Woodward should wake up and smell the Lemons


Darmain sustains a long term injury

Darmain clutching his shoulder and facing a long injury layoff. Photo: John Peter/Getty Images

It was in a Mississippi used car lot that we spotted her. My mother and I, freshly emigrated to the United States, on the hunt for our first car. Metallic brown 1995 Ford Taurus 4-door sedan, it had been well detailed and oiled down, beaming alluringly in the southern sun. The car sales man was on a roll, we asked for something within a modest budget that would satisfy our needs. He started foaming at the mouth about how the car had a unique gear stick, combination lock system on the door, and a manual keyless start. What good is a pickup style gear stick, keyless entry and start, if the blasted transmission gives way in under 2 years, along with a myriad of electrical problems? That godforsaken contraption was a money sinkhole, it was akin to yanking an outlandishly overweight albatross off my neck when I finally found an unfortunate soul to pawn it to.

Louis Van Gaal found his unfortunate soul in the ultra-savvy marketer Edward Woodward, the Manchester United executive, who has now fumbled managing the club's succession from Alex Ferguson's glory years at the second time of asking. We might never know the fine underlining's of the deal to bring the former Netherlands coach to Old Trafford, the expectations of the United board baked into the 3 season contract at a minimum, and from all accounts, would have contained rudimentary targets of a healthy European campaign, qualification to the UCL, and a vigorous title challenge bankrolled on 250 million pounds from Woodward's United treasury. All of which Van Gaal has struggled to deliver, the egocentric Dutch trainer-coach has huffed and puffed, without ever actually blowing the house down or anything of note for that matter.

"...Any vehicle with numerous, severe issues can be termed so and, by extension, so can any product with flaws too great or severe to serve its purpose" - Lemon (Definition)

Here lies the core flaw with Louis Van Gaal. Almost immediately after he was appointed, he made United's future all about him, the gravitational force of his ego welcoming the prospect that everything that will be great about United will stem from the sheer power of his football philosophy. It was his philosophy that was going to get United back to the top of European elite. It was his process that would garner success, if United were not winning, it was because the players did not understand or were not following his philosophy. He seems more interested in seeing his philosophy win, more than anything, more than United winning. When the team got out of the December nose dive, with his skipper with a few others alluding to enjoying a new approach, LVG was quick to whip them back in line…no no no, it’s my philosophy that’s winning. He came to the premier league with his own calculus, thrusting a solution in before comprehending the size and nature of the problem, as if his philosophy was a one size fits all solution, regardless of the nature of the league.

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