Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reveals he was a Tottenham fan and came 'very close' to joining Spurs

Louis van Gaal said he was a big fan of Tottenham and Jimmy Greaves when growing up

Amsterdam

Louis van Gaal, the Manchester United manager in waiting, revealed yesterday that he rejected the chance of taking charge at Tottenham Hotspur.

The Netherlands coach will replace David Moyes and join United following this summer’s  World Cup in Brazil. But Van Gaal, preparing for the friendly against Wales at the Amsterdam Arena tomorrow, admitted just how close he was to taking the Spurs job when Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed in December.

Van Gaal, speaking at the Dutch base on the outskirts of Amsterdam, said: “I came very close. Very close. As a little boy I was a fan of Tottenham Hotspur with the team of Jimmy Greaves when he was the champion.

“Jimmy Greaves was my idol. So I was very close. I was a fan of Spurs during my childhood. Those fantastic white shirts and Jimmy Greaves.”

The Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, visited Van Gaal in December, but he turned down the initial approach and then chose United over the north Londoners when Moyes was dismissed in April.

Van Gaal refused to talk about his new employment at Old Trafford as his focus lies with the Netherlands. Yet the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach did offer an insight into his management style. Van Gaal has a reputation of being a disciplinarian, but claimed he just wants to be loved by his players.

“I’m bothered about whether the players like me,” Van Gaal said. “It’s very important. I am a coach who wants a good relationship with my players. And I do everything to reach that level but sometimes it is not reachable as the players are not open-minded and don’t adapt to the norms that I put in the team.

“Most of the players [I have managed] are saying lovely things about me. There are also players who are very angry with me. Franck Ribéry, Luca Toni, Hristo Stoichkov and Rivaldo.”

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Sport
Wayne Rooney talks to the media during a press conference
sport
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?