Tag: Hoogma

Van Gaal presents… The Van Gaal show!

In typical form, Louis van Gaal was presented at the KNVB centre in Zeist, along with his staff.

As per usual, he couldn’t help but show his bluster. “I am not doing this for me. I am doing this to give back to Dutch football. Because, when I am sitting on my sofa and looking at what is going on, I too would not know which coach to call. Other than myself. So, I decided I am the best man for the job.”

KNVB Technical Director Nico-Jan Hoogma mumbled charisma-less into the mic, telling everyone that due to the very short prep time for the three September matches, they wanted someone who could make something out of this squad in no time. Someone with the experience to do it and with the authority to do it. This profile seemingly was made for Louis van Gaal.

When Louis started to say that usually, his strength lies in the gelling of a team over weeks of preparation, the Telegraaf immediately pounced: “Ah, so you are not the right man for the job! Nico Jan Hoogma said they picked you because there wasn’t a lot of time, and you say you usually need a lot of time. You’re the wrong man for the job?”

Van Gaal has a love-hate relationship with De Telegraaf (the Ajax newspaper) and definitely with Valentijn Driessen, the chief editor sports. Probably more a hate-hate relationship.

Louis went on to say that thanks to Zoom and Teams, he could do his usual introduction talks with the players now, instead of in trainings camp. He had spoken to 6 players already (Van Dijk, Memphis, Wijnaldum, Blind, De Vrij, Frenkie are names mentioned, but not confirmed) and Van Gaal could say that they were all “more than enthusiastic about him” (I am not sure what that means… does that mean Virgil was jumping up and down on the coach, in Tom Cruise style?) and that some players had told him they would like to have more clarity… Somehow Van Gaal thinks he is the man to give this and apparently gives a backstab to Frank de Boer…

When asked about the system, he said that 1-5-3-2 or 1-3-4-3 was the best system to play in, but he also confided that the players prefer the 1-4-3-3 (he always mentions the goalie as well). And he said: I always listen to the players.

“But to play 1-4-3-3 you need a strong goalie and good wingers. We don’t have that now. So when I look at our strength and the strength/weaknesses of our opponents, I might have to make a different choice.”

He lamented the fact that hardly any player has played for the full 90 minutes, with Malen a bad example of a player who played 40 mins in one game and 20 mins in another. He will select the team which has the best fitness, so players who fail to make minutes will not play.

When asked about vaccinations, he said he would respect the law. He will not force people to get vaccinated but from a team perspective, he does believe it’s best if players would. The Qatar question came up and he became the old Louis: “Why are you asking me this? Do you believe I might be ok with that situation? Why do you want my opinion? You asked Koeman, De Boer now me? Why?”

He didn’t think the players should generate any actions or statements. “I don’t believe we should use the players for this. They didn’t pick Qatar. It’s the Federations and the politicians who need to address this. Obviously, I can’t condone what happened there, but my role is to manage the National Team.”

Asked what he would do or say if the players do want to make a statement: “I will always listen to them. And if I think it’s appropriate and if the whole squad is behind it, I will condone it.”

Van Gaal also had to answer questions about his infamous speech to wave out the Dutch women team to the Olympics, where he said that “a bunch of so-called stars weren’t able to impress” putting his emphasis on the team interest, over individual interests. When grilled, he responded surprised: “Oh? Did you believe I meant the Dutch team? Why? I didn’t say that? I was referring to the French and the Portuguese. They have a team full of celebrities, but they didn’t perform. Oranje went out due to details. A chance missed, a bounce too many, a pass not accurate… And that was it. Football is decided on details. But my comment about the stars not performing, that was not about the Dutch. You are making these assumptions.”

Asked about his ambitions: “I want to win the World Cup. It is that simple. But it will be hard. I mean, it’s a gamble for me. And I don’t even wanted this for me. I was retired. But who else can do it? You tell me? But sure, today I am the great coach. I have a lot of fans and people who follow me, but when we lose vs Norway, and we could, than I’m suddenly a loser. That is how it works.”

Wesley Sneijder thinks the 3rd stint for Van Gaal will be a failure. “I don’t think he can do it. He really needs months with a group to get them to play like he wants. He simply doesn’t have the time and I don’t think he can cope with it. Also, he said all players applauded his signing? Yeah right! Of course, none of them will say otherwise. What do you expect? And he had an hour long talk with the players? Well, I can tell you that he has been the one talking for 50 minutes. I really hope it works but I fear that first week of 3 games will be a disaster.”

Bookmark and Share

Wanted: brave, strong coach for Oranje

Belgium actually had an open vacancy call for coaches, and Roberto Martinez wrote a nice letter. And got the job.

Why not find out if there is someone out there, with a soft spot for the Dutch? Wenger, Klopp, Martinez, Zidane, they all have expressed their huge admiration for the Dutch school of football. I know we can’t pay the salary Zidane would get with France or any club, but he might enjoy it. Why not try.

The national team manager’s role is a fun one, I can imagine. You don’t have the daily pressure and stress. Hell, you can sleep in most days. You get to watch all these games on the credit card of the KNVB. Travel to Paris, to Barcelona, Milan, Torino, Liverpool, Moscow, Amsterdam… What’s not to like?

Arsene Wenger and Andries Jonker

You can’t fail worse than de Boer. That is also a tick! And then around World Cup time, you enter the pressure cooker which must also be good fun when you love football!

The debate is raging in The Netherlands, and some people come up with some interesting names and combinations.

Below my comments. But before I start, let me know your ideas.

Also, the debate Dutch vs Foreign… I used to be very firm on this: only Dutch coaches please! And why? Communication (I can’t see a coach like Bielsa inspire our lads, mainly due to his weak skills in English (and Dutch). But also understanding of the football culture. But, by now, we can safely say that the long list of Dutch options is really not that long a list… Let’s face it. Koeman, Bosz and Ten Hag (ideal candidates) are stuck with their (new) clubs and happy to be in that situation.

Then there are the Van Gaal’s, Advocaats, the Van Marwijks and Ten Cates… They are getting old a bit. You don’t want them push a walking trolly onto the pitch, in 1,5 years. But, I do have a weak spot for Ten Cate. I will explain why below.

Yes, I would go for Ten Cate. Because he has demonstrated in his illustrious career to follow the rule book on Dutch attacking football. Ten Cate has balls, swagger and authority. An Amsterdam street kid, who put the fear of the football Gods in a guy like Wesley Sneijder. That says something! He would be the perfect figure head. He’s smart, he won’t get bullied by the media and he’s not afraid to tell Memphis to shape up or ship out. In combination with Gullit and field trainer Marcel Keizer, it will be a solid combi.

I would not mind a foreign coach, but it needs to be a big name and a guy who has expressed admiration for the Dutch school of football. So, in other words: NOT MOURINHO.

I personally like Zidane, the Danish coach Hjulmand, Rudy Garcia and Wenger.

I’m not a fan of Joachim Low and also not a big fan of Martinez.

The KNVB have put themselves in further turmoil. Nico Jan Hoogma was a good defender (many years in the Bundesliga) and a decent technical director at Heracles Almelo (!!). But he is way too light for the KNVB role.

Henk “The Don” Ten Cate

He was happy with Koeman. Then, when Koeman left, he went after “Koeman 2.0”. That is never a smart thing! Frank de Boer felt it as a yoke and obviously, De Boer is NOT Koeman. I mean, even Erwin Koeman is not Ronald Koeman. Koeman is history, move on man!

And now, with De Boer gone, Hoogma again stumbles and stutters in his first interview post De Boer: “eh… yes….we now will eh… dust off the requirements and…eh… have a good think…because eh… we need a strong man. Like Koeman, Koeman was the chef. The boss. That is needed…”

The interviewer: “So you want another type Koeman?”

Hoogma: “Well… I guess now, if I have to say this, my feeling now, is…yes I am leaning that way.”

WTF. Weaklings.

Time for these bozos to go too.

Kasper Hjulmand

Van Gaal will probably smile and lick his lips. When Koeman left, the nation suggested Van Gaal. But some of the players (Memphis? Van Dijk?) voted against him and the KNVB themselves were happy with that, as Van Gaal bulldozers into any organisation and demands wholesale changes. Of the trainings grounds, the media people, the assistant coaches, the medical staff, etc etc.

The KNVB wanted a weak coach who would be happy with the current staff. And they got what they wanted.

If they now do come to decide for Van Gaal again, he will probably blast Hoogma and Co away and dominate proceedings as per usual.

For the record: I would not pick Van Gaal yet again. I think his tricks have worked in the past (with the aforementioned Memphis) but most players are sick of him now.

Lets open up de debate!

Bookmark and Share

Oranje’s new direction….

Well, Ronald Koeman doesn’t need a lot of introduction here. FG Groningen, rocket shots (mostly over the goal), Ajax, PSV, Barcelona, Feyenoord… Thon’s jersey. Wembley. Assistant to Van Gaal and colleague of Mourinho. Vitesse. Ajax. PSV. AZ. Feyenoord. England. Highs. Lows.

He selected two assistants, along with Patrick Lodewijks, the former goalie and current keepers trainer he met at Feyenoord and took along to England.

Kees van Wonderen was part of Bert van Marwijk’s EUFA Cup winning side in 2002. An elegant, football playing centre back (originally a midfielder) developed according to the philosophy of Wiel Coerver.

Dwight Lodeweges, most recently assistant to John van ‘t Schip at the surprise of the Eredivisie season PEC Zwolle, is maybe not so well known.

PEC Zwolle assistant Dwight Lodeweges with Van ‘t Schip

Lodeweges was the former head coach at NEC, Heerenveen and SC Cambuur. His current management really endorse this big step up for the assistant, but also emphasise he is key in Zwolle’s current success. He’s not just an assistant. He started as high performance coach at Zwolle in 2015. The Canadian born was also responsible for the development of the Zwolle talents. When Ron Jans decided to move on from PEC Zwolle last year, the Zwolle board immediately asked Dwight to step up as head coach, but the 61 year old declined. He didn’t feel like a role as the figure head and scape goat. So Zwolle went on to look for the new coach, with Dwight Lodeweges as a committee member. He was in the interview with John van ‘t Schip and every candidate coach was told: you will have Dwight as your right hand man. Van ‘t Schip as the manager, Dwight as the field coach, like they do it in England.

Dwight on the right, playing in the US (or is it Canada?)

Lodeweges loves working in the shade, in the background. Working with talents, moulding new systems and game plans. The kudos for PEC all go to Schippie, and Dwight is totally ok with that.

In 2016, Lodeweges took a second job, as the Under20 coach of Oranje, at the KNVB. He worked actually, with young talents like Van de Beek, Guus Til (AZ) and Fosu-Mensah (Man United), which is more than Koeman can say. At the KNVB, they were impressed with his skills and know-how and were disappointed when he decided to leave after one year. He couldn’t combine the role he had with the KNVB with the job assisting Van ‘t Schip. The former Go Ahead player is known to be a workaholic, working 70 hours a week easily and his big ambition was always to work with the top team of the Netherlands: Oranje. With PEC Zwolle on course to play the play-offs in the Eredivisie, it is fair to expect him to perform the two jobs simultaneously until the end of the season.

For the job of Director Top Sports (Technical Director), the KNVB originally wanted Louis van Gaal, but he declined. Fred Rutten was the next on the list. In every way, Rutten was the ideal guy. In terms of age, experience (as a player and top coach) and with a background in football development. Rutten is known to be a walking encyclopedia on football and a work-aholic. But he demanded a coaching role with a rep team, as Rutten is keen to remain in touch with grass. The KNVB didn’t see this, so Rutten declined and accepted a good paying job with Maccabi Haifa, as head coach. So Nico-Jan Hoogma was next up in line.

Koeman and Hoogma some years back

Adding Nico-Jan Hoogma to the list of new faces and it is clear we will have a no-nonsense management team in Zeist (with Koeman the master pragmatist). So, what does it say when Justin Hoogma, a talent at Heracles Almelo, gets an offer for 4 years from Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, and dad Hoogma tells his son to take the offer. “You’ll learn more in Germany than you will here”, were his words. And Hoogma knows. He was there, playing for HSV Hamburg and exactly in the period when the German federation decided to overturn the whole German youth development system. Hoogma will take the Dutch development and training books and re-write them. As Wijnaldum and Hateboer recently explained, players from the Netherlands starting abroad are all confronted with much tougher training-regimes. Hoogma can confirm. When he left Holland for Germany, he experienced the exact same.

Famously, Hoogma already introduced longer days and more training intensity when still at Heracles some years back. The defensive rock also found that heading a ball was not a normal skill anymore, so he organised the so-called heading gallows (used in the 1960s for heading training) to the club. Hoogma also widened the field of interest for the players, by keeping them longer at the club and work on their nutrition, video analysis, mental coaching and individual training. It’s no wonder that Heracles selected coaches like Verbeek, Peter Bosz and John Stegeman, people who are highly interested in the “total human being”, as Van Gaal calls it.

More relevant aspects: Hoogma and current KNVB chairman Jan Smit were responsible for the promotion of Heracles to the Eredivisie and the fact that the club is one of the most healthy, financially. Every week, 11,000 fans in the new stadium… the only negative is that Heracles, under Smit and Hoogma opted to go for an artificial turf. Interesting aspect: PEC Zwolle recently announced they will stop playing on artificial and will move back to playing on grass (albeit hybrid) within a couple of years.

Nico-Jan Hoogma at HSV

Hoogma is also an outspoken opponent of the current KNVB football pyramid as they call it, the overall competition, from amateurs to semi pros all the way to the Eredivisie. The licensing model, in other words. Hoogma wants to make the Eredivisie and the Jupiler league smaller, less clubs, and wants to introduce a specific competition for the youth teams of the Eredivisie clubs.

Hoogma will also appoint the new Football Development manager, someone Hoogma will work closely together with, to further innovate the coaching training. Hoogma, born in Friesland, is known to be a hard worker, a pragmatist, someone happy with a role in the background, but also known to call a spade a spade…

Ronald Koeman, another pragmatist, is known to dabble with different systems. At Ajax, where 4-3-3 is sacred, he butted heads with the 5th column about this and at Feyenoord the winning streak started with a 5-3-2 away against PSV Eindhoven (and winning).

Koeman is happy to let go of sacred cows as long as it brings results. King Karim El Ahmadi remembers it well. The first Ajax-Feyenoord under Ronald Koeman. The Feyenoord players didn’t like going away to Ajax. Only months before they conceded 10 goals against PSV, a huge humiliation. When the Johan Cruyff Arena came into view, the Feyenoord players got more silent. The bus stopped on the big parking deck with camera teams and reporters ready to cover the arrival of the Rotterdam team. The players looked at one another: who will go first? Ronald Koeman got up, flung his jacked over his shoulder, puts his chest out and with a confident smile stepped out of the bus. El Ahmadi: “We saw him do it, and it took the fear away. We got confidence from that. We ended up playing 1-1 while we were the better team. That sums up Koeman.”

With Koeman, the KNVB has the perfect ambassador. He’s been around, winning trophies in Spain, at Wembley, in Germany with Oranje and of course in Holland. A cosmopolitan, a man who opens doors and has the respect from the players. At Feyenoord, Graziano Pelle and John Guidetti were club cult heroes, but they only had one question after their games – despite the number of goals they scored: “What did Koeman say?”. Guidetti: “He’s a tough task master, he only needed a couple of words to get you sharp… My first four goals were all penalties. I was proud of my stats. But he said: how’ bout you score a field goal or two as well at some stage? That sort of stimuli, you know?”

El Ahmadi: “I think there is a pre and post Koeman era at Feyenoord. Winning the title started with Koeman. The vibe just changed when he came in. Under Mario Been, the vibe was loose. Mario was happy for us to call him Mario. When Koeman came he was quite adamant: you call me coach. We all looked up to him. He said: my door is always open. If you don’t like something or wanna talk about things, come on in. Well, I don’t think anyone ever went in to do that… He taught us to win.”

A week before his exit at Everton, he was already pondering how he would go about things with Oranje. “I hear people talking about things we lack. The Robben factor. Sneijder’s class. Etc… but hey… look at what we do have. We have amazing attacking full backs, we have good central defenders, and I did see Promes score a couple of goals in the Champions League, right? And Depay is above average and when you have players like Wijnaldum and Daley Blind at top clubs in England, you can’t complain. And then we see those young talents coming through at Ajax and AZ? There is more than enough to hold on to.”

De Roon and Hateboer

Everton played Atalanta Bergamo for the EL and Koeman witnessed how Dutchies De Roon and Hateboer were excellent. Koeman: “If you can hold your own in the Serie A, you can hold your own in Oranje.” Hateboer and Koeman even chatted before the EL match. Hateboer: “Well, we’re both from Groningen, so yeah… My friends and family are most occupied with the Oranje topic than me. I mean, there’ a couple of others who are not too bad right? Tete, Karsdorp, Janmaat, Fosu-Mensah, Veltman. That’s five players, so I guess I might be a candidate when Koeman wants to play five at the back? We’ll see.”

Koeman changed the system at Feyenoord in his last season and managed to secure the 2nd spot behind champions Ajax, with only a 4 point gap. The PSV away game was the game that got Van Gaal intrigued. The then NT manager was in the Eindhoven stadium with skipper Robin van Persie. And seeing Feyenoord in the 5-3-2 got Van Gaal to implement that system for the WC2014. Basically, Koeman was co-responsible for the success of Oranje in Brazil. Not that Van Gaal would give Ronald that credit of course…


Bookmark and Share