Manchester United sack managers the hard way
Some are calling the manner of the Dutchman’s departure from United a “public relations disaster” for England’s most famous club as it prepares to name Jose Mourinho.
The Dutchman was “apparently informed” of his impending departure by his wife Truus on Saturday night after United had won the FA Cup, the BBC reported. She had just read a news report on the Internet.
Van Gaal’s predecessor David Moyes also found that he was to be fired from the media before he was told by Manchester United.
Calacus sports public relations agency managing director David Alexander said Van Gaal’s sacking may not be a surprise given the results of the American-owned club.
But he said: “It is a public relations disaster for news to leak that he was to be replaced almost before his team had even changed out of their playing kit after savouring an extra-time victory at Wembley.”
“United clearly had not learnt from their previous mistakes,” he added.
A source close to the club said only that United had been “hampered” in their communications because of the rules they face as a quoted company.
United should have put more emphasis on “confidentiality” among staff, Alexander said of the sacking rumours.
Statements should have been prepared in advance and “senior executives should have ensured that a meeting with Van Gaal was held quickly to ensure that he was appraised of the situation.”
The Dutchman negotiated his departure with a top employment lawyer on Monday, two days after the reports started.
There had been widespread reports of player unrest over Van Gaal’s tactics. But some said they felt Van Gaal was treated badly.
“The manager of a top club in England is naturally under much more pressure but over the last six months he has not been treated fairly,” said United’s Dutch defender Daley Blind.
“I think a manager like Louis van Gaal, who has achieved so much already, deserved more respect,” Blind told reporters at the Netherlands’ training camp in Portugal.
Van Gaal and Manchester United “was a mismatch,” the Dutch daily Trouw said. But it added that the major question now is whether Van Gaal, 64, “still wants to, or can” go on with an illustrious career that saw him win major honours at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam.
Of his departure Van Gaal himself said only that he was “disappointed” not to be able to carry out the third year of his contract.
But media reports said he was given a pay off of more than five million pound (6.5 million euro/$7.3 million) in part not to speak publicly.
The Daily Mail newspaper said Van Gaal “feels aggrieved at his treatment and the fact that his finest hour at United was ruined by news of Mourinho’s imminent appointment.”
“United’s executives and communications team certainly have lessons to learn after this episode,” said Alexander of Calacus sports. “Once is careless but for it to happen twice does not reflect well on a club of United’s stature.”