Well, time for reflection. The football-less summer is here. The one in which we can marvel at the South Americans or smirk at the women…
I had a serious bout of bloggers curse! I wrote a long piece on Hiddink and the future of Oranje and then two things happened: a computer crash wiped out half of the text and at the same time it appeared Hiddink was out and San Marco in so my whole rant was outdated and needed reworking. This put me off for a spell. Apologies. I will rehash the old post and add all the new items in it.
The odd summers are always a bore :-). I love the big tournaments and the excitement of it all. I’m sorry I couldn’t feel it for the Lionesses. Not that I don’t like Women’s football. I think its cool that the girls get a lot of attention and all that. But I can’t watch it like I watch men’s. I see so many silly mistakes. Bad touches, bad vision, defensive errors… I don’t enjoy it. I would support our women all the way to the gold obviously but watching it is frustrating. I saw highlights of most and the full match vs Japan and we are still a bit behind them, the Ozzies, the Germans and the US. Our speed in handling the ball and movement in particular. And decision making. We also allowed several dangerous headers by the little Japanese girls while we do have some tall mofos at the back. Anyway… there is always the Olympics :-).
Lots of movement on the transfer front but not a lot of real action. Maarten Stekelenburg to Southampton is good news. For him. Not sure if we need Maarten for Oranje. But Koeman will have more patience with him I suppose. He still has 5 good years in him, I think. Karim Rekik will leave PSV. The youngster is keen to move to France or Italy. I was surprised by his move as City was not unhappy with him at PSV and the new champs are playing CL next season but Rekik wants more apparently. Otherwise, no real interest as yet in Clasie, Wijnaldum or Willems.
It appeared that the Zeist management has had question marks around Hiddink for a while now. His lack of passion, his alleged laziness, his lack of clarity and direction and the relationship between him and the technical staff and the key players apparently is fragile.
Hiddink was a great servant to Dutch football but the time came for him to leave. Danny will take over asap in the role of team manager and none other than Marco van Basten will take the role of assistant manager in the staff. San Marco and Danny have worked together in different roles (players, coach and manager) and appreciate each other’s contributions. “Marco is one of the best analists I have come across and dares to speak his mind. He is an independent thinker and very creative tactically. He is also a great and loyal guy,” said Danny Blind.
Marco could have stayed with AZ to work under Van den Brom and was doubting whether he should take the step, but working towards a Euro and World Cup tournament with the best players of the country really appealed to him. Ruud van Nistelrooy will stay on as assistant as well.
In the meantime, some exciting transfers happened…. For starters, Skipper Van Persie leaves Man United to play in Fenerbahce’s colours. The former Feyenoord man will follow in Kuyt’s footsteps, who made his way back to Feyenoord. Van Persie signed on for three years. Louis van Gaal: “I wish him well. I sent him a text message already. Robin knew what he could expect with Man United. I was clear to him about his future here. I would have loved for him to stay, but I was not giving him a starter spot, without question. He wanted to play and keep himself on the radar for Oranje. That is his choice. I wish him well.” The crowd in Turkey greeted RVP already and Dirk tweeted a nice message to his mate. “It is not hard to fall in love with this club. I am sure Robin will love playing there and I am sure the fans will love him back.”
Jordy Clasie is reunited with Ronald Koeman, with whom he built up a deep relationship. Clasie cried on the pitch when Koeman said his farewell one season ago and will join Southampton on a 5 year deal. Clasie knew he wanted to work with Koeman again, but in the last week before his decision suddenly Lazio Roma other clubs started to zoom in. Feyenoord signed Swede Gustavson as another midfielder replacement for the little playmaker. “A dream come true. In my 15 years in the Feyenoord jersey I was always told I might not reach the top. Under Koeman I made my big step up and even made it to Oranje. To go and play in the Premier League is a dream come true. But I will always remain a Feyenoord man at heart.”
Another reunion in the EPL is the move of Jeremain Lens to Advocaat’s Sunderland.
And if you need another reason to cast your eye on the EPL: Georghinio Wijnaldum signed for Newcastle United where he will join Janmaat, Siem de Jong, Anita and Krul under Steve McLaren.
Leaves us with the question “What to do to improve our Dutch football?”. The analysis needed to answer this needs to focus on the question “What is wrong with it?”. And obviously, as with anything, money is a key factor. I believe Sunderland in the EPL has more money to spend per season than all the Eredivisie clubs put together. Or something like that. There is one major issue. Which will not be resolved just like that.
But money doesn’t buy trophies. So we need to find the solution in our coach prowess, among other things. We might not have the funds to buy the same players as Sunderland or Monaco or Basel or Benfica. But we should be able to use the players we have to create a better team. This has been done many times by the Germans (1990, 1996, 1974), in 2004 by the Greek, Louis van Gaal did it in 2014 with Oranje and at club level Atletico Madrid comes to mind.
Oranje will always be able to shine, in my opinion. We do create enough talents to fill at least 22 seats with good players. If we can have a good coach who can instil a playing style that fits the players we should be able to remain amongst the best 8 teams in Europe. I think that the new bunch of players (Depay, Willems, Clasie, Klaassen, Bazoer, Chery, Zyiech, Van Beek, Vilhena, Rekik, Berghuis) have more than enough talent to rise to the occassion. Add to this a Strootman, a Janmaat, a De Vrij and a Robben and you have a decent team.
At club level I think it will be very hard to compete. But not totally undoable. Although it will take a very strong coach with an entrepreneurial club management to come up with the goods. And every 5 years I think it should be possible for an Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV to do well in the CL.
PSV had its chance this coming season. If they’d be able to cling on to Depay and Wijnaldum for one more year. The option is always there. You promise the top players you need a free exit from the club, or something like that. In return for another year to perform in the CL. The price money you can collect might be worth it… Although… Depay 35 Mio. Wijnaldum 19 Mio. It’s a lot of money…. Is it thinkable that PSV and the players would have said no to their chance to take a next step up?
Or will it be a small team like AZ with a talented young coach like Van den Brom and players like Berghuis and Muhren maybe? To perform with excellence in the Europa League?
Who knows… Your opinion please?