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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment
dawned."

From:
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
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Van Hanegem: "Criticism gave me spirit"

Wednesday 05 November 2008

Willem van Hanegem (64) had plans to put down his job as head coach of FC Utrecht last week when he was home with the flue.

However the severe criticism that he received from all sides made him decide otherwise.

Van Hanegem said so in an interview with local TV station RTV Utrecht.

"At first I thought: I quit. But when they came up with all kinds of nasty stories, also from within the club I thought: never in my life. I will not be sent on my way by these people. It gave me new spirit. I was looking forward to working hard with FC Utrecht again, if possible the next day. Sadly the doctor wouldn't allow me then."

FC Utrecht fired all four of Van Hanegem's assistants - Van Loen, Druppers, Nascimento and Arts- two weeks ago.

Only Van Hanegem was allowed to stay with a new contract as a prospect.

It caused a wave of criticism.

Van Hanegem was said to have no credibility, to be a traitor and a coward and crying crocodile tears.

"And some of the people who said that call themselves a friend of mine. Well, I have never had such sentiments towards them. But that's how you find out who your real friends are. It's sad. That's how thinks work in football, you think. But it's rubbish. Still it was worst for my family. I talked about it alot with them."

Van Hanegem also explained why he agreed to fire his four assistants.

"I felt that relations between John van Loen and Rob Druppers would never be the same. They had been at the club for such a long time and between them there was always trouble."

 

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