Manchester United’s final match of the Premier League season had to be abandoned and Old Trafford evacuated due to a “suspicious device” found in a bathroom at the stadium prior to kickoff. Once it was decided that it wasn’t the product of Wayne Rooney’s gastrointestinal system, the item was detonated in a controlled explosion and ruled to be “an incredibly realistic-looking explosive device,” according to the Greater Manchester Police. It also happened to be “a training device which had accidentally been left by a private company following a training exercise involving explosive search dogs.”
This raises the question: of all the things to leave behind, how could this company possibly leave one of their fake explosives? Well, maybe they didn’t.
Before this incident, the only thing at Old Trafford lacking the explosiveness many people believed it would have was Man United. As a result, manager Louis van Gaal has been growing increasingly angry and paranoid while speculation about his job security has dominated the news for months now.
Ahead of Sunday’s abandoned match against Bournemouth, Van Gaal was defiant as he made it clear that he feels under siege. From ESPN FC:
“Of course all this speculation about my future for six months makes me angry. I have shown that many, many times.
“But in spite of the attacks of the media — and not only the media, the legends and other kinds of people — I am here and I am fighting, I am an open book.
“And I believe in myself, I believe in Manchester United, I believe in the players. I hope that everybody is believing like me, then it is much easier.”
Clearly this is a desperate and unstable man (literally). So if anyone had motive to plant a fake bomb at Old Trafford in the hopes of delaying the final match of the season for his own irrational purposes, it’s Louis van Gaal.
Think about it. Van Gaal’s fear is that Man United will sack him once the season ends, as Jose Mourinho has been impatiently waiting to take his job since December. So if he could just find a way to delay the end of Man United’s season, he would buy himself more time to ensure the best possible showing against Bournemouth, prolong his time with the club — if even for just a few more days — and possibly frustrate Mourinho to the point of accepting a job with a club who have already finished their season and are now eager to snap up a new manager as soon as possible. And this suspicious device incident achieved just that (Man Utd-Bournemouth has been rescheduled for Tuesday). Nevermind the fact that Man United still have the FA Cup final to play after this.
With motive established, the next question becomes how to do it. Upon hearing about the midweek search dog training exercise by hacking into Man United CEO Ed Woodward’s email (password: “showmethemoney”), Van Gaal saw his opportunity. Of course, his position with the club affords him access to Old Trafford, so he would’ve been able to use his Dutch ninja skills to casually slip in and take one of the fake devices when no one was looking, thus leading the company to believe that they had collected them all before leaving.
He would’ve then been able to plant the device in a bathroom on Sunday, get the match abandoned and buy himself an extra 48 hours to prepare, plan, and steal all the office supplies he can carry just in case he still gets sacked.
Obviously, this explanation makes far more sense than the official story put forth by the police, which was probably concocted just to make Van Gaal think he’s not a suspect while they try and build their case against him.
It was almost the perfect plan. But it probably would’ve been better to just not have his team play lifeless football all season.