Manchester United Manager Louis Van Gaal Wins Battle For Shorter Preseason Tours
ManU Manager Louis van Gaal "has won his first power struggle" after claiming that the club has bowed to his demands for a shorter preseason tour next summer, according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. Van Gaal "renewed his attack on the extent of the club’s commercial commitments" and complained about the disruption being caused to his preparations for the new season as a result of the "dreadful distances" the squad is having to travel on its tour of the U.S. In "the clearest sign yet of the authority he now wields at Old Trafford," the Dutchman said that "he had received assurances from the club’s hierarchy that the squad would not have to undertake another marathon trip 12 months from now." Asked if the commercial commitments were impinging on his plans, Van Gaal "did not attempt to conceal his frustration." Van Gaal: "More or less, yes, because we have to prepare the season and when you have a lot of commercial activities and dreadful distances [to travel] and have to fly a lot and also jet lag that is not very positive for a good preparation" (LONDON TIMES, 7/23). REUTERS' Patrick Johnston wrote ManU plays Major League Soccer side L.A. Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Wednesday and then has "at least three more matches in Denver, Washington and Detroit" as part of the Int'l Champions Cup. It "could play a fourth," in Miami on Aug. 4, if it reaches the final after the matches against Serie A side AS Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Last year, ManU went on a lengthy preseason tour of Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong "after agreeing several commercial deals in the region." Van Gaal said that "he expected United's next tour, likely to be in Asia again, to be much shorter" (REUTERS, 7/23). In London, Mark Ogden wrote the Dutchman was "almost 30 minutes late for his pre-match press conference" in Pasadena. Van Gaal said, "This is the first time I am late for a press conference, but it is the Los Angeles traffic, so I am sorry for that." ManU has "proven to be trend-setters for the lengthy summer tours now undertaken by many leading clubs," with the club traveling the globe every preseason for more than a decade in order to promote its brand (TELEGRAPH, 7/23).