Former Manchester United, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich manager Louis Van Gaal nearly became the manager of Tottenham Hotspur back in 2014 before taking the United position, with high level discussions with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy taking place at his house, according to comments printed in De Telegraaf. But that’s not the amazing part — the talks were apparently so secret that Levy left Van Gaal’s house hidden in the trunk of a car.
Van Gaal was speaking on a Dutch language podcast promoting his forthcoming memoir, the release of which has been delayed by the onset of the coronavirus. In quotes from the podcast in De Telegraaf, Van Gaal admits that talks were very advanced and he was close to taking the position after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas and the caretaker stewardship of Tim Sherwood. Levy was apparently notified that some Dutch football media were outside Van Gaal’s house, and not wanting to be seen, decided to smuggle himself away in the trunk of the car rather than risk being photographed.
“Levy went to my house here in Noordwijk and was taken away in the trunk, because Jack van Gelder was outside. It took a long time and he actually gave Manchester United the opportunity to make an offer as well.”
— Louis Van Gaal
Van Gaal eventually was swayed by United’s offer and Levy went on to hire Mauricio Pochettino, which in hindsight was almost certainly the better choice.
This is a fantastic anecdote — firstly because it shows that Van Gaal was probably Levy’s first choice as manager after letting Sherwood go, which hints at a real Sliding Doors moment for Tottenham. But also, I am giggling madly at the idea of Daniel Levy voluntarily being locked into a car trunk inside Louis Van Gaal’s garage so that he can slip past the paparazzi without being photographed, hence linking Van Gaal with the managerial position at Tottenham.
I wonder if anyone took pictures?