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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Old Trafford insider

We spoke to a source at the very heart of the Manchester United operation, and asked for his impressions on the new boss's first day.

Alex Livesey

Today was Louis van Gaal's first day in charge at Old Trafford, as the post-David Moyes era begins in earnest. To mark this occasion, it is our great pleasure to bring you an exclusive interview with one of the star's of the last manager's unveiling, who you will doubtless recall from the photographs: the mouse mat.

the Busby Babe: Hello, and thanks for taking the time to talk to the Busby Babe. Today was Louis van Gaal's first day with the club. How was the atmosphere?

MM: Well, everybody's very excited. There's a real buzz about the place. Everybody's walking tall, or laying on desks slightly more proudly than they were yesterday. I was talking to a hole punch this morning, been around for years, and he says he's never felt so optimistic at the beginning of a new season.

tBB: Has Van Gaal been in to say hello yet?

MM: Yes, he popped in this morning. Just the early formalities, of course: this is your desk; this is your computer; this is your mouse mat.

tBB: Of course, you played an important part in the unveiling of the last boss ...

MM: Yeah! *laughs* Nobody in the office has let me forget about that. A little brush with celebrity!

tBB: What do you think went wrong for Moyes?

MM: Well, it's all there in the photo. There I am, and there's the mouse. What is there, like, six inches between us? That's not how you use a mouse mat. And that went on throughout the season: he'd ignore me for a few weeks, then suddenly I'd be in use again, then I'd be in a drawer for a bit, then back on the desk.

tBB: And that affected your performance?

MM: Well, of course! And not just mine: the entire office. The mouse's game dropped off, the pencils lost their sharpness, the calculator's numbers were down. Not his fault, of course, but he wasn't the right man for the job. Come into an office like this, you have to know where the mouse goes.

tBB: What do you think of Van Gaal?

MM: Just look at his record. This is a man who has, time and time again, put his mouse on a mouse mat at the very highest level. Barcelona mouse mats. Ajax mouse mats. We mouse mats talk, you know, about the job: what it's like to hold the mouse of this guy or that. And while there are a few who can't stand him, he comes out pretty well.

tBB: How do you respond to people who suggest that mouse mats are obsolete in a world of optical mouses. Mice. Whatever.

MM: Look, we in the mouse mat community know that we're not as crucial as we once were. But we like to think that we've carved ourselves out a niche. Look, here I am at the biggest club in the world. There's always a space for us.

tBB: Are you perhaps more decorative than before?

MM: Decorative?

tBB: Yes. Kept around not because the mouse needs you but because you're a chance to have the club crest on the desk.

MM: ... no. No I don't agree with that at all.

tBB: Okay then. Obviously, all our readers are going to want to know if you've got any inside information on transfers.

MM: *laughs* If I did, I couldn't tell you. We have to sign pretty extensive non-disclosure agreements. I remember once there was a bottle of Tipp-Ex who let slip to a journalist that Paul Ince was getting sold. Never saw him again. I will say this, though: the phone has been very, very busy.

tBB: Well, we had to ask. Are —

MM: — hang on, the gaffer's here. He's sat down. Oh, he's using the mouse!

tBB: What? At this very moment?

MM: Yep, he's moving it around and, yep, he's just double-clicked the left button. Oh wow. I can't describe how good this feels. It's like the club's back, you know? Like things are finally falling back into place. Also, it's sort of ticklish. Ooooh, that's nice.

tBB: Er ...

MM: Oh, I've missed this. Oh ...

tBB: Thank you very much for your time.

MM: *giggles*