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We don't like LVG's miss this old rascal football... but we'll when he's gone; FA CUP FINAL: BOSS WIN PAPERS OVER CRACKS OF TERRIBLE SEASON; BRITAIN'S BEST COLUMNIST FROM WEMBLEY.


THE funny thing is that when he has gone - whether it be in the next minute, hour, day, week, month, or year - English football will sort of miss the old rascal.

We won't miss his fizz-free football or his penchant for ponderous possession.

We won't miss his play-byinstalments or his shoot-andyou're-for-it by-law.

Manchester United fans will not miss the spirit-siphoning, soulless, sideways, strike-shy stodginess that has so often passed for what he would like to believe is a highbrow style.

But hey, English football will sort of miss the old rascal.

Miss the way he strode into Wembley like orange royalty, his head held arch-high despite surely knowing the game is inevitably up.

A dead man walking, walking tall. Miss the way he celebrated the goals with his folder under his arm and a straightening of the tie - like a PE teacher.

(Better than a smarmy dance in front of an imaginary mirror.) Miss the way he at least appeared to grow to love the grand club if not understand its ethos.

Miss his bluffing, bluster and buffoonery, his Ryan-cuffing, his hair-tugging, his turning Fellaini into Fellarney. We'll even miss the ludicrous stare, as threatening as a brew and a cake in an Amsterdam coffee shop. Louis van Gaal brought the colourless AND the colour.

The endgame will now be sorted by the suits.

At least he has given them a post-Fergie trophy for the boardroom.

At least he brought a degree of dignity to a marquee match that his opposite number struggled to match.

Even in triumph, though, this was another plank of evidence in the overwhelming case for change.

A Manchester United team with Marouane Fellaini as a fulcrum - no matter how effective - will freeze friends.

Yet again, ball retention was boss rather than creativity being king.

But it would be an insult to a grandee of the game to dwell on the darkness during his hour in the sun.

When he does go, he will leave a light dusting of positives - and maybe for posterity, the file he was grappling with here pre-second half.

It is only right - on this rare glad occasion - to dwell on those positives.

Marcus Rashford, for thumping, thrilling, quick starters. Circumstance introduced Van Gaal to Rashford's precocious, laid-back potential but his immediate faith has paid off - just as his faith in Jesse Lingard paid off in extra-time, cup-winning fashion.

Rashford has that Thierry Henry-type swagger about him.

Drift, drift, pounce.

Amble, amble, burst.

Walk, walk, gone.

Before limping off, he was the only pulse-quickening player in operation at Wembley.

Anthony Martial flitted between the dangerous and the dormant but his development is another preciously rare mark in the Van Gaal plus column.

Don't worry, he'll have it on file.

Van Gaal might also like to take credit for funnelling Wayne Rooney into the playmaker role.

But wait and see if credit is the right word.

In a showy way, generally unhindered by pesky pressers - although his work for Juan Mata's equaliser was quite simply sensational -Rooney impressed.

He will not often get this much leisure time in that position, though.

Anyhow, the position-switch was probably as much Rooney's di V G l'R likdoing as Van Gaal's. Rooney likes Van Gaal, you can tell. Probably not his tactics, probably not his phoney philosophy.

Rooney probably knows why Van Gaal has to go but he likes him.

That is probably how Ed Woodward, United's Executive Vice-Chairman, feels.

But go he has to

And if it's now, at least he can go with a pot aloft and that head held arch-high.


WAYNE TO GO, ROO: LVG with Captain Rooney, who won the FA Cup for the first time

SILVER LINING: LVG enjoys the moment with Sir Alex Ferguson

KING LOUIS ... AT LAST! The face says it all as Louis van Gaal celebrates United's victory at Wembley

UNITED AS ONE: LVG gives his players a pep talk at half-time in extra time
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 22, 2016
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