Louis van Gaal slams Manchester United chief Ed Woodward for having “zero understanding of football”

Ed Woodward, Manchester United.(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Ed Woodward, Manchester United.(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) /

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has criticised the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for his lack of footballing knowledge.

Louis van Gaal has blasted Manchester United executive vice-chairman for having “zero understanding of football” in a candid interview.

The Dutchman was appointed as manager at the club in 2014 following the sacking of David Moyes, taking the Red Devils to a 4th place finish in the Premier League – three places higher than they had managed in the previous season.

However, in van Gaal’s second season in charge, United missed out on Champions League football after finishing in 5th place – although they did cap the season off with an FA Cup win.

Nevertheless, the manager was dismissed soon after his side’s cup glory, as the fans were dissatisfied with the football being played under him and the board were disappointed with the lack of progress in the league

Van Gaal has since defended himself from such criticisms, stating that United were a poorly run football club at the time while comparing them unfavourably to the sides he had managed previously in his career.

Sitting down with German magazine 11 Freunde, the 67-year-old said:

"“At Bayern [Munich], the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that.“At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO – somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker.“It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective."

These comments suggest that the reason why United were so poor under van Gaal was because the club was being run by money men who had no expertise in football.

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Woodward is an unpopular figure among fans of the club as well, with a banner labelling him “a specialist in failure” even being flown above Old Trafford during United’s Premier League clash with Burnley this season.

Van Gaal’s scathing critique of his former chairman did not carry over to the manager who ended up replacing him, Jose Mourinho, who the Dutchman in fact admires and agrees was as the right choice at the time:

"“I don’t hold it against the club. They wanted Mourinho and he was on the market.“But appointing Mourinho was obviously interesting from a business point of view.“He wins games. And for a club like United, the main thing is to win trophies.”"

Mourinho suffered the same fate as his predecessor when he was sacked mid-season after leaving United 6th in the Premier League table with a minus goal difference.

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The Red Devils’ current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has vowed to turn things around at the club, although it remains to be seen whether Ed Woodward will back him in the summer transfer window.