If Man United Want Another Sir Alex, They're Closer with Van Gaal Than Moyes

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If Man United Want Another Sir Alex, They're Closer with Van Gaal Than Moyes
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The recovery starts here. Or, more accurately, once the Netherlands have been knocked out of this summer's World Cup.

Ryan Giggs was asked to steady the ship when it was decided David Moyes was no longer up to the job. Now Louis van Gaal, the Holland manager, has been tasked with repairing the damage.

After more than 26 years with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm, Van Gaal is the second manager Manchester United have appointed in the last year. They will hope this one goes a little better.

The board thought they had found another Ferguson when they picked Moyes last summer. They are both from Glasgow. But it went deeper than the city in which they were born.

Jon Super/Associated Press

When the former Everton manager was being lined up to sign a six-year contract, the board were keen to tell anyone who would listen the two Scots were "cut from the same cloth."

And while that might be true, Ferguson created the Bayeux Tapestry compared to Moyes' wet dish rag. At least at Old Trafford, anyway.

But if it was a Ferguson clone the board were after last summer, they may find they're closer with Van Gaal than they ever were with Moyes.

It's not just the success, the titles and the trophies, or the unwavering belief in attacking, attractive football. It's the qualities you can't see on the pitch or on a CV.

It's the personality. The self-belief. The strong will. The insistence on the collective rather than the individual. Ferguson's David Beckham or Ruud van Nistelrooy is Van Gaal's Rivaldo.

Jon Super/Associated Press

They are all big players. But none bigger than the teams the two giant personalities were building.

It's that authority that served Ferguson so well at Old Trafford. It's something you never really sensed Moyes had. But according to players and coaches who have worked with him, it's something Van Gaal demands.

This latest appointment marks a change in attitude at board level. 

They were keen to stress last summer that it was stability they were searching for. They made a point of offering Moyes a six-year deal.

This is different. At 62 years old, Van Gaal isn't a long-term appointment. It's why he's got three, rather than six years on his contract.

Alexander Hassenstein/Associated Press

United will never scream it from the rooftops, but it is a quick fix. A way of getting back into the Champions League as quickly as possible.

That is something Van Gaal will be confident he can deliver. 

Some love him, some hate him. But he has built a reputation as a winner. And win is something United haven't done a lot of in the last 12 months.

United thought they'd found another Ferguson last summer. The evidence suggests they are closer this time.

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