Our Netherlands World Cup Facebook page was taken down by Facebook! I am not sure why, they don’t get back to me and I’m a bit done with them, so sadly, we’ll need to start that again. In case you were wondering….
ON THE BLOG
I still highly enjoy the work and Dutch football (or football in general) but due to my busy days and circumstances (partly also the disappointing Dutch results) I will not post weekly anymore, as you will have notices. I love it that you keep coming back and appreciate it. I can say I don’t enjoy all the comments all the time, but that is my problem. I offer free speech here.
I struggle with Tiju. I find his comments abrasive and sometimes offensive. His black and white views are pissing me off regularly and his inability or unwillingness to spell people’s names properly annoys me too. Saye can’ing Memphis can’t play football for shit, but he himself can’t spell Willems??? If Memphis doesn’t belong on the pitch due to his lack of skills, Tiju should look in the mirror and see if he belongs on a blog if he can’t be bothered to show respect to players. Saying you don’t like Memphis is fine with me, but saying “Blind is weak” is sacrilege. He plays for Man United and skippered Oranje for God’s and Jesus’ sakes!! No Oranje fan would say something like that about one of their most professional players. Go to the Dutch Oranje game in the 1970s and say Krol is weak, or in the 1980s and say “Muhren is weak” or in the 1990s to say “Rijkaard is weak” and you’d end the evening with orange testicles… Just sayin’. But do keep on commenting please Tiju, but take a hint when you can…..
Tiju when ready to post….
ON TIMOTHY FOSU-MENSAH
I just want to say here that the story that Ajax snubbed him is untrue. I am not sure if the article quoted Tim, but in Holland, pro clubs are not allowed to sign contracts with players until they’re 17 years old. It is a big no no. Ajax will not do this. Man United does (all other European countries bar Germany I think, do) and this is why Man City, Chelsea, Man U etc rob young players from Ajax, Feyenoord and the like. I am sure if Ajax could have, they would have…
I do fully agree that he is the real deal, for now, but as we saw with Donk, Drenthe, Maduro et al, let’s not put too much pressure on the lad.
I will not debate that he had a disappointing season. But I will defend Memphis to the death re: his ability, his will to succeed, his workrate and seriousness re: the game. When people watch football (Tiju??) they usually watch the ball. I suggest that people (Tiju??) spend time watching the players play without the ball. And watch their movement. And watch the team dynamics. Whenever Man U played with Memphis, Rooney, Martial and Mata, you will find that due to hierarchy and “custom” the first ball from the back will be played into Rooney or Mata. When Rooney wants the ball, he gets it. That is how hierarchy works. Rooney will normally put his head up and either dribble, pass short or find the direct route to goal. Usually, Martial would be the next target (now Rashford, but I mean the central striker). Mata is a similar player and in my view also a #10, like Rooney. Driving the ball up, watching for a run. Memphis was often crowded out. Once the ball came in the final third, Memphis had 2 defenders marking him. At PSV, it was Memphis who would get that first ball. He was the go to man for PSV. He is not at Man U.
Against Villa, the through balls and the focus was on the right hand side again. Rooney and Martial drifting left a lot, opening to the right
He is used differently. The number of time, for instance vs Aston Villa, that Memphis was open but the first ball would go to Rooney, couldn’t be counted on one hand. Man U’s style of play and Rooney’s movement has more impact on Memphis’ effectiveness than Memphis individual quality. Against Midjeland, he showed what he can do if he gets space i.e. the ball earlier. Now, versus Aston Villa, he ended up the central striker in the box, as the ball would be moved to the right (Mata!) who would cross with his left towards Memphis who is not a header of the ball. Memphis plays better when Rooney is not in the team and Herrera plays in the hole. I’m not saying it’s Rooney’s fault, per se. It’s just how the team dynamics are. Remember the discussion in Oranje in the 1980s? Can Kieft and Van Basten play in the same team? Or in the naughties? Can Van der Vaart and Sneijder play in the same team? Or Sneijder, Van Persie and Huntelaar?
A good example of four ManU players all going for the same ball!
Man U has four players who all want the ball in their feet to go and make something happen: Martial, Rooney, Mata and Memphis. The only two players who go beyond the back four as runners to get the ball in their stride are Rashford and Lindgard. If you want to know why Lindgard gets the nod over Memphis, I’m 100% sure this is why. Man United needs diversity up front. Rashford is a real striker. Memphis is not. Martial is not. Lindgard is a runner. But then again, Lindgard is not a killer/finisher. Misses many guild-edged chances. Memphis? Memphis is an artist. He needs to be the key player in the team. This is how it worked with PSV and this is why it doesn’t work (yet) at Man U and Oranje.
I do agree, that Memphis might still end up a fluke (I doubt it, he is sooo talented) but there is the same chance that after one disappointing season he will flourish under another coach, with another group of players around him or at another club. For every Drenthe, there is a Bergkamp. For every Daniel de Ridder, there is a Huntelaar. And for every Tiju, there is a Jan….
The news hit hard last week. The KNVB – Bert van Oostveen – declared that Oranje should be world class again by 2026. WHAT??????? Is he a moron? What do we pay him for??? What the F!! Not 2026, Bert! 2018 please!!! For crying out loud. If I was a KNVB director I’d sack him on the spot. Because if it takes 10 years to reach the world top again, he has clearly not done his job in the last years. What an idiot. And the plan they presented makes me cringe. “We need to develop better defenders”. Yeah right. Well done Sherlock! But….how???? They don’t say. And so it goes on.
“Look Mr Chairman, that is the goal where Oranje needs to kick the ball”
Like with any organisation, any industry, any business…. if there is a problem, look at management. It’s not Tim Fosu Mensah, Stefan de Vrij or Jordy Clasie who are at fault here. It’s management. Development. Vision. Leadership. Bloody Louis van Gaal demonstrated that with the right tactics and a bit of luck, you can finish 3rd in the world! This man has no clue. In a way, it would be good if Man United decides to let LVG go. He would be an awesome technical director. Talking about leadership and vision. We missed out on the Euros not because we have a bad team. Or bad players. I don’t even think Hiddink and Blind are terrible managers. I think mostly we missed the Euros as a combination of 1) post WC issues (Robben, De Vrij, Vlaar, Van Persie), 2) under estimation of the campaign, 3) bad luck.
Quality is not an excuse. And qualifying for the World Cup 2018 should NOT be a problem. Sure, France is the tits but Sweden? Come on!!
Obviously, if we miss Robben, Sneijder and – say – Vlaar we might be in trouble again, but with players like them and Memphis, Wijnaldum, Propper, Klaassen, Strootman, Afellay, Janmaat, Willems, Van Ginkel, Bruma, Van Dijk, Cillesen, Zoet, Krul et al we should be able to get there!
ON ORANJE’S SYSTEM
Systems is what you put on a piece of paper (or blog). Football is what you do on the pitch. I don’t believe in systems, but in players and a football philosophy. Our philosophy should be to use our core skills (tactical smarts and technical skills) to play the sort of football that will enterain the fans and win games. Ergo: possession, dominance, front foot, forward pressing. The way Barca, Bayern and Arsenal play, with other words. That should be the standard. However, when you play an opponent which is stronger and has more of the same skills than we do (Spain? Germany? France?), then it is ok to leave possession to them, play more compact and play for the break.
I believe you determine your actual system on the players you have. The quality you have. So, this style of football you can play with 4-3-3 (traditional Ajax, Feyenoord) or with 3-4-3 (Oranje 1974) or with 4-4-2 (AC Miland 1980s/90s) or even with 4-2-3-1 (Arsenal). Doesn’t matter. The players at hand determine the system, eventually. At this time it is too hard to say “This is the ideal line up!” as it is unclear how Robben/Van Persie/Sneijder will hold up, how Memphis/Janssen/Bazoer will develop and what surprises we will see come forward (Letscher, Fosu Mensah, De Rooy, Maher)…. More on this topic once the qualifications start.
ON DUTCH CLUBS
Our troubles won’t be over soon! The fact that Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are playing with teams 5 years younger on average than 10 years ago, says a lot. But we keep on developing talent. As you know… Bazoer, Karsdorp, Vilhena, Propper, Ake, Janssen, Fosu Mensah… We’ll keep the faith. The competition is too hard. The other countries make more money and spend more money. Players are offered sensational deals at 20 instead of 24 as in the times of Bergkamp and Jonk. Would you say no if Man United wanted to pay you 5Mio per year? Compared to 500k at PSV?
Justin and Patrick
I’ve said this before, we still produce talent, but as a result of the development steps made by Germany, Spain, England even and France, we are not the unique developers of talent anymore. Heck, look at Belgium! Watch Man City play Spurs and you see Belgian players, Danes, French guys and England talent but no Dutch. Or see Atletico play Bayern and you see French, Belgian, Austrian but no Dutch lads involved (granted, Robben was injured). We do have the talent but we don’t develop them well enough. Too much focus on skills and tactics, no focus on physical strength, mental strength and focus. A new generation of coaches has stepped up though and in line with the new style of management (Flores, Guardiola, Emery, Klopp, Simeone), Dutch coaches like Erik ten Hag (Utrecht), Fons Groenendijk (Excelsior), John van den Brom (AZ Alkmaar) and Gio van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) you see a new style of working and thinking making its way. Erik ten Hag, like Pep, demands the presence of his players all day. Like a 9 to 5 job. Spending time together, for video analysis, physiological work, tactical team talks, individual training, nutrition guidance etc. Louis van Gaal, despite being of the old guard, has adapted his work methods as well. Potentially a good step forward.
Erik ten Hag with Pep at Bayern (now at FC Utrecht)
Lets hope we can see some positive changes in the way clubs manage and work and lets hope FIFA will start working on Financial Fair Play as well. If PSV, for instance, gets in the CL again next year and is able to hang on to Luuk de Jong, Guardado, Propper and Van Ginkel they might be able to do what they did this year. And Ajax? Well, let’s hope they start spending some of the 100mio euros they seem to have in their vaults and lets hope Huntelaar comes to the Arena. And let’s hope Ajax signs Hakim Zyiech from FC Twente…
In the meantime Feyenoord won their first big trophy since 2008. The National Cup is a big trophy. Holland only has two prizes that can be won, so the Cup definitely counts. Feyenoord currently has a 45 mio euro budget compared to the 70+ of PSV and Ajax, so there is still room to improve there. The Youth Academy works well, but a new stadium (or a re-furbished De Kuip) will be needed to up the ante. If players like Kramer and Elia develop more into next season and Kuyt keeps his form and new blood is found to replace Vilhena (who will most certainly be out transfer free), they might finally challenge for the title.
Van Bronckhorst and Kuyt celebrating with The Legion in Rotterdam
Feyenoord will play Europa League group stage football next season, while hopefully both Ajax and PSV will make it into the Champions League. Step by step, we will recover… Tonny Vilhena has been playing strong in midfield for Feyenoord, pushing and tackling and running and scoring. His long distance shot is impressive, but now he will need to work on his tactical awareness and positioning. Sadly, he will walk away from De Kuip for free and even more sadly, he might end up warming the bench at some European sub top team like AC Milan, Atletico or AS Monaco…
And, if Leicester can finish top in the EPL with their budget, at some stage, Ajax or PSV might actually get to the last four in the CL. I can see PSV do it.
ON JOHAN CRUYFF
He is stil sorely missed. During the days/weeks of his mourning, every person who ever had anything to do with JC was dragged in front of the camera to tell stories, anecdotes, opinions… One man, was absent. Willem van Hanegem. Johan’s partner in crime in Oranje 1974 and his rival playmaker at Feyenoord. The perfect #10. Who was instrumental in eventually luring Cruyff to Feyenoord. In a column he said he wasn’t going to go into all the invites for the talk shows, at it simply was too hard for him to talk about Johan. Last week, he finally made his return to a sports talk show. Jack van Gelder had to ask him the question. See this video to witness how Willem van Hanegem is processing the loss of the Legend.