Louis van Gaal had strong advice for Erik ten Hag last week.
The Dutchman’s withering description of Manchester United as a ‘commercial club’ made the headlines, and he was never shy about his dislike of United’s commercial activities during his time at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal was critical of United’s grueling pre-season tour schedule because of how much time was spent building the club commercially. It is also believed that there were other factors that made the touring experience more difficult for the manager and his players.
But is that just part of football nowadays? All of the top clubs carry out commercial activities.
The problem at United is that there’s no balance between commercial growth and football. We’re a football club run primarily like a business, so nodded my head in agreement with some of the things Van Gaal said.
Speaking about Van Gaal telling Ten Hag not to join a ‘commercial club’ like United, former Netherlands international Mario Melchiot told ESPN FC: “Oh my god. Look, he (Van Gaal) was my primary coach, my teacher [but] I don’t agree to this.
“Why I don’t agree to this, this is the modern day of football. We’re moving into a market where every club and every brand needs to be part of advertising because if not, you don’t highlight it, no one is coming.
“But United was always a big club, we’re not going to shy away from it. When I came as a kid coming to England, how could I not even look at Man United and whatever they were?
“Van Gaal knew that too. He may not have liked how the situation ended up in the end but you think Ten Hag is going to think about it? No. When you have a dream as a coach or as a player, you’re looking at your own dream. You don’t look at what somebody else thinks about it.
“I say it again, Van Gaal yes, he’s my coach, he’s my guy, he gave me the debut for Holland and Ajax, but away from that I don’t agree with this quote because you should go wherever you think is right for yourself and not what happened to a coach before.”