Dutch Football: WTF!!

I took a short break from blogging. The usual reasons, Covid related busy-ness and pressure at work, and finding time inbetween all these matches to catch up.

But I have to get back into it now, as we have seemed to be going on a slippery slide! We really felt Dutch football was on the up and up after missing two major tournaments. Koeman reinstated pride, Memphis, Virgil and Frenkie became house hold (first) names and Ajax dazzled in the Champions League.

We saw De Ligt move to Juve, Frenkie to Barca, and with Wijnaldum and Virgil steady at Anfield, it seemed we were clawing our way back to the world top.

Fast forward to now, and we see a Dutch NT performing quite inconsistently (albeit with great promise still, under Frank de Boer), we see Koeman and Frenkie struggling in Spain, Virgil is sidelined for a while and the development of youngsters such as Ihattaren, Boadu and Stengs seems stifled for a bit.

At club level, things do look more dire, indeed. Ajax failed to perform in their CL group. Granted: not an easy group, but when you are on par twice with Liverpool but you lose both games, hmmm…well, something is off. When you also lead 0-2 in Bergamo but give the lead away, that is… ouch. And if you can only create two opportunities (Brobbey header and Klaassen miss) vs Atalanta at home and you end up losing, well, that means you are simply not good enough!

And the same can be said of Feyenoord. Yes, they were unlucky vs Wolversberger at home (3 fluke penalties against and a clear penalty for Feyenoord overlooked) , but the overall performances were poor and Feyenoord is out of Europe.

As is AZ, which had a dreadful season start. They did win vs Napoli in the EL and it seemed they were in the drivers seat but too many red cards, too many missed opportunities and on top of that: drama re: coach Arne Slot and AZ’s European campaign ended in tears as well (and some pushing, shoving and alpha male behaviour).

Lets talk Arne Slot for a bit. The so-called crown prince amongst Dutch coaches. He is clear, communicates well, is apparently a tactical wizard and very well liked by all and sundry: players speak highly of him and most people believe he was the main man, even as assistant to Van de Brom.

Slot decided not to extend his deal with AZ. He informed management a number of weeks ago. The board accepted and went on a first informal search for a replacement. Slot also said “several clubs have contacted my agent”. The AZ management ( general manager Robert Eenhoorn (once of the New York Yankees) himself flirted with a move to Feyenoord last season!) was ok with that.

But when they heard Slot was in talks with Feyenoord, the AZ managers Huiberts and Eenhoorn decided to fire Slot on the spot.


For starters: AZ mirrors themselves with Feyenoord. Not Ajax, yet. Too rich, too big. But Feyenoord. Why not. From top 4, AZ wants to climb to Top 3, and Feyenoord was to be their first scalp.

With Slot moving to Feyenoord, AZ feared that all the company secrets (contract info, scouting reports, innovative plans etc) would be potentially shared with Feyenoord. So there was no way they would allow this to happen and allow Slot to coach AZ till the end of the season.

Robert Eenhoorn and Max Huiberts

Max Huiberts was asked: “What if Bayern Munich wanted Slot?” And his answer was: “Yeah, we probably would have responded differently”.

Another key “Why” question, is: Why would Slot leave AZ and go to Feyenoord?? Feyenoord is not rich, their squad lacks the talents AZ has (Wijndal, Stengs, Boadu, Karlsson, and more) and there is a LOT of work to do in Rotterdam (particularly in the Academy) to even get Feyenoord to the level of AZ!

Well, the answers to this are intriguing. For starters, Slot’s agent is one Mino Raiola. Of Pogba, De Ligt and Zlatan fame. And guess who else have him as their agent?? Boadu, Stengs and Wijndal. Ok.

Secondly, Feyenoord already swooped up a youth Academy coach from AZ earlier in the season and it appears that Feyenoord is on the verge of signing an investment deal, for 130 million euros. Purely to rebuild their Academy and invest in a top team! This money is not meant for the stadium, but purely for the football department.

It’s quite likely that this message pushed Slot to put his signature to paper. It must be any coach’ wet dream to get a people’s club like Feyenoord, with that appeal and stadium AND 130 million euros :-).

Slot also made it clear that he didn’t feel supported at AZ. When he needed to fix some issues in his squad (when he lost midfielder Guus Til and defender Wuytinck) it took management too long (in his eyes) to come up with the replacements. He also let on that the next generation of talents is not that great and he wasn’t too keen on having to renovate the first team. It’s also common knowledge that Boadu, Wijndal and Stengs probably leave AZ at the end of the season (hint hint agent Mino Raiola).

Rumour has it that if Dick Advocaat keeps on dropping points, playing mediocre games and moaning in the media about lack of quality, it might well mean exit for Dick and early entry for Arne…

PSV is the other way around. Last season, it kicked Van Bommel out, and brought Roger Schmidt in for this season. A Dutchman out for a German. That is always a biggie. Then a guy who wants to implement a totally new and sacred system and on top of that pushes super talent Mo Ihattaren to the bench / stands, which infuriated many Dutch fans and pundits!

He even put him down, it seems, saying: “Yes, he is a talent but he’s also only 18 years old and too heavy. I need to get him match fit!”

Today however, Schmidt turned PSV around and finished top in their EL group, with Ihattaren playing from the start. Players like Dumfries, Rosario, Malen, Ihattaren and particularly Gakpo do really well for PSV. The presence of Gotze and Max also make PSV a highly watchable team!

Roger Schmidt of PSV, Mohamed Ihattaren of PSV

Is it all bad news then?

No, there are some good developments too!

De Ligt is back and he’s back with a vengeance! What a player.

Wijnaldum is on fire for Liverpool.

Ake is back and important for Man City.

Bergwijn plays all the tough matches for Spurs, as wing back.

Ryan Gravenberch is amazing.

Carel Eiting is nominated as player of the month in the Championship.

Mitchell Bakker is making more and more minutes in PSG.

Sinkgraven is on Cloud 9 with Leverkusen, who are performing really well.

Rick Karsdorp played 7 matches in a row for AS Roma and was named Man of the Match vs Sassuolo.

Our World Cup qualifying group also looks doable. Norway and Turkey being the two threats in the group (Norway has that man Haaland and Odegaard as well, Turkey is always tough for us…) but we should finish first I think.

Exciting times ahead. I hope we can shake the blues soon and get all teams back to their usual level.

Below Ten Hag talking about his Ajax team as children…!


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  1. I read about eiting.he has become a key player for Huddersfield. I think Ajax were right to loan him out. Next season he could bring the much needed boost in the midfield for them.

    Karsdorp return is also a good news.

    1. I think Ihattaren and stengs are two players that really need tp step up their game before the euros.

      Also brobbery could surpass boadu with the how things are unfolding.

      Being said this midfield is the area that needs the upgrade the most and preferbly somebody that could fluently partner frenkie or hold on his own.

  2. As it stands, the UEFA coefficients look as so, with teams remaining:

    Russia: 38.382 (Krasnodar)
    Holland: 36.800 (Ajax, PSV)
    Belgium: 36.300 (Club Brugge, Antwerp)
    Austria: 35.825 (Red Bull Salzburg, Wolfsberger)

    I think it’s only a matter of time before we catch Russia, but we need to be wary of the teams below us. Brugge and Salzburg can do some damage here, so we’ll need Ajax and PSV to really step up to earn us that 2nd CL spot.

  3. Part of the problem with Feyenoord is that they don’t really seem to have a long term plan.

    If I was the management there, I would break their pathway down into a 3 year plan.

    Year 1: Insert youth into the team, finish Top 6 in the league
    Year 2: Continue to develop, maybe purchase some experience, Top 3 in the League
    Year 3: SHould be competing for the title.

    But Feyenoord does not have the assets currently to be competing for trophies each year, which is what they attempt to do. Maybe when their investors come through they will be able to but not at the moment.

    1. This is I think where you are wrong. They finally have a plan.

      The Academy gets a boost (with Young Feyenoord entering the football pyramid)
      They get Arne Slot in as their key leader for years to come
      They count on getting 130 mio euros in as well from an investor which will help enormously.

  4. Thank you, Jan, for the article. I was aware of tension between Huiberts and Slot due to the lack of support. However, I was not aware of 130 miln investment into youth development in Feyenoord. Wish all the best to Feyenoord.
    I am not 100% sure that Arne is a right coach for current Feyenoord. We will see how this collaboration goes. With respect to Stengs, Boadu, and Wijndal, they will not be sold to Feyenoord unless their contracts expires with AZ and they will not renew that. So, it does not matter whether Mino is their agent, that trio will NOT go to Feyenoord, PSV, or Ajax.

    On another note, AZ won today Twente. I think it is a huge boost to win a team that defeated last week Ajax. Keep in mind that Pascaal Jansen did it without BMI and Svensson, and Midtsjø; and he did it without a single yellow and red card. On Friday, Jansen said that he would take very seriously problem with the discipline and found it outrageous to have six red and 26 yellow cards in 18 games (11 in Eredivisie and 6 EL). At least this weekend I will be in good mood.

  5. Additional for positive point.
    – Malen,Wijndal,Weghorst, Gakpo is very good form
    – Gravenberg, Ihattaren beautiful game & knocking Orange
    – Schurr almost de Ligt level & same playing of style
    – Kluivert, Chong get more time playing & coach trust at bundesliga

    – Botman is awesome at Lig1
    – de Beek also more positive, more minutes, more game recently

    1. Yep good points! Gakpo is doing ever so well, so is Gravenberch. Botman too. I hope Karsdorp will keep on impressing as the RB spot is still a problem. Veltman and Hateboer are not good options in a 4-3-3

  6. other players like karsdorp will find their playing mins and more experience, then it will be hell of a competition for spots in the team. deboer has to keep his eyes wide open for all players, then he will be in a great position to have a good team with bench strength.

  7. Malen to Dortmund is making the headlines. Should sancho leave for epl. What do guys think, should he move or remain at PSV for another season.

    Also looking at how bakker has overtaken kurzawa at wingback for PSG goes to show how he is growing. Its being a long time since the LB position seems to be flourishing with talents/options now including sinkgraven at leverkusan as what Jan said. Maatsen is also not far behind being regular in championship now for Charlton.

    Midfield is the department thats needs overhaul and perhaps after the euros this should be at the top of FDB list.the idea of building the team around frenkie needs to be relooked and new combinations should be tested with or without frenkie. A time will come when coaches will know how to suppress frenkie. Well it already happening and if you think about this from a knock out round perspective, you need impact subs ready on the bench, which currently NT doesnt have.
    So far what has being evident is neither wijnaldum nor VDBeek have been consistent when games are played within short time line and if you could consider euros and WC, I dont think much gonna change.

    In my honest opinon Wijnaldum should be let go after the euros.you can always come up with his experience argument here but at the end of the day his performance will always be dictated by his consistency level.once again from knock out round point of view you can expect this guys to be nullified especially when teams start to close up playing more cautiously.this is always a feature in knock out rounds and this is absolutely where you need impact players who can change the complexity of the game coming.

    VDBeek situation is also not looking good at United and I dont know for how long he will be keep being selected in NT for sitting on the bench at united. Its gonna be rotational basis with the current midfielders united have so you cant expect much from him either. Being said this he will continue to get selected until somebody comes and dethrones him from there. This is confusing part of dutch football. For some you dont get selected even playing at united level and for some you still get the nod even sitting on the bench. Being said this there aint much option either so its basically go with flow.

    1. These dutch players need to stays their asses in the dutch league. I am so not surprised about Van Beek. That is why when some of you guys talked about theses players being talented, I laughed. Every time they moved abroad, they ended up on the bench or not even on the list. No coach is going to put you on the bench if you good. Look at Zyeek at Chelsea. Dutch football needs to figure our how to create talents again.

  8. with the arrival of gravenberch, ihattaren, justin kluivert (if he keeps last week form), weghorst who has been scoring for fun, karsdorp who is a major upgrade for right back spot, and sinkgraven on left, I hope we do not see the names of babel, hateboer, strootman, and even luuk de jong anymore (weghorst is a major upgrade over him)!!

    there should not be any place for mediocrity in oranje, and currently it is loaded with mediocre players!!!

  9. GK;
    BIZOT, Bijlow, Krul


    karsdorp, dumfries, de ligt, van dijk, ake, de vrij, daley blind, sinkgraven


    frenkie, van de beek, wijanldum, koopmeiners,gravenberch, ihattaren

    memphis, weghorst, stengs, malen, justin, danjuma

    this is the ideal 23 for me….

    1. Pretty realistic. I think Cillesen will likely retain his spot, but I hope Bizot is the starter. I might switch Danjuma with Gakpo, who has been on fire lately, but it will be a form decision come spring.

    2. I would pick Bergwijn over Kluivert (Bergwijn can play wingback too!) and Gakpo over Danjuma for now. Stengs is the future but he’s not in great form at the moment. I’d go with Berghuis for now.

    3. our problems is veltman,hateboer,babel,slow blind as LB and inconsisiatnt wijnaldum and promes…i wont say gini and prmes are problem..but they are obstacle toward goal at some games..

  10. It is a good group; nice to have the talent to argue over spots.

    Gakpo, Kluivert, Stengs, Danjuma will sort themselves out over the next few months.

    I think Bergweijn has to have a spot. he is starting for Mourinho for Tottenham, that says something. He has a high defensive work rate as a forward, and given how high up the fullbacks have been playing under FDB, that is a good additional quality. He and Dumfries played well together under Koeman.

    I haven’t seen Sinkgraven play this year, so I will take the word of those who have that he is making an impression. For those who have seen both, would you select him over Wijndal?

    1. The way Bakker is performing, I think he becomes the clear cut LB by the Euros. He’s performing from like a 6/10-9/10 in most games, including Champions League. He’ll be up against Messi in February, which will be a good test.

      Sinkgraven is a little more consistent, going from like a 5/10-7/10, never really disappoints, but not a world-beater.

      Wijndal is more over the map. He ranges from like a 3/10-8/10.

      I think Bakker is the option.

  11. Really excited to see many of the players coming to fore and playing regularly and important in their teams. This bodes well for the Euros if they keep up their form.
    FDB got to start to drop Babel, Promes, Hateboer, Veltman from the NT. If they continue to be called up, this will show a lack of ambition/courage in him. The day it happens, I will be a happy man.

  12. More talks of a BeNeLiga happening, and I think this would be a great step forward for a lot of reasons.

    Firstly, it would definitely get us more CL/EL spots. Secondly, we would increase the level of competition in the league. Thirdly, larger TV audiences mean more money in the deals.

    The league would essentially look like:

    1. Ajax
    2. PSV
    3. Club Brugge
    4. Anderlecht
    5. AZ
    6. Standard Liege
    7. Feyenoord
    8. Genk
    9. Vitesse
    10. Twente
    11. Antwerp
    12. Beershot
    13. Groningen
    14. Heerenveen
    15. Utrecht
    16. Gent
    17. Cercle Bruggge
    18. Sparta Rotterdam
    19. Charleroi
    20. Zwolle
    (These are just the 20 teams I picked from recent histories of success)

    No more Ajax winning 13-0 against Venlo, instead the Ajax youth team will get to compete with better teams in the B league (if they’re good enough to be there even)

    1. From this list, the European spots would look like:

      CL Group – Ajax/PSV
      CL Qualies – Club Brugge
      EL Group – Anderlecht/AZ
      EL Qualies – Standard Liege/Feyenoord

      This seems more accurate to the level of play.

  13. Arne Slot calls Feyenoord as a top club. I am not sure whether there is any difference between current Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar, except history and tradition.

  14. The schedule for NT as it stands, is 3 world Cup qualifiers in march vs Turkey, Lativa and Gibraltar and perhaps a few more friendlies before the euros. if you consider from preparation point of view, its too late to test new players on the final hour when actually these games should have been be used for putting the final touches to the team. you see this is the biggest problem with Dutch Football/ hierarchy or simply whoever is pulling the strings up there and again I will use Bakker as an example here. when Bakker broke in the starting 11 for PSG and I said this back then that there is nothing to loose in investing in him as he was playing,training , learning from some of the very best and was destined to get minutes and eventually thats what has happened. Even though, he has fortified from Brenets injury but still he has gone to lay his stakes in team which is a plus and good indicator of his growing capabilities given he only joined them from tier 2 level. (Jong Ajax)

    you look at how things have unfolded at LB after koeman left . Ake, Blind, Ake ,Blind and finally when they realized it was not working, then the decide to call up Wijndal and van annholt. this waiting game has become a prominent/dragging feature in NT and its either when there is a injury or when water level reaches the neck is when all their holes open up and they are forced to start from the square 1. also you look at blind’s situation, medically and the fact that he doesn’t play LB, already is on a decline but still they go on persisting with him, sighting his experience being a asset to the team which again is bogus. NT has never felt his absence when he has not played and neither they have looked vulnerable without him. dont wanna dig deep here as everyone knows why he has ran supreme for so long.

    out of all the LBs, Bakker is playing at the highest level now and vs some of the biggest clubs.can you imagine him not playing in euros.this is stupidity from generally point of view given NT doesnt have fixed options there and again you can only bang you head on the wall for now. should they have been called up from the starting of the NL,both him and wijndal would have clocked decents minutes and got into full rhythm by now.

    looking at euros, Even if he (Bakker) gets the call up for the qualifiers , im not sure if 3 or 4 caps will have his confidence level running up to the max to earn him a starting spot. Maybe his outings in CL could prove to be a contributing factor in mitigating the international level exposure but that remains to be seen if FDB has the balls to start him vs Turkey.

    im not expecting much of change come euros as majority of the players will be those that featured in the NL. the group stages will be same as we witnessed in the NL. up and down, up and down, if lucky drag through the quarters and then back in the plane.

    1. IF u compare our LB VS RB..We are in more trouble with RB…Blind is 1000 times better than shitboer and veltman…
      its good that we have Jetro williems,Bakker,Annholt an winjdal at LB..
      but on right we are short..Dumfries is not great,Hateboer is below average..
      We want geetruida and karsdorp badly for RB..

      1. Dest was a big let go tbh and once again for who, mr versatile joel veltman whose selection in NT has been a mother of joke and a waste st the same time .look at both of them now. Koeman signing dest at barcelona goes on to show he made that mistake of not selecting him in NT. it was again that same wait and see later crap which led to dest choosing the USMNT. Yes he was still 18 at that time but he had all the attributes of talented RB in making when he exploded at Ajax and which should have been recognized there and then. I mean you look at how koeman has been deploying him both on the right and left.talk about being versatile and as for veltman at Brighton. No comments.

        Moving on Kenny tete remains a good defensive RB and is due back at Fulham after being sidelined from September with calf injury.

        Its also worth mentioning that tete was overlooked to veltman,simply because veltman was playing at Ajax ( vesatile RB) at that time to tete who was struggling for minutes at lyon. Otherwise no doubt tete is way better RB than veltman , including being capped at NT level.

        Now that both are playing for relegation threatened clubs, I wonder who will get the nod now if any or both will find them out of contention which is likely the case.

        This is why I always say, this only happens in dutch football.

  15. We have luxuary at defense…Vandijk,Deligt,Devrij,Ake..european top dogs…then we 2 excellent young ones in Botman and shurrs…..But still we stick to bleow average veltmanshi%%T..Blind is good but absense of Blind doesn’t affect us..

  16. our problem no 1 is lack of goals which is down to luuk de jong,shitboer, and Blind stays at back..then we supply bench with strootman,babel,promes and veltman…when u take out these players 50 percent problem solved….
    then make compettion for Wijnaldum and Blind…make them sit in bench in every alternate games

        1. If that’s an issue, they could consider playing a 5-2-3, not a pretty formation but a winging one. Juventus used to use this formation to shut down 2nd legs of Champions League ties.

          Could be something like:

          -Dumfries–de Ligt–van Dijk–de Vrij–Bakker



          Dumfries and Bakker would supply the width and crosses, while Stengs and Memphis primarily cut inside and act as forwards rather than wingers. Frenkie and Wijnaldum would need to be work horses, both box to box.

          1. good to see our site back as normal

            Happy new year everyone.

            This is good squad to me, i don’t mind if we have Schuur,Botman, Kardorp in as they have show they’r very good form atm.

            On Steng i am still think Bergwijn a little bit ahead of him

            The real striker i love Malen but i believe we should give more chance to Weghorst to see

  17. my head was sore trying to know about mysql extension.

    Thanks Jan.

    Alot has happened and can wait to update.

    Shall wait for a new post and

    Happy New year Jan.

  18. Hey man,
    Finally we get into the blog. Wowww…i feel so good.

    Happy New Year to Mr Jan and all friends here.
    Wish everyone a blessed yeay 2021.

  19. Yes, great to see the blog back up and running, didn’t realize how much I missed my interactions with you guys on here until it was absent for awhile. Let me echo Lights in wishing a good 2021 to everyone.

    Coming into a big period. WC qualifiers, EC and then more WC qualifiers…lots to talk about.

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