IRRITABLY, Manchester United fans have a renewed spring in their step this summer, writes JAMIE CASEY. While us Reds are dealing with the loss of our flawed genius, left wondering what will become of this flamboyant side without him, that lot are lauding the arrival of a debatable genius in Louis van Gaal.
Their self-doubt last season was as refreshing as a P&D ice cream from Williamson Square, but sadly the bubblegum flavour has since melted, with the plastic spoon and pot tossed on the scrapheap alongside David Moyes.
Van Gaal hasn’t even graced his new minions yet, but already we’re being bored to death with tales of how big his balls are. Do they know his middle name is Maria and he used to teach gymnastics? Hardly the pinnacle of masculinity.
Let’s recall a better tale. Granted, it’s documented much greater than the time the Dutchman dropped his drawers to reveal his actual balls to the Bayern Munich dressing room, but with almost 13 years having passed, a timely recap should warm the heart.
After all, it involves former Anfield full-backs Steve Finnan and Jason McAteer. “Plastic Paddies” they might have been referred to in some quarters, but for Mick McCarthy’s reign with the Republic, they were every bit as important as those born and raised on the Emerald Isle.
To put things into perspective, Holland, whose starting XI boasted four European Cup winners at the time, had to win at Lansdowne Road with just three qualifiers remaining for the 2002 World Cup. Lose and they were out of contention altogether.
The bookies made them odds-on for an away win, and it’s little wonder given the line-up at van Gaal’s disposal: Van der Saar, Stam, Hofland, Melchiot, Numan, van Bommel, Zenden, Overmars, Cocu, van Nistelrooy, Kluivert.
With such attacking prowess, Ireland’s back four of the defensively inept Ian Harte, an aging Steve Staunton, a creditable but overweight Richard Dunne and the normally dependable Gary Kelly wasn’t expected to keep the visitors out.
When Kelly received a red card just before the hour mark, the Irish were on the ropes and given little chance of clinging on for the bell. But within 10 minutes of the sending off, McAteer delivered the most devastating knockdown, flooring the Dutch with an exquisite, perfectly-placed half-volley.
Finnan, then of Fulham and who would go on to bigger and better things in Istanbul, picked up possession on the right and took on Barcelona’s Phillip Cocu. Ironically, the substitute pulled off a poor man’s Cryuff-turn, before digging out an inch-perfect cross for McAteer, who’d peeled clear of the Dutch defence at the back-post.
Holland now needed to score twice in barely 20 minutes, or they were out of the World Cup before it had even begun. Deflated, drained and destined for failure, van Gaal had no answer for McCarthy’s minnows.
He’d later step down as national team boss and head back to Barcelona with his supposedly large knackers between his legs.
McAteer plotting the downfall of van Gaal in his first spell in charge of the Netherlands didn’t just boil down to grabbing the winner in Dublin – he also scored in a 2-2 draw in Amsterdam, as the Dutch failed to beat Ireland in both meetings.
For the Irish, international football is taken very seriously. It’s a chance to shine on the big stage, something club football has never been able to offer, or ever will.
This paved the chance to come from behind for a result against eventual finalists Germany, plus Cameroon, and then beat Saudi Arabia to qualify from a genuinely tricky group. To then go on and push Spain all the way to penalties in the last 16 brought nothing but national pride.
And, in hindsight, it was all at the expense of Manchester United’s Louis van Gaal. Beautiful.
Pic: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda
A double helping of straws being clutched. classic.
Ah ha ha ha. Clinging on to one bad result in the hope to deflect how worried you are. Excellent. Good luck getting in top 4 without any decent players now Suarez has gone. Good to see Brendan throwing money away on journeymen. Lambert? Ah ha ha ha.
Ha! Journey man Lambert, scorer and provider of more goals than 300k per week, Rooney.
Bitter from 12 years ago…..you couldn’t make it up….Stinging from last season’s disappointment I suppose, and even with Man Utd having a rare bad season, LFC still couldn’t win the league
Bitter? Holland lost
Typical Liverpool nostalgia. Talking about the past as it’s all you can hold onto. Your pathetic stories are similar to the 60’s hype that surrounds England prior to world cups, and then as usual England get tossed out with their blue balls between their legs. Pittyful!!!! Enjoy CL next season… Last time you will enjoy it for the next 10 yeRs :)
If nothing else he will give Mourihno someone to spar with this coming season.
*Quickly checks that this isn’t the Old Trafford Wrap*
that really is awfully small time.
Having watched the majority of Hollands matches in the WC, yes Van Gaal is a good tactician, but my question is can he handle the pressure of the EPL? Because in the EPL no-one team takes any prisoners, and the competition is fierce to say the least.
You will play against all type of teams, teams that play narrow, who play wide, who play slow and quick, counter attacking and ball possession type of football. There is a fierce competition for the 4 top spots for 6 world class teams and the other 7-10 aren’t bad either. The new promoted teams fights for every single point on win or die trying mentality.
Since the way he set up Holland to play Argentina, a team who yes have Messi, but haven’t really showed off during this WC, was really surprising – I will give Van Gaal the tribute of the Spanish national team hammering, but I question if that wasn’t really just down to a bad performance by the Spanish rather than Holland actually being superior. Similar to Germany’s trashing of Brazil.
Arsenal will be better this year around than last. Chelsea must deliver this season or Moureen will be sacked, Man City is the team to beat. Spurs will definitely be stronger side this year. Liverpool might have lost their main man, but Liverpool isn’t a 1-man team, and have strengthen in all areas, with a lot of creativity – not saying Liverpool will win the title, personally I think it’s little too early, especially with the “set-back” of the transfer of Suarez to Barca, but have no doubt that Liverpool will be smashing in goals and no match is soo brutal as the ones vs ManUtd, both home and away.
Everton with Martinez as headcoach will also do good, doubt they will get into the top4, but they will be there or abouts, and any form of underestimation of them will lead to points being lost.
Interesting season ahead.
Do Utd trolls circulate our website waiting for the slightest dig at their poxy club or manager? That’s all it is, a slight dig, a slight dig at a man we turned down in favour of getting BR in 2 years ago.
@fartboy: the article showed up as a united article on newsnow, that’s why we are commenting. Liverpool turned down LVG? Ha ha, behave yourself!
@tzar: you do know he has managed in Germany and Spain where he has won titles with two of the biggest clubs in the world? No pressure there then? And he has won the CL with Ajax. Yeah, he doesn’t know what pressure is! You’re right about one thing though, it will be an interesting season. Bring it on!
I was about to joke that I didn’t know Mancs can read but they can’t because this is an LFC site…Go away. Troll somewhere else.
@rachel: that’s a really funny joke. You should look into a career doing stand-up comedy.
So turns out Cillessen is pretty shit at penalties, and yet Van Gaal uses up his subs so he can’t bring on Krul in the semi, effectively costing them a place in the final. United have spent almost 70 million on a player who can’t get into the England side and a player who can’t get into the Spain side (that would be the same England and Spain who couldn’t get pass the group stages). Don’t think the rest of the prem is shitting themselves just yet.
Manc trolls are funny. I wish I had the kind of free time that allowed me to troll other team’s fansites (are there any Manc fansites left?) and say rude things about them….no wait…. I don’t…. because I can’t be bothered.
COME ON YOU REDS!
You’ll Never Walk Alone.
We Go Again.
@rachel: what rude things? You have to wonder why a Liverpool site has written an article about the utd manager – and then you complain about why united fans comment.
It amazes me that you can be bothered, frankly I couldn’t care less what is written about Rodgers on other fans websites or forums. However i find this article somewhat cringeworthy and most definitely not to the high standard usually displayed here. van Gaal is without doubt a top manager but whether he is the second coming as prophesied by many in the media we will have to see. I would be less concerned about his past glories and more concerned that his team was unable to score a goal in 240 minutes of football.
@choyser: the Dutch were second top goalscorers in the tournament and only conceded 4. That they didn’t score in 2 tense and tight knockout games doesn’t concern me at all. Their squad was average aside from a few players and they are ranked 15th in world. LVG worked wonders to get them to finish third. Normally I wouldn’t bother, but this article bothered me a bit. As you say it wasn’t of a great standard and was petty straw-clutching.
Steve Finnan was born in Ireland.
Aaaah , a day from the gods, macca’s gold was a cracker too! + U2 at slane and eventually a good World Cup without the b****** Keane !
I agree with the general feeling in the comments that this article comes across as pretty small-time and slightly pathetic. Van Gaal is a proven good manager. Even the greatest managers have had bad days. We’re better than this, aren’t we?
Having said that, as an LFC fan it astounds me how many MUFC fans are apparently prepared to take time out to not only read but also comment an LFC blog post! I mean, that’s just… sad. I couldn’t give a shit what anybody is writing on an MUFC website, and I certainly don’t have the time or inclination to go to one, read and article and then write a comment.
standards have dropped lads for the 1st time I can remember keep it lfc please
Err, what?.. Probably the most pathetic article I’ve ever read on The Anfield Wrap.
By this logic Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah must be rubbish, because he once used to wear nappies and crap himself when he was a baby.
Why on earth is this absolute dross here? I’m used to reading insightful, well-thought articles on this website. This is just meretricious, tacky, garbage.
Who cares about Van Gaal?? Who cares about desperate, infantile Manc trolls??
Leave them celebrating their pre-season and let’s see where they finish May 2015.
Yeah, like Van Gaal in Ireland all those years ago, a bad showing by the TAW here and fully deserving of ridicule.
However, I did like the comparison between Moyes and a ice cream on a hot summers day, because after all the merciless stick we took from united fans when we had Hodgeson it was very refreshing to have the boot on the other foot and the calls of mid-table club reversed (something that really hurt at the because it seemed like it might actually be possible). But we have had our fun now so I don’t care if they come back stronger next season (although it would be satisfying to see the Guardian try to make excuses for him if he fails). I still fancy our chances against them, and it would be much more satisfying to beat them without the help of the moyes-factor as it was hardly fair. Walk on boys, keep the singing and believing from last season going and there won’t be any reason to care who united get as their manager.