Danny Blind is out. It’s old news. Henk Ten Cate won’t do it. New news. It might be Dick Advocaat. At this stage, anything that happens will become just another joke in the farce that is the KNVB.
Here’s part two, the opinions of ex-National Team managers and former Oranje captains:
Leo Beenhakker (ex-Ajax, ex-Feyenoord, ex-Real Madrid, ex-Oranje): “Listen, I missed the Bulgaria game as I was coaching Real Madrid. The Legends, actually. Our annual match, with Seedorf, Butragueno and Figo against the Liverpool legends. My goodness, Steve Gerrard is still so good. He can play anywhere still! I saw the news the next day and on the radio heard politicians, skaters and DJs talking. They should focus on their own jobs, hahaha. But you know the saying, if it rains from the top down, the bottom gets wet. The issues are bigger than Blind. The KNVB has been blundering for years now. Bert van Oostveen, the appointment of Hiddink, the stuff with the team manager Jorritsma, two assistants bailing. I think it should start in the organisation. Clarity. Structure. Talk about football again. Then we can sort this out. I won’t or can’t tell you who the ideal team manager is, but I do know Louis van Gaal could do this all.”
Ruud Gullit (ex-Feyenoord, ex-PSV, ex AC Milan, ex-Oranje): “Shit always fall down. I’ve had the captains band in 41 matches and won a trophee with Oranje. Wherever I travel to these days, people mock me about Oranje. It is starting to annoy me. This development is really bad, and it costs our country millions of euros. And how about my job security? When Oranje plays I get offers to analyse their games, so what do I do when we fail again? Follow Belgium? But I don’t know how to explain. In England they see us as the inventors of the modern games and now it’s such a mess. What do I tell them? I think they jinxed themselves by ignoring Koeman. He was perfect for the job in any aspect. When I recently saw Blind sitting there, in between two goalies and with a goalie as his boss, I felt for him. It’s bad. Keepers think differently. They view the game differently, they practice differently, with their own coaches… How can you have three of them in key positions? I’m not saying they don’t understand football of course, but they are not the ones to determine how Oranje is going to play. It does surprise me now that all of our heavyweights are ducking out of the way. Manager Toon Gerbrands of PSV. Perfect leader for the KNVB. Not interested. Michael van Praag, he prefers working at FIFA. Our game has become so predictable it is like watching a Playstation game. Wooden and deliberate. Two centre backs passing the ball square. No midfielders who spin away and look forward, no forwards with amazing dribble skills (apart from Robben). I miss the intuition, the sparkle. And when Van Gaal was successful in Brazil, what was the trick? Three extraordinary players – Sneijder, Robben and Van Persie – who were supported by eight hard working and disciplined players. Like when Marco and I played for AC Milan. Marco and I had an understanding. I knew what he liked and disliked. We sorted out the tactics amongst ourselves. I miss that now. I am still sad my earlier talks with Van Breukelen ended like they did. I’m not going to make any move now. I’ll wait and see if they want to use my help.”
Dick Advocaat (ex-PSV, ex-Glasgow Rangers, ex-Zenith): “I have a really high opinion of Danny Blind, as a coach and as a human being. I never liked it when colleagues criticized me in the media and I will therefore not give any criticism on Danny here. Mistakes have been made, yes, but letting Danny go is not the solution. Maybe it’s inevitable how it went, but now we need to find real solutions. And funnily enough, PSV did really well in the Champions League last season. Ajax this season. We have players like Promes and Van Dijk and De Vrij and Robben played top week in week out at high level. I won’t go into names of coaches right here right now, but the name of Louis van Gaal is obvious.”
Bert van Marwijk (ex-Feyenoord, ex-Borussia Dortmund): “It came as a shock to me, that defeat vs Bulgaria and the subsequent sacking of Danny. I know people think I might have negative feelings towards the KNVB as I was sacked after a failed Euros, but I don’t have that. I wish them all the best and in particular Oranje. We have been embarrassed and caught with our knickers down. And it’s not fun. But it’s not like “let us sack Danny and all will be good”. Ridiculous. The issues lie way deeper. And once all players are fit and available, incl Robben, Sneijder, Van Dijk, De Vrij etc we actually have a good team. Better than Sweden and Bulgaria. It’s not just individual quality that is lacking, it’s also the team dynamics, the patterns, the system. Clarity. And then you need to hold on to that and something will manifest. I see it here (Bert coaches Saudi Arabia and is leader of the WC qualification group). We came from far and are doing the impossible. I hope the KNVB can convince Frank de Boer, but Louis van Gaal is probably the best candidate of all.”
Willem van Hanegem (ex-Feyenoord, ex-AZ, ex FC Utrecht): “As bad as I saw Oranje play against Bulgaria…pfff…. I can’t even remember seeing it this bad. But I think it’s going too far to point all our arrows at Danny Blind. As if his sacking will help. But I get the decision although it was harsh for him. The problem is a big one. I see Strootman playing for AS Roma, he leads, he steers, he runs box to box and scores too. In Oranje, I can’t see any of that. Mistakes, yes. Stray passes. Wijnaldum, the same. Good at Liverpool, clueless in Oranje. And De Ligt? Don’t worry, he’ll be a good player for sure. But let him make his debut vs Italy in a friendly in his own stadium. Let him get used to it all… It’s time the KNVB will go for top quality. In coaching, not just for the big Oranje, but also the young Oranje rep teams. We have amazing youth coaches, at Feyenoord, PSV and Ajax. Ex-players like Nilis, Roy, Makaay, get those guys involved. And also when appointing the big man. Louis van Gaal is top. Henk ten Cate is top as well. Give one of them a mandate for the first 5 matches and take it further then.”
Ruud Krol (ex Ajax, ex Oranje assistant): “It was so loose, it looked like a sandcastle, without any foundation. There was no aggression, no spirit. Nothing really. I agree with Willem, our big name midfielders were poor. How is that possible. These players did so well under Van Gaal, so it’s not like they don’t know how to play. It’s telling really? Louis has actually been working his whole career to this point. All his experience and qualities are needed right now. I think the KNVB will need to come up with an offer he can’t refuse. Tell him the future of Dutch football is in his hands. And let’s be honest, it actually is…”
Ronald Koeman (ex-Ajax, ex-PSV, ex-Benfica, ex-Feyenoord): “I was at a party, a family birthday and while celebrating the messages kept coming in… The next day I watched the so-called highlights, man what a drama. I never said I wasn’t available by the way. Someone messaged me to ask if I was interested. I replied “What do you think?”. What can I say, I’m very happy at Everton, we’re working on a major project here. They had their chance after Feyenoord. They decided against it. And now we are two head coaches and two assistants further and look where we stand! I am not going to name names, but we’ll need an experienced coach, a strong personality. This is a big big job!”
I’ll leave you with a summary of the column of my favorite sports writer (bar Winner): Nico Dijkshoorn:
“How much one can learn about the Dutch by watching their national team. One day one, all these mongrels are cheering on the stands with their faces painted orange. The next day they’re crying and demanding a new coach… I have a revolutionary solution for Oranje. It can’t get worse. And it would be an amazing social experiment. I’d say: don’t appoint a coach and let the players sort themselves out. I think Robben will immediately lose his dominant role in Oranje. How I remember the Robben of old. Bald when 24 years old. Always complaining, diving, dribbling and scoring. But suddenly, he has become a leader! Suddenly he throws with water bottles when he’s subbed off and the whole nation rejoices because “he is such a winner!”. He knew exactly where the cameras were and acted the big player. This is what we need: Mathijs de Ligt who hacks Robben down in the first minute of warming up and screams “And I have more for you where that came from! If you dribble one more time from the right flank inside to shoot with left, I’ll kick your ass again!”. I want a player like Karsdorp to say to Sneijder: “I won’t play the ball to you ever, because you have a white piano in your penthouse! You wear golden thongs whenever your wife tells you!” The most arrogant sons of bitches will play. “Cillesen! You carry the balls!”.
And they need to stop immediately with all those high fives after a substitution. Who invented that. A defender scores three own goals and is stuck with his foot in the goal net for 15 minutes and still gets high fived when subbed! And if they actually do need a coach for FIFA regulations’ sake, pick an angry South American. Someone who doesn’t speak English. Someone who has no clue what the Total Football school is, who doesn’t know Go Ahead Eagles play in Holland and who hasn’t seen a single Dutch Eredivisie match in the last 25 years. Someone from Patagonia. And then the first tactical session… The coach starts practice. Robben immediately joins in to discuss the tactics. And with one arrogant gesture, the coach instructs Robben to do 150 push ups. I demand an Argentinian coach with a speech impediment and a German shepherd as assistant coach. Only than, will we rise to glory again.”