My friends, I’m sorry I had to push the Van Persie top story aside so quickly. Hope you still enjoy reading that if you haven’t already. But this is too hot to ignore. The title of the post might assume an April’s Fool angle or an exaggeration? Well, it’s not April 1, and yes, it might be exaggerated but it is an astonishing development.
All you will read here has been uncovered by investigative journalists of De Telegraaf. One of the best and most influential (and largest) newspapers in the country (in particular in sports). Their main competitor (Algemeen Dagblad) is the official spokes daily for the KNVB, so this news will not really appear in that medium. Chris van Neijnatten was the sports chief editor of the AD and he is currently head press relations at the KNVB, so there you go.
Anyway… what is the story?
You know that Hans van Breukelen was appointed Technical Director of the KNVB and the boss of Danny Blind and all KNVB’s football related activities.
In the same time frame he came in, chaos happened. The Board of Directors resigned collectively (bar one), general manager Van Oostveen was side lined and his successor will not be appointed until April 2017. This leaves the KNVB in the hands of the part time (interim) manager, who is in charge of commercial / business matters.
There were dramas with team manager Hans Jorritsma and two assistants to Blind resigned. Advocaat, to chase more cash and glamour with Fener and Van Basten went after his dreamjob at FIFA, although the appointment of Van Breukelen may well have had an impact. Replacement assistant Ruud Gullit firmly declined to deal with Van Breukelen after he told Ruud some fibs.
Bert van Oostveen, report author Jelle Goes, KNVB Chair Michael van Praag
You all know this.
What you don’t know (and what was uncovered this weekend) is that Hans (or De Breuk, as he is called) has been part of a Dutch sports consultancy company (BTSW – Buro for Applied Sciences) for 15 years. And the people who work there as “mental coaches” and “peak performance consultants” and “team building mentors” and “psychologists” have all seem to have found their way into the KNVB in some form or other. All on the payroll and/or consultancy roles at different levels. The Technical Manager Jelle Goes, Youth Academy manager, the coaching development manager, all sorts of jobs at the KNVB filled by people 1) no one heard of before in football and 2) all partners/working for this company. All colleagues of De Breuk, for years.
Jelle Goes is the author of the much maligned report “Winners of Tomorrow”.
Joost Leenders, mental coach of Memphis Depay, amongst others, is now the new coach of the Under 18s and is BTWS ambassador.
Frans de Kat is youth coordinator – also of BTWS) and has worked for Arsenal and claims to have firmed up an agreement with Arsenal for youth development activities.
What you also don’t know is that the website of BTSW (now taken down, apparently) boasts relationships with all sorts of artists, musicians, clubs which clearly are all made up. The likes of FC Groningen, Arsenal, rapper Ali B and other big names in entertainment and sports are used to boost the profile of this company, but all of these have now been taken down. Arsenal even published a press release saying they’re outraged their name was used. None of these people/organisations seem to want a public relationship with these pseudo psychologists (or psychos!).
It goes even further: the founder of BTSW (Mr Stoutjesdijk, I believe) is an intense and dominant leader. An NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) expert who operates like a sort of svengali and gets into people’s heads without them wanting this. A number of people have now come forward and claim this guy is 1) manipulative, 2) overpowering, 3) dangerous even…
Stoutjesdijk himself is the newly appointed mental coach for the Dutch women’s team….
What also came out, is that many athletes who have been “managed” by the psychos have suffered severe trauma and issues as a result of these people. And they wanted to come out. So a certain female author wrote a book about this and she actually called the company a “cult” with Stoutjesdijk as their cult leader. The victims, however, asked for their names and all the names of the people to be withheld and replaced by pseudonyms, for fear of retribution.
As a result, the book became a bit of a blank shot. Powerless. It read like fiction. And it never really made a mark. Until De Telegraaf uncovered all the real fact. The book was published (yes, was!) by a highly reputable publishing house but was taken off the market when the author was personally threatened by unknowns, with vicious threats. So the book is no longer available.
People who dealt with these psychos literally used the term brainwashing and are convinced Hans van Breukelen is actually a victim of this himself, being used by that company to get into a position of power in the KNVB to get control over sports talents in the Netherlands.
New PIM: Peter Blange
The newly appointed Performance and Innovation Manager (former Gold medallist volleyball star Peter Blange) also is linked to this BTSW group.
For people reading this and not being able to believe all this, here are some things about Hans van Breukelen you might not know:
- Yes, he was an above average goal keeper, whose mental strength as often named as one of his strengths
- Yes, Hans van Breukelen is considered a good man, with a good heart
- Hans van Breukelen suffered severe depressions in his playing days
- After losing a key game (vs Feyenoord) as a result of a major blunder by De Breuk, he self-confessed to have contemplated committing suicide
- It’s also a fact – corroborated by ex team mates – that after a bad performance, Hans would decide himself to remove himself from group training for months, spending time alone (with a keeper trainer) as he couldn’t face working with other people out of shame
- Hans did not do too much in football after his career but went into NLP and co-wrote two books about mental strength with….you guessed it….the CEO of that psycho company…
- And Hans made his post-career money going around the country doing motivational speeches on leadership, most likely using it to bring clients to the consultancy firm
It might well be Hans is under the spell and firmly believes to be doing the right thing.
The infamous “polletje” incident vs Feyenoord
At a football talk show last weekend, Hans was the guest explaining to the analysts there (incl Pierre van Hooijdonk and Co Adriaanse) how he saw the future re: football development. Claiming that clubs have approached him with the question: “How can we determine if a player has the winning mentality?”. All analysts present fell off their chairs, claiming that 1) no club would ask this and 2) any youth coach not being able to see this for himself, would not be worthy of his job.
The talk show host cut De Breuk short all the time as he started rambling long stories about “assessment” and “mental guidance” and “structure” and “foundations”, asking De Breuk what was actually going to happen in terms of football development….
Where Wim Jansen (and people like Cruyff, Van Hanegem, Gullit and Van Basten) fully focus(ed) on football skills development, Van Breukelen’s only goal seems to be to push BTSW through the door!
Today, the KNVB board (the ones left) will discuss this new drama with Van Breukelen. The media in Holland are claiming there is only one option: sack Van Breukelen and kick out all the people linked to this weird company.
The company’s website was taken down yesterday.
Coming Friday, the author of De Telegraaf article will be on tv in Voetbal Inside with KNVB chairman Michael van Praag.
How interesting though, the man who is promoting the winning mindset within the KNVB might well be forced to throw the towel, as it seems that everything he touches fails and his commercial links with WTSB seems to hard to overcome, as he is clearly bringing his business buddies into the KNVB where ever he can….
I will keep you posted!