Louis van Gaal's Manchester United tenure was a strange one. Entrusted with leading to the club to recovery after the disaster that was the David Moyes era, he led them to a top four finish in his first season in charge. While he could not replicated that league form in the following campaign, he did manage to bring an FA Cup to Old Trafford.
Despite this, his time in charge is not really remembered fondly by United fans. It was littered with poor signings, with the likes of Angel Di Maria and Bastian Schweinsteiger massive flops.
He would be replaced by Jose Mourinho after two years in charge, and in a revealing interview with the BBC, he says it was not a move that surprised him. He was disappointed however, and claims the FA Cup win a few days prior to his sacking was his proudest achievement in football:
I can imagine Woodward chooses Mourinho. He is a top coach. He has won a lot of titles. More than me...
To win the FA Cup when, for six months, the media has a noose round my neck, is my biggest achievement.
I spoke to Woodward the day after that game. His argument was that I was only going to be there for one more year and Mourinho would be there for three, four or five. I appreciate he hired a private plane to get me back to Portugal but his arguments were not good enough.
Van Gaal says that the world of football is a strange one. Everyone watches it, but few seem to really understand the game. He claims the media rarely analyse the games themselves, and care only about results. He uses Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the prime example.
People think we have only had fake news since Donald Trump became president. In football we have had it for 50 years.
The coach after me [Mourinho] changed to park-the-bus tactics and played on the counter. Now there is another coach who parks the bus and plays on the counter. The main difference between Mourinho and Solskjaer is that Solskjaer is winning.
This is a very interesting point. Narratives are key in football, and what happens on the pitch an often seem to be secondary to the goings on off the field of play. Certain teams and managers seem to be given a lot more leeway than others, and you could argue that Ole Gunnar Solskjae has bought himself a lot of goodwill in recent months.
Ultimately, the Dutchman feels that United was not a club set up to succeed on the pitch, but instead had the primary goal of making money, something even Alex Ferguson himself agreed with.
At the moment there is a structure with a scouting division and above that is someone at Woodward's right hand. The structure is not so bad but the right hand has to be a technical director with a football view, not somebody with a banker's role.
Unfortunately, we are talking about a commercial club, not a football club. I spoke to Ferguson about this and in his last years, he also had problems with it.