Video: Louis van Gaal steals the show at Manchester United awards dinner with a bizarre speech
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal became the centre of attention at the club's annual awards evening with a rousing recap of their season, shouting "we are very close" in their battle to close the gap on champions Chelsea before leaving the stage.... and then returning to thank a lady saxophonist.
The Dutchman, who, earlier in the evening, clipped Ryan Giggs around the ear for attempting to outbid him in an auction for a round of golf with Dwight Yorke, took to the stage as the night was drawing to a close to deliver a speech that will go down in awards-evening memory.
Van Gaal initially took the microphone after he had presented goalkeeper David de Gea with the supporters' player of the year award at the presentation evening, which took place at Old Trafford. In his initial speech he claimed United were close to Chelsea, despite being 15 points behind with a match left.
Van Gaal started by saying: "When you start a season with 10 matches and 13 points and you are a manager of that club, the most world famous club and you play at home and I am also a human being and I have the experience with other clubs, when you have that result you are not very beloved by your fans and I came in the stadium of Old Trafford, 10 matches, 13 points and I came in and I saw by myself how I have to behave myself and then the public are applauding, standing up and I thought how is it possible that the fans are supporting me?
"Thanks to that we could continue - not only me, my staff but especially the players because it is not so easy when you are playing in a great club that you have 10 matches, 13 points and a new manager who demands in another way than all the other managers.
"It's very difficult and with all the injuries of the first part of the season and then we continue with a spirit in the team, unbelievable, and that's the credit of this team, the spirit. We come from a thought in my memory 13th place to third position in the league.
"After so bad start. And then we had to believe the players but also the staff that we could end second. I remember the meeting with the players with the captain Wayne Rooney who's saying 'we go for the second position in the league and I said 'yes. We go for it!'
"You remember the game against Arsenal. We were the better team and the best player on the pitch in my opinion makes an error and we lose that game and I forget the meeting. And then you have to remember that we win six games in a row.
"And then we go to Chelsea. You remember away game against Chelsea? No, no, no, you have to listen. I ask you to listen. Because at that time we have 50 points and then Rooney sat in the dressing room we go for the second place, he said that. Then six games in a row we win and then we go to Chelsea. Who are the better team then?! It's easy to say that now in this room. I can believe it but it was the truth but we lost. We lost that game but can you imagine when you have 80 per cent ball possession you have 10 big possibilities and they have three, they have three and they win the game.
"When we win that game count the numbers of points we could have won, because after that we lost three games in a row. But when you see that we have 13 points and Chelsea have 83 points and we could have been champions.
"What I want to say to you, we are very close. But as a manager I know that if is not counting, if is not counting, we have to produce more. And believe me the players but also the staff but also the organisation like Manchester United shall do their utmost best and why? Because we have the best fans of the world. Thank you for that and I will see you next season again."
After receiving a rousing reception and finishing to loud cheers for his Churchillian performance, he headed for his seat next to Giggs, only to change his mind and return to the dias, grabbing the mic back from co-presenter Hayley McQueen to give those present a ticking off for not applauding a saxophonist who had entertained them earlier in the evening.
He added: "I want to say something, pay attention to the manager.
"Ryan Giggs said to me, and he is always right but in this case particularly right. I have said to you you are the best fans in the world but tonight I was a little bit disappointed and I shall say why.
"I have seen a lady who plays the saxophone fantastically. Give her big applause."