Louis van Gaal goes Kanye at Man United awards - video

Dutch manager eschews syntax but brings the house down with passionate end-of-season speech

Louis van Gaal
(Image credit: Getty)

Louis van Gaal gave the world a glimpse of his motivational abilities with a bravura performance at Manchester United's end-of-season awards dinner on Tuesday night - proving that grammar and syntax are no substitute for passion when it comes to rallying the troops.

The Dutch manager held the audience in the palm of his hand as he stalked the stage, punching the air and frequently raising his voice, while looking back on his first season at Old Trafford. He described the United faithful as "the best fans of the world" before calling a halt to their cheers and telling them: "No, no, no - you have to listen".

His address reached a bellowing crescendo as he roared that United were "very close" to winning the league.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Having blessed the mic Van Gaal left the stage only to return seconds later, like a Dutch Kanye West, interrupting the host Hayley McQueen and instructing the audience to "pay attention to the manager". He then berated them for failing to show sufficient respect to the "lady who plays the saxophone fantastically", and instructed them to "give her big applause", before disappearing once again.

Earlier he reminisced about the campaign, and thanked the fans for sticking with him after a dire start to the season saw them collect 13 points from their first ten games. He went as far as to suggest that had United fared better they would have pipped Chelsea to the title.

"The Dutchman spoke with the charisma of a weathered world leader, exuding the sort of enthusiasm that rallies nations and bends men to his will," says ESPN, although it notes that his claim that United were close to winning the title was based on "a touch of revisionist history and maths".

It was a "Churchillian performance" says the Daily Telegraph, "that will go down in awards-evening memory". The Sun was rather more taken aback, suggesting that the Dutchman "stunned guests... with an outrageous, rambling speech".

It had to be seen to be believed, claims the Daily Mirror, while the Manchester Evening News carries a full transcript of the nine-minute diatribe for those who wish to pore over his words.

Former United defender Gary Neville was among those to hail Van Gaal on Twitter, describing his performance as "One of the best/funniest 20 mins I've ever had!" And former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan described it as "the greatest speech of all time", reports the BBC.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.