This is tradition, it is the way they do it year-in, year-out. Whether good, bad or ugly season, Manchester United celebrate their “own” at the end of each football season with an award night.
Everyone would have thought it is the best man who has all the accolades for United this term that will steal the show, but instead of goalkeeper David De Gea to carry the day, it was manager Louis Van Gaal who stole the show with a hilarious and astonishing speech.
Starting with how horrible the season kicked off with just 13 points from 10 games, Van Gaal went on to appreciate how the fans stood behind him and his team. The speech read:
‘When you start a season with 10 matches and 13 points,’ he said, his voice almost trembling with emotion.
‘And you are a manager of that club, the most world famous club and you play at home and I am also a human being and I have the experience with other clubs, when you have that result you are not very beloved by your fans.
‘I came in the stadium of Old Trafford, 10 matches, 13 points, and I came in and I saw by myself how I have to behave myself and then the public are applauding, standing up and I thought how is it possible that the fans are supporting me?
‘Thanks to that we could continue – not only me, my staff but especially the players because it is not so easy when you are playing in a great club that you have 10 matches,13 points and a new manager who demands in another way than all the other managers.’
It’s very difficult and with all the injuries of the first part of the season,’ he said.
‘And then we continue with a spirit in the team, unbelievable, and that’s the credit of this team, the spirit. We come from – I thought in my memory 13th place – to third position in the league. After such a bad start.
‘And then we had to believe the players but also the staff that we could end second. I remember the meeting with the players with the captain Wayne Rooney who’s saying “we go for the second position in the league” and I said “Yes! We go for it!”.’
Van Gaal, in full Winston Churchill mode, then identified the 1-0 loss at Chelsea, a game which United dominated, as evidence his team were not far off challenging for the title.
‘You remember the away game against Chelsea?’ he said, before quieting his audience.
‘No, no, no, you have to listen. I ask you to listen. Six games in a row we win and then we go to Chelsea. Who are the better team then?! It’s easy to say that now in this room. I can believe it but it was the truth but we lost. We lost that game but can you imagine when you have 80 per cent ball possession you have 10 big possibilities and they have three, they have three and they win the game!
‘What I want to say to you is we are very close!’
After signing off by thanking ‘the best fans of the world’ Van Gaal then returned to deliver his encore – and give those present a glimpse of what his players may have to face should they let him down.
‘I want to say something,’ he said. ‘Pay attention to the manager!
‘Ryan Giggs said to me, and he is always right but in this case particularly right. I have said to you you are the best fans in the world but tonight I was a little bit disappointed and I shall say why.
‘I have seen a lady who plays the saxophone fantastically. Give her a big applause!’
The crowd responded by doing just that, while Twitter went into meltdown.
One of the best / funniest 20 mins I've ever had!
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) May 19, 2015
I can't sleep thinking about this LVG speech if anyone has the full speech send me it! I love that man!!
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) May 19, 2015
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