Louis van Gaal was appointed as the new manager of Manchester United on Monday, with the Netherlands coach signing a three-year contract after agreeing to succeed the sacked David Moyes. But, as Van Gaal has reiterated, he could have been at Old Trafford over a decade earlier, had Sir Alex Ferguson not reversed his decision to retire.
Moyes was fired by Manchester United late last month only 10 months into a six-year deal, with Ryan Giggs placed in interim charge for the remaining four games of the season. While there was a swell of support for Giggs to assume the role on a permanent basis, Van Gaal was the leading candidate from the off.
Manchester United took only 48 hours after the Moyes departure to approach Van Gaal, who had already stated he would leave his current position after the World Cup, and the protracted move has finally been announced.
As Van Gaal explained, however, he could have become the Manchester United manager after his first stint with the Netherlands when Ferguson announced in 2002 that he would leave his job. But, of course, Ferguson backtracked and went on to win 17 more trophies until leaving last summer.
"I was going to replace him in 2002, when he wanted to quit," Van Gaal told reporters. "But in the end he came back."