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About the book
  • Published: 20 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473521421
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

O, Louis

In Search of Louis van Gaal

A personal portrait of Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United, by one of Europe's foremost football writers

‘Am I so smart or are you so stupid?’ – Louis van Gaal

I started out wanting to write a book about Marco van Basten. I still do, but I dread the moment when I have to write something I know will make him unhappy. He’s not a man you wage war on. With Louis van Gaal it’s different: as a journalist he leaves you no choice. You’re not worthy of the name if you aren’t prepared to return fire when he starts yelling.

Hugo Borst is an award-winning writer, journalist and TV pundit. He is also a close friend of Louis van Gaal. Well, he used to be.

O, Louis is Hugo’s attempt to get to grips with this larger-than-life character. Full of outrageous stories and unintentionally hilarious encounters, Borst details his quest to understand the man and the breakdown in their friendship. He interviews an array of experts who each interpret the great manager from the perspective of their own field – a cleric, a politician, a psychiatrist, an impersonator,
a theatre director, writers, poets and a trio of keen comic minds. Through these meetings as well as through his own encounters with Van Gaal, Borst is finally able to unlock the personality of this exceptional, talented, infuriating and even, occasionally, loveable man.

‘This book will sell well. Everything that has my face on it sells well’ – Louis van Gaal

  • Pub date: 20 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473521421
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the Author

Hugo Borst

Hugo Borst is a television personality, football pundit and writer. He has been covering the Dutch game for over 30 years, and is known for his combination of excellent writing and psychological insight. His article on Marco van Basten’s father in 1994 helped inspire the genre of literary Dutch football writing and his book about Feyenoord was nominated for Belgian literary prize Gouden Uil (The Golden Owl).

Praise for O, Louis

“One of the best football writers I have ever read”

Simon Kuper

“With O, Louis Hugo Borst once again proves that he is one of the best sports writers of the Netherlands, although the adjective ‘sports’ can just as easily be left out”


“A splendid document, in which Borst describes his search for the ‘Total Human Being’ Van Gaal in a honest, open-hearted and vulnerable way”

Friesch Dagblad

“Funny, passionate, probably honest, and a bit of a winger with the words. The final World Cup chapters are glorious. I’ve read excellent books about football before but never one that I found unsettling”

Roddy Doyle, Guardian

“It’s a keen insight into a larger-than-life personality”


“A lively study of a potent force in football”

William Leith, 4 stars, Evening Standard

“A hugely entertaining free-form biography”

Richard Williams, Guardian

“An engrossing read”

Richard Fitzpatrick, Irish Examiner

“Part biography and part internal monologue, it is genuinely hilarious – and does not lack the odd piercing insight”

John Bew, New Statesman

“A supreme example of how sportswriting can capture the cultural and the social at its best without any negative impact on its ability to reach and engage with a mass audience”

Mark Perryman, Left Futures

“One of the more entertaining football tomes to be published in recent times.”

Barry Glendenning, Guardian

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