The paperback version of my new football book, Louis van Gaal: Dutch Courage, is out now! You can purchase it here.
Here’s the details:
Louis van Gaal is a paradox from top to toe.
This is the man who, when unveiled as Bayern Munich manager in 2009, described himself like this: “I am what I am; self-confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, industrious, innovative.”
Former players have described him as “scary”, as a “volcano”. The former Barcelona president described him as “the devil himself”. At Bayern, they said he “vaangalised” their team.
And yet at the same time, he is “warm-blooded”. He openly admits: “I cry almost every day. There’s always something that touches me.” Barcelona’s Xavi says of him: “People see him as arrogant and aloof but he’s really not.”
Dutch Courage is a detailed dissection of the truth behind the myth of Van Gaal, studying his philosophy and his character, as well as some of the excellent football teams he has produced.
This Dutch master has been the head of some of the greatest dynasties in European football – Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United – as well as the boss of the Netherlands national team (twice). Along the way, he has won a combined seven league championships across Europe. He has also been successful in continental competitions, listing the Champions League, the UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup amongst his honours.
As head coach of the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup, he led them to within a whisker of the final, beating world champions Spain 5-1 along the way, before his young Dutch charges were finally beaten on penalties by Argentina in the semi-final.
But in 2014 he took on arguably his greatest challenge: restoring Manchester United to their perch after a year in the doldrums. Christian Nerlinger predicts that Van Gaal’s United reign will be anything but predictable: “one thing is for sure: it will not be boring.”
And this book is anything but boring. It is the exciting tale which supporters of Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and the Netherlands national team will want to read.
Andrew J Kirby is a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford, and writes about United for a number of fanzines and blogs. He is the author of Fergie’s Finest: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Greatest Manchester United x11, and The Pride of all Europe: Manchester United’s Greatest Seasons in the European Cup.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK “From Ajax to Man United, via Bayern Munich, Andrew J Kirby plots the rise of this indomitable, complex figure with verve and great insight. Despite not being a Manchester United fan, Van Gaal’s extreme personality has long intrigued me. Kirby captures it on the page with an uncanny accuracy. This book is exhaustively researched, and offers great psychological insights into the man, as well as the world of football. Most books about football are poor- Kirby’s is an exception, and is written with a ferocious intellect that matches its subject matter. A must-read for fans of United, and those of us interested in this colossus of football.” – Guy Mankowski, author of ‘How I Left the National Grid’
PRAISE FOR ANDREW J KIRBY’S SPORTSWRITING “The author knows his stuff,” Angela Bowman, Manchester United fan “The perfect gift for the red devil in your life!” Sam Sharp, Manchester United fan “A good read for United fans young and old,” AJ Hellina, Amazon reader “A must read for any red,” Scott the Red, Republik of Mancunia on Fergie’s Finest