It is quite annoying to take too long to write posts. Before you know it, things change and Louis van Gaal is out. Propper is staying with his pregnant girlfriend and Steven Berghuis is in…. Read on… This is the time when Oranje fans dust off their orange gear… Wigs, hats, trumpets, jerseys, sun glasses, flags… But not this time around. Most Oranje fans are still debating whether to support Belgium, England or even forfeit the whole bloody thing and focus on Max Verstappen! With the EPL and the Eredivisie coming to an end (almost done… FA Cup Final just behind us, relegation / promotion play offs and EL play offs finishing soon, Copa del Rey in Spain (not that we have any players in that)) and of course… the Euro 2016 warm up games! Sadly, we are the sparring partner. Nothing more. Playing nations that do go. With players keen to prove something to their coaches. So it will at least be competitive.
Louis through the exit
Let’s look at the finish of the season, here and in England (and Italy and Germany, but otherwise there are not a lot of Dutch world beaters active). So Ajax lost it in the last game. No Bazoer in the starting line up. Something is up between him and Frank de Boer. The team choked, it was playing lethargic and nervous. The 1-0 seemed to calm everyone down, but when De Graafschap equalised (horrible back tracking by Ajax), the team choked. Young Czech talent Cerny did have a sensational open chance at 1-0 and if he scored that, Ajax probably would have snapped up the title. Frank de Boer had some erratic subs at 1-1 and took of top scorer Milik, resulting in El Ghazi playing striker, who made a mess of it. PSV played like we’ve seen them before. In the CL for instance, and mostly in the competition as well. Cocu said it weeks ago already: “If we win every game, we’ll get the title” and he was right. Good stuff, as PSV can now look forward to millions from the CL and maybe try sign Ziyech and Vilhena….
Peter Bosz back in Holland Things at Ajax aren’t looking great at the moment. Frank de Boer will go. Peter Bosz (ex-Feyenoord, ex-Vitesse, now at Maccabi Tel Aviv) will come in. Dennis Bergkamp will probably never leave and Hennie Spijkerman will stay on as well. Both assistant coaches clashed seriously with Orlando Trustful, the former Ajax and Feyenoord playmaker who was added to the staff by Frank de Boer. The former international worked at the KNVB for a spell and brought his modern vision of coaching to the mix. Frank de Boer adores Trustful and already said he’ll take him with him to his next adventure. This will probably ease the pressure. Ajax might miss out on millions if they don’t qualify for the CL and the team needs a shot in the arm, as Younes, El Ghazi, Van der Hoorn, Gudelj and Fisher seemed to have peaked. Youngsters like Bazoer, Tete and Riedewald will be definite future stars but the team misses leaders and creative players. Klaassen, who took the leadership role in the beginning of the season, also faded away at the end of the season. Milik might have a good Euros and Ajax might sell him with a profit, to get Huntelaar back in as the striker. PSV will most likely see Narsingh leave, while Willems could be on his way out to, if PSV wants to make some money before he leaves transfer free. Marco van Ginkel’s future is still in the hands of Chelsea and apparently there is a lot of interest in Jeffrey Bruma. Feyenoord had an ok season. Great for them to win the National Cup but their Eredivisie campaign was disappointing with then dropping points in 7 games in a row. Next season, Gio and his lads will get European League group football which is excellent. With players like Kuyt, Elia, El Ahmadi, Karsdorp and Kongolo in the mix, the frame of the team is solid. Vilhena even stated that he actually might be convinced to stay. Ziyech and Vincent Janssen might be good additions for Feyenoord in order to go for the title, but does Feyenoord have the 15mio or more to spend? Probably not. I can see Ziyech play a bit longer in the Eredivisie, with PSV or Ajax, but Janssen will most likely move to the Bundesliga. FC Utrecht and AZ impressed with their run this season and good things might come in the future. Ramselaar, Letschert and Barazite caught the eye, as did AZ’s Joris van Overeem. Ron Vlaar will sign on for two more seasons with AZ and small clubs like Heracles and NEC impressed with Bel Hassani the key man for Heracles (potential target for Feyenoord) and Foor and Santos (sadly not Dutch) impressing for NEC. In England, Van Gaal missed out on CL football with Man United, which is quite a disappointment after a weird season altogether. Small time Leicester snatching the title and Spurs almost finishing second put pressure on Arsenal and City, while United and Chelsea took the brunt. Daley Blind can look back on a very decent season, while Memphis underperformed. Good news of course, is the arrival of Timothy Tofu-Mensah. He was dropped from the Oranje squad by Blind, however, due to fitness issues.
Memphis and Timothy Fosu Mensah
Man U did win the FA Cup after many years. A good performance by Man United. Winning the FA Cup didn’t keep Louis in his job though. Missing the CL qualifications and the disgruntled fans made the board decide to release Van Gaal, with Mourinho coming in. Van Gaal is now holidaying in Portugal but has already said he won’t go for the KNVB job. The Technical director job is too boring for him. He doesn’t want to coach a club per se, but might. But taking a national team to the World Cup, that is definitely on his radar… Two notable Red Devil legends opposed. Ryan Giggs doesn’t see it in The Annoying One and will most likely turn his back on the club. Louis wanted Giggs to take over and I think Ryan one day will. Eric Cantona also doesn’t believe in Mourinho: “I think Mourinho is an excellent coach, but not for Man United. His playing philosophy is even worse than Van Gaal’s. The big mistake of Man United is that they didn’t go for Pep Guardiola. The football son of Cruyff, who is the architect of Modern Football. And now, Pep is going to manage the rivals. Bad situation. Maybe Man United should sign me to take Guardiola on!”
Other notable EPL Dutchies, are Pat van Aanholt who was impressive all season, while Leroy Fer seems to have found his way out of the quagmire. Steven Berghuis had to be happy with a role in Watford 2 but whenever the winger did play for Watford he had something to offer. Nathan Ake developed into a solid EPL player, while some Dutch Toons were highlights in Newcastle’s season, despite their relegation. 11 goals for Wijnaldum, a good run for Anita but a disappointing one for Siem de Jong, while Janmaat missed the games in the business end of the season due to a groin injury. I can imagine these players might wanna stay in Newcastle should Benitez decide to take on the project long term. Jeremain Lens had a couple of highlights this campaign, but was overall disappointing for Sunderland. The Southampton contingent did very well, as did the whole club. Koeman is a sought after coach and Virgil van Dijk made it into the European Team of the Year! Clasie struggled with injuries and is again not with Oranje as a result. But when he played, he did his job thoroughly. Stekelenburg took over from the injured Forster and held himself well. Huntelaar had a hot-cold spell at Schalke and will most likely leave. The Augsburg lads also did a decent job and in Turkey, it was pleasing to note that Robin van Persie is playing close to his usual level, scoring, moving well and enjoying his game. Both Sneijder and Van Persie play the Turkish Cup Final this weekend and as a result, among other reasons, are not with Oranje. Then some more on Oranje. Danny Blind was the guest of Kees Jansma in De Tafel van Kees (Kees’ table). On Oranje’s disastrous campaign “It is devastating not to be there. But we need to move on. Look forward. We can work towards a new team that will get us to the World Cup. In 2014, people thought we were weak and shouldn’t go, but we went and finished 3rd. We finished 2nd in 2010 and had a disastrous Euros in 2012. This is not uncommon for a small football nation. Too many things went wrong in this campaign, but we also have some bad luck. Players like Robben, Vlaar and Strootman are key players for us and we lose quality when those kind of players are not there.” On Blind’s decision to add Dick Advocaat to the Technical Staff: “Ruud van Nistelrooy wants to work regularly with players on the training ground. Where he’s at in his coaching career, that makes sense. Usually the KNVB opts for young up coming coaches to assist the head coach, but as I am myself not overly experienced, I actually wanted to go for a man who has seen it all before. Dick has been at 5 major tournaments and has done so much as club coach as well. Funny, now I am team manager with two former team managers as my assistants. That is pretty unique, I believe.” Whether the KNVB pushed an experienced coach onto him: “No, it was my decision. Bert van Oostveen (KNVB general manager) even had to get used to the idea. I met Dick weeks ago by chance in Manchester and we had a chat and I left with a good feeling about him. There was a click. I gave it some thought and we talked some more. He wouldn’t want the final responsibility anymore but he is a football animal and he wants to work with talent and players still. I think with his passion and focus he can surely add something to the fold. I don’t think ego clashes will be an issue. If I had any ego in this, I wouldn’t have made this decision, would I? And Dick is all about the game, he is like he always was.” On the decision to not select Sneijder, Huntelaar and Van Persie? “Both Wes and Robin play the cup final this weekend. I think it’s not that handy to get them to come in for friendlies after that. And to be honest, I know what both players can bring. I am keen to see some others perform on those spots now. Sneijder wasn’t fit in the last weeks, but Robin played very well in the last months and I won’t look at age or anything like that. Whether you’re 35 years old or 18 years old, when you’re good enough, you’re old enough… Huntelaar, similar story. We know what Klaas Jan can do. This time, I won’t use him but want to see the younger lads play. So I rather have him take a nice break and prepare for next season. In September we play a serious qualification match, so I might well need him then.” On Ziyech and the role Blind and the KNVB played in that… “Why do we have to talk about that yet again?? This is now 10 months old. I won’t go into it. He was selected for Oranje. Due to an injury he never made his debut. We didn’t select him for the next game coz he played central striker for Twente, and we had Luuk and Klaas Jan and Dost for that role. I told him this. The next thing I know, he decides to play for Morocco. That is his decision. If he wanted to play for Oranje, he could have made contact and ask us about our plans with him. I would have gladly told him. But he made his decision. After playing for Young Oranje and after accepting our first invitation.” On Strootman: “He is a key player for us. I have been in touch with him a lot in the last months. Whenever he feels it’s good to come back, he’s welcome. I have also spoken to the club. As long as we stick to his program for his recovery, he can come and join us and make minutes. I am very keen to bring him in again.” On the Eredivisie level vs Championship in England: “The Championship is a serious competition. Probably on par with Eredivisie. Different in tactics and physical impact but none the less a serious league and we do follow the players at that level as well. Kieftenbelt (Birmingham), Chery (QPR), Ola John (Reading)… we follow them all and for some players, a stint at that level could be really good. Some EPL clubs rather sign players with Championship experience over Eredivisie experience.” It does seem Strootman can look forward to a starting position in Oranje against Ireland. Memphis, Janssen and Promes play upfront, Wijnaldum and Bazoer alongside Stroot and Willems, Blind, Bruma and Veltman in defense with Cillesen on goal. Most likely. Just to remind you: Ireland is on 27 May, Poland 1 June and Austria on 4th of June. Klaas Jan Huntelaar said in an interview recently that he asked Blind not to be called up. “I will never give up on Oranje. I am not bigger than the national team and if they need me, I’ll come. But it felt like the best thing for now. The young lads can have a go. And asked Blind for some time off and some time to think about my future. But playing for Oranje is always a big honour for me so I hope to be part of the future, still.” Steven Berghuis back in a New York minute Steven Berghuis only played 222 minutes for Watford this season, but while on holidays in Manhattan he got the call from team manager Hans Jorritsma. “I never counted on anything anymore. I mean, this season was a disappointment and I thought I was off the radar. Holiday is nice, but playing for Oranje is super. I caught the first plane back and love to be part of it. It’s great to be with the group and to be able to show the coach I’m still here.” Blind called Berghuis after Locadia had to retract injured. “Steven hasn’t played a lot but we followed him and he two impressive turns as a sub. He is fast, has vision and he is a threat. With the fact we are not equiped with many wingers, I’d love to see him up close and personal for a spell.” The little general, Dick Advocaat. Got his nickname as assistant of the General Michels. And now, the experienced former team manager is back in that spot. Assisting Blind… He was not as present for Oranje at practice as he was at Feyenoord. But he will still be the same. “It’s new for me, now. I have to observe a bit and take it all in. But I am always going to be me. And Danny is cool with me expressing me. I think it will be a good trio, Marco, Danny and me… I look forward to helping Oranje going to the World Cup, but after that, I will call it quits.”