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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 can't handle Utrecht's mess

Monday 27 October 2008

The poor results of FC Utrecht led to some very unexpected steps by management this weekend.

Instead of holding the manager - Willem van Hanegem - responsible for the lack of success and good football, management sacked all four assistants of the head coach.

Van Hanegem's assistants John van Loen and David Nascimento, keepers trainer Maarten Arts and fitness coach Rob Druppers were all sacked.

The measure led to a nasty war of words in the Dutch newspapers and saw Van Hanegem fall ill "because of all the stress" and not attend Sunday's home game against NAC Breda as a result.

"We noticed in recent weeks that the chemistry among the members of the technical staff and with the players was decreasing. This could be related to the fact that the composition of the technical staff - apart from the manager - has been the same for many years. We thought it wise to do something now," said General Manager Jan-Willem van Dop, who himself got sacked recently and got his job back after a court order.

Especially John van Loen reacted with much disbelieve to the measure.

He said he never received any signals: "Last Tuesday I was told I would not do any more press conferences. I was happy with that as I am not the manager and I can not express myself as much as the manager can. Director of Football (DF) Piet Buter told me then that he thought things were going fine. Two days later I get fired."

Van Dop later said that here had been several meetings about the functioning of the assistants, as was confirmed by DF Buter.

"Even in the last year when Foeke Booy was coach here personal relationships deteriorated. We would often talk about it. Things then went well for a while but never stayed well."

Former Utrecht player Ton du Chatinier has been named as new assistant to Van Hanegem.

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