So, apparently all the other candidates said no. Hiddink was number 1, supposedly and with Cruyff public plea for Rijkaard, one has to expect him to be in the top of the wishlist too. Co Adriaanse was never a real candidate, apparently, and Ruud Gullit was most likely never seen as a serious option.
Louis van Gaal has all the right ticks behind his name, according to some. Experience…? Check. Success as coach? Check. Understands Dutch school football? Check. Dutch nationality? Check!
What the experts at the KNVB overlooked, unfortunately, is Louis’ track record as national coach… No results. Not really effective as figure head. And although the players never speak negatively about him as a club coach, he definitely pissed off the media and the supporters.
His “experience” also shows that he hardly ever leaves a club the normal way. Sure, Ajax 1995 and AZ 2010 were two situations where the expectation levels were low. He was the underdog. But every time he was presented with fanfare and champagne, every time we actually expected him to perform: he imploded. He can’t handle criticism, he can’t handle a board or management looking over his shoulder and he doesn’t know how to look in the mirror.
Louis’ ego has always been the problem.
So while our Oranje team seems to buckle under the pressure of players’ egos, the KNVB decided to put some extra weight on.
Did we forget the two Portugal games, in the 2002 qualifications? Wasn’t it Louis’ ego that helped the Portuguese snatch the key points against us?
And wasn’t it his sensational ego that prompted him to organise a press conference to blame the media about his disastrous results?
And the current KNVB management feels it’s time to give Louis a second chance?
Why not give him the U21s first?
“The Dutch team manager needs to be an ambassador for Dutch football.” Apparently the KNVB has reasons to believe Van Gaal has learned from his many mistakes in the past. Based on what exactly?
When Van Gaal got the job in August 2000, he actually promised the nation the World Cup. In those days, he also was the technical director at the KNVB. He basically fired himself? Or he gave himself a resignation letter…
KNVB manager Henk Kesler said: “We know who we put in power,” back then. His successor Bert van Oostveen says something similar now. “A tremendous amount of experience, very dedicated, very driven…” But, this time not a 6 year deal but merely a two year contract, until the 2014 World Cup.
With Van Gaal, we have the return of the last team manager who failed to qualify for a World Cup. Leo Beenhakker was his predecessor.
Holland played 14 internationals under Van Gaal, of which 10 in the World Cup qualification. Right after the Euro2000, Holland drew against Ireland, 2-2, and lost at home in De Kuip against Portugal, as a result of two incidents. One, the infamous line up change, with right back Reiziger as left full back. “He can do that,” Van Gaal said, who missed all his left backs as a result of injuries. Reiziger made a crucial mistake, offering the Portuguese the 0-1. When some idiot blew a whistle, some time later, Davids stopped playing, allowing Figo to steal the ball and prepare the 0-2.
Holland was able to take revenge in Portugal and was 0-2 up when Van Gaal decided to bring more attackers, with only 10 minutes to go. This lack of balance in the team resulted in Portugal equalising. A play off against Ireland was supposed to get us our ticket, but despite big opportunities for Kluivert and Zenden, Ireland won it: 1-0.
Holland didn’t qualify and Louis resigned. Louis played 14, won 8, lost 2 and drew four times.
Danny Blind will be Louis’ assistant. The former Ajax and Oranje libero worked with Van Gaal at Ajax and shares his football vision. When Blind supported Van Gaal’s return to Ajax, Cruyff and Co decided Blind had to leave Ajax.