Sunday 25 January 2015

Van Gaal a shining light in world of dull PR-speak

Joe Molloy

Published 30/07/2014 | 02:30

It appears that life at Manchester United will not dull Louis Van Gaal's instincts to answer questions honestly. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
It appears that life at Manchester United will not dull Louis Van Gaal's instincts to answer questions honestly. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Press conferences at the recent World Cup were, largely speaking, a giant waste of time. The combination of extremely uninterested, media-trained players being asked mostly bland questions made for some pretty dour viewing.

That journalists were only allowed to ask one question, with no follow-up, completely eradicated the possibility of any kind of flow or momentum developing. It also meant the good questions were easily batted away.

The one beautiful, consistent exception, in my experience, was Louis Van Gaal. Van Gaal press conferences were worth going to because the answers were thoughtful, often funny and mostly interesting.

He gave this unique sense of actually thinking about the question, rather than mentally flicking through a PR handbook for the appropriate response.

His best stuff wasn't necessarily explosive. For instance, after the Mexico game Van Gaal essentially gave a tactical lecture in Fortaleza, which was a joy to watch.

And it seems thankfully that life at Manchester United will not dull his instincts to answer questions honestly. It might mean upsetting Luke Shaw or boardroom suits occasionally, but should make the next few years at Old Trafford fun to watch.

Irish Independent

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