KNVB General Manager Gudde, coach “inbetween jobs” Koeman and Feyenoord TD Martin van Geel
While Feyenoord got the maximum result out of the Champions League (getting on the score-sheet), we will keep our focus on the National Team.
Names. It seems the problem of Oranje will be fixed by yelling out names. “Van Gaal!” “Koeman!” “De Boer!” “Advocaat!”
Luckily, the new board of directors (chaired by Jan Smit) has made it clear. “We won’t start by appointing a coach. We will first introduce the new Technical Director”. And that new role will be key. That man will come up with the strategy for the KNVB in football development and support. And he will appoint the new coach.
As it is supposed to be.
We have had to deal with a KNVB without a technical director for too long and most of our issues are the result of this. Our coaching training, our youth system structure, the scouting and development programs, the selection and guidance of the Oranje coach, you name it. I don’t even count Hans van Breukelen as TD, he was a joke.
So, people without any real football insights or network just picked the popular name from the hat and basically said: “Play Dutch school football and get us to the tournaments”. That was all.
And these same people then went out and assessed the work of the coach. Bert van Marwijk, Guus Hiddink, they all had to suffer those morons. Danny Blind even had to deal with Hans van Breukelen…
The new general manager, Eric Gudde, has worked extensively in football. He knows club football inside out. He has a network. And he has the experience.
The Technical Director will need to be the man for the long term. This is why I think Van Gaal and Adriaanse will not be the right choice. Yes, if they would have been in their 50s. But Co is 70 years old. Van Gaal is also getting on in life, but for him I have more reasons why I think he’s not the right man. Too dictatorial. No real experience in this role. Tends to look too closely over the shoulders of the coach. Etc etc…
Time for new blood. Time for people with a long-term vision, with knowledge of coaching and player development. Good communication skills. Good management skills.
There are some excellent options around. Fred Rutten could be the man. He’s heavy on the football content and less charismatic and communicative maybe than other candidates, but he would be perfect for the role. He is highly respected, breathes football, has experience in different roles, hardly has any enemies. A real pro.
Martin van Geel and Marcel Brands are two good candidates as well. Both have a history as player, they have managed the technical affairs of big clubs (AZ, Feyenoord, Ajax, PSV) and have authority.
Jordi Cruyff could be a candidate too. Ex-player, son-of, coaching and management experience. Great network.
I hope it will be one of those. Van Geel and Gudde worked well as a team for Feyenoord for 10+ years. An outsider could be Robert Eenhoorn. He does not have a player background (but he did play for the Dutch baseball team for years) and he’s the man behind the tremendous success of the AZ Alkmaar academy. A good communicator, highly respected and a strong personality.
I hope that, whoever it will be, the new man will include people like Rene Meulensteen and / or Gert jan Verbeek in his team. Meulensteen should take the role as Innovation and Performance Manager (now taken by ex Volleyball coach/icon Peter Blange) and Verbeek could be awesome in coaching training development. Verbeek is always on the bleeding edge of coaching development. But sadly, he went to work for his boyhood dream club FC Twente.
Once that team is settled and the new direction of our football becomes clear, the new coach will need to be appointed (before March 2018), based on a clear profile description. Not just based on yelling a popular name.
The generation of the 1970s is done. Advocaat, Van Hanegem, Ten Cate, Jol, Adriaanse, Van Gaal… Forget about them. The gap with the current generation is too big. Some are too anal (Van Gaal, Adriaanse), some are too old-fashioned… “Go out there and enjoy yourself”. “No bullshit, just play football!” These are Happelesque and Michelsian statements that won’t cut it today.
The generation of the 1980s did not deliver too many great coaches. Rijkaard and Van Basten are out of the game. Gullit had a hit and mostly miss coaching career. Wouters decided early in his career that he is more an assistant than a head coach. Muhren prefers to be youth coach. Kieft is analyst on tv. Van Tiggelen is assistant coach. Only John van ‘t Schip has progressed his career relatively well. Success at Ajax 2. Less so at Twente. Relatively good with San Marco at Oranje. Successful with Melbourne Heart/City. Less successfull in Mexico. And now successful with PEC Zwolle.Peter Bosz might well the ideal candidate but I can’t see him depart Dortmund and this stage.
John van ‘t Schip
And there’s Ronald and Erwin Koeman, of course. They are the obvious choice for many. I can see that. Experience, the right age group, authority, discipline, huge careers as players, and Ronald worked only recently with some key Oranje players.
However, it would be terribly opportunistic to go and pick the ex Everton coach, just like that. I am all for a proper profile description matched to a job description. And a thorough assessment of the fit.
Maybe there are elements in Koeman’s approach or vision that won’t work with Oranje? Maybe there are better candidates? Maybe the new Technical Director has reasons not to want Koeman? Let’s do it properly.
There definitely is a new emerging generation of coaches. One could call them “laptop coaches”. Who – like Verbeek and Guardiola – use modern tools and techniques and have a fresh tactical outlook on coaching.
Koeman’s transfer summer and resulting season start were not too great and he was responsible… Being a club coach is totally different than being an NT manager so I would definitely tread carefully with appointing Koeman.
The new generation has names like Cocu, Frank de Boer, Gio van Bronckhorst, Erik ten Hag, Alex Pastoor, Fons Groenendijk, Jaap Stam. All these coaches have demonstrated to work well with the current generation of players. Erik ten Hag in particular – protege of Pep Guardiola – has demonstrated to work really well with “difficult characters”. Quincy Promes, Labayad, Haps, many disgruntled players were taken in by Ten Hag and turned around. He confronts them, stimulates them, “reaches” them and like Peter Bosz and Pep has a very thorough tactical approach and vision.
Erik ten Hag
I have never been open to a foreign coach. For obvious reasons… football culture, know-how of Dutch players, language… But these days, I think why not? We have had many foreign NT managers in the past, and nowadays, coaches from Argentina, Germany, Spain and Portugal have taken over our role as go-to innovators. Wagner, Klopp, Conte, Silva, Pochetino, Preud’homme, you can’t say these guys are struggling…
But here’s the problem. For the foreign big names and for the likes of Koeman and Bosz… The KNVB will not pay the fee that coaches get paid in other nations or at clubs. Koeman was on 6 million. Bosz is on 4,5 million. The KNVB will pay 800,000 max per annum for their NT manager. Maybe 1 million tops.
Based on the fact that we need to build for at least 4 years, using the utility talent of Wijnaldum, Blind and Strootman, and allow the young talents to shine, Koeman might well be not the right man for the job. Koeman, like Advocaat, is a result driven short-term thinking coach. I think he is good at club level (not great) but potentially not the man for the national team.
Like Italy did years ago and Germany with Low, maybe we should forget about the big name club coach and appoint a guy who can build. Who can instill a new Dutch football vision into the KNVB and the club academies and inspire a new style NT towards trophies.