful season, fall out and ignominious exit? Fingers crossed. I can’t wait for the next implosion. The Chelsea manager’s job is seen as somewhat of a poisoned chalice, if Manchester United carry on like this, theirs will soon be the same.