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
Tuesday 03 June 2014
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.”
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Phil Hughes: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Schalke vs Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo admits thrashing by former side was most painful defeat of his career
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict