In the following article, we are going to review the coaching career of the best Dutch managers of all time. We are going to talk about the 10 best Dutch managers of all time who made a great legacy throughout their careers.
Netherlands is one of the most influential countries in the history of football. That is why there are so many
famous coaches from the Netherlands
that write the history of the beautiful game from the very beginning. They have introduced and developed the Total Football which is one of the most exciting and eye-catching ways to play the game. Also, in terms of winning silverwares, the best Dutch managers of all time have won quite a few of the most prestigious trophies in the European football.
We decided to make a list of the 10 best Dutch managers of all time and focus on the highlights of their coaching career. As you may know, managing football clubs is a tricky line of work. Sometimes coaches win every possible trophy with one club, but then they struggle to win matches on their next club. That is why ranking the Netherlands' 10 greatest managers is not as easy as it seems. But without any further ado, let’s get down to business and talk about the best Dutch managers of all time.
As mentioned above, we are going to take a look at how everyone of these managers started their coaching careers and how they earned a place amongst the best Dutch managers of all time. But before getting into the details, let’s have a quick look at our shortlist here:
Bert van Marwijk
Louis van Gaal
Wiel Coerver is the least decorated manager in our best Dutch managers of all time list. But football is not all about winning trophies. Wiel Coerver had a very short career as a football player. In 1959, only five years after his professional debut as a player, Coerver decided to hang up his boots and right after that he started his coaching career in the Dutch club S.V.N. Weil Coerver also coached Rapid JC, Sparta, and N.E.C. until he joined the well-knownFeyenoord
in 1973 which was one of the elite clubs in the Dutch football.
Although Weil Coerver won both Eredivise and UEFA cup on his debut season in 1974, he will be remembered for what he did in terms of creating a new coaching technique. Coerver suggested that football skills can be learned in a comprehensive academic way. This technique was named the Coerver Method and revolutionized football academies throughout the Netherlands. Boudewijn Zenden was the firs student that learnt football with the Coerver Method and since then many great players around the world had benefited from this technique. Due to his brilliant ideas in football coaching, Weil Coerver was nicknamed Albert Einstein of Football and that explains why he is one of the
best Dutch managers of all time
As one of the best Dutch defensive midfielders in football history, Frank Rijkaard already had a great reputation even before starting his coaching career. That reputation helped him to start his coaching career at the Netherlands national team which was a huge responsibility. He was appointed as the head coach of the national team after the 1998 world cup to prepare the team for the EUROs in 2000. Rijkaard managed to led his men to the semi-finals but they lost the match against Italy in the penalty shoot-outs in front of their own fans. After that Rijkaard joined Sparta Rotterdam but things didn’t turn out well at there and he faced a failure.
Unexpectedly Barcelona approached Rijkaard in 2003 and trusted him as the main man for their new project. On his second season at Barcelona, Rijkaard won his first ever trophy as a manager which was a La Liga title. The next season was the peak of Rijkaard’s career as a coach as he wins both La Liga and UEFA Champions League in the 2005-06 season. Rijkaard had enjoyed another couple of seasons in Barcelona andLionel Messi
made his debut in professional football under him until in 2008 he was replaced by Pep Guardiola. Although his career faced a decline after that, but his achievements with Barca surely earned him a place in the best Dutch managers of all time list.
There are many top Dutch footballers and managers that spend most of their career in theGerman Bundesliga
and Hubertus Jozef Margaretha Stevens is one of them. Huub Stevens was a defender during his playing days who played for Fortuna Sittard and PSV. He also represented the Netherlands national team on 18 matches. His coaching career started at PSV’s youth academy in 1986 and then in 1993 Stevens joined Roda JC Kerkrade as the head coach. Huub Stevens guided Roda JC to a runner-up medal in the Eredivise in 1995 which was a huge achievement for a club like Roda. On 1996 Stevens joined Schalke 04 in Bundesliga where he experienced a great success.
In his debut season with the German club, Stevens won the UEFA cup which was his first major trophy. He managed to keep the club on the top of the table in the next years and even was so close to winning the Bundesliga title in the 2000-01 season but on the last seconds of the last fixture of the season, Bayern München scored a goal which meant Schalke would finish the league on the 2nd place. Stevens won two consecutive DFB-Pokal titles with Schalke in 2001 and 2002 and had a relatively decent career in other clubs such as Hertha BSC, FC Koln, Hamburger, PSV, and Red Bull Salzburg. But Huub Stevens will always be remembered for his great spell in Schalke in the Early 2000s.
ranking the Netherlands' 10 greatest managers
, you simply can’t ignore Bert van Marwijk. Almost all of the famous coaches from the Netherlands are known for their attacking style of football which is called the Total Football. But van Marwijk seemed like he is from a different breed. He preferred a more pragmatic way of playing football and he was really good at it. Bert van Marwijk started his coaching career at Fortuna Sittard in 1998 and joined Feyenoord in 2000 where he won his first title as a manager which was a UEFA Cup in the 2001-02 season. After a two-season spell at Dortmund, van Marwijk returned to Feyenoord and won a KNVB Cup in 2008.
Just after one season at his second spell at Feyenoord, van Marwijk was appointed as the head coach of the Netherland national team in 2008 and started to prepare the Oranje for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Although Netherlands was not on its best days back then, Bert van Marwijk managed to led his team to the final beating Brazil and Uruguay in the knock-out stages. It was Netherland’s first World Cup final since 1978 and they had an eye on the trophy but Spain won the match byIniesta’s
goal in the extra times. Bert van Marwick’s decent spell at Feyenoord and his exciting run in the World Cup is why we think he is one of the best Dutch managers of all time.
Leo Beenhakker is a legendary figure in not only Dutch football, but also in Spanish football due to his successful career at Real Madrid. Leo started coaching football teams in 1965 when he was just 23 years old. Beenhakker coached at six different clubs in Dutch football before he got appointed as the Ajax first team head coach in 1979. On his first couple of seasons at Ajax, Beenhakker won two league titles and in 1981 he left the club to have a taste of Spanish football with Real Zaragoza. After a few seasons in Spain and returning to Netherlands to lead the national team, Beenhakker joined Real Madrid in 1986 and started a great spell with the royal club.
Beenhakker spent three seasons in Real Madrid and he won the La Liga title in each of those seasons; in addition to a Copa del Rey and two Supercopa de Espana titles. His great run of success earned him the Don Leo nickname in Spain. After that he continued his journey in different countries around the world until in 1997, he joined Feyenoord and won a Eredivise title in 1999. Leo Beenhakker latest achievements as a coach came withPoland
and Trinidad and Tobago national teams. Where he led those teams to a UERO and World Cup final stages respectively for the first time in their history.
During his playing days, Guus Hiddink was a mediocre midfielder who played on Dutch top tier of football. Five years after hanging up his boots, in 1987 Guus started his coaching career at PSV and immediately took the league by storm. He won three back-to-back Eredivise and KNVB Cup titles. But his masterpiece at PSV Eindhoven was winning the European Cup in 1988 for the first time in club’s history. Later he came back to PSV in 2002 and added another three league titles and one KNVB Cup title to the club’s cabinet to write his name in the history of Dutch football as one of
the 10 best Dutch managers of all time
But that’s not all of it, in 1995 Guus Hiddink got the Netherland national team job and had an amazing run in the 1998 World Cup where his team reached to the semi-finals but they lost the match on penalties against Brazil which went on to win the tournament. He also led South Korea to a World Cup semi-final in 2002 which was quite controversial because of the poor refereeing in South Korea matches. Hiddink also had another successful spell at international tournaments with Russia in EURO 2008 where he eliminated Netherland in quarter-final and lost against the champions of that year, Spain, in semi-final. NonethelessGuus Hiddink
had an incredible career as a coach and he surely is one of the greatest Dutch managers of all time.
Another great coach who didn’t have a remarkable football playing career; Dick Advocaat started coaching in HFC Haarlem in 1987. The Ereste Divisie title (Netherlands second tier football league) in 1990 with SVV was his first trophy as a manager. In 1990 Advocaat found the chance to become the assistant of the legendary Rhinos Michels in Netherlands national team where he learned a lot from him. After two years Advocaat replaced his mentor and led Netherlands to the 1994 World Cup. His side was playing a riveting style of attacking football having Ronald Koeman, Marc Overmars, and Dennis Bergkamp in the squad. After eliminating Ireland, they got knocked out in a thrilling game against Brazil at the quarter-final.
After that Dick Advocaat came back to club level football and won four domestic titles with PSV from in his four-year spell. Then he moved abroad to coachRangers
in Scotland and won five domestic titles in just three seasons. Advocaat returned to Netherland to lead the national team in EURO 2004 where he lost the semi-finals to the hosts, Portugal in another exciting match. After a fruitful spell at Zenit and winning three domestic silverwares, Dick Advocaat started travelling around the world and coaching various clubs and national teams. Although he didn’t win any major trophy since 2008, his eye-catching attacking tactics has amused many football fans around the world.
Johan Cruyff was one of the best players in the history of football and arguably, the best European player of all time. The Dutch attacking midfielder won three Ballon d'Or during his playing career. After ending his wonderful career at 1984, Cruyff started his coaching career one year later at Ajax, the same club that he grew on it as a teenager. On his three seasons at Ajax, Cruyff won two KNVB Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup but his legacy at the club was way beyond these silverwares.Johan Cruyff
established a coaching method that changed club’s philosophy in terms of developing youth academies.
Those methods actually where the cornerstones of Ajax golden years in the 1990s when they dominated the European football. In 1988 Cruyff joined Barca to do the same thing. He started a new era at the club and revolutionized the youth academies. At the same time, he was winning trophies one after another. During eight seasons under Cruyff, Barcelona won 11 titles including four La Liga titles, and one Champions League title in 1992. Johan Cruyff retired from the game in 2013 after coaching Catalonia national team for four years. But up to this day, Cruyff philosophy in football is helping both players and coaches and without any doubt, he is one of the
best Dutch managers of all time
Yet another former midfielder in our list. Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal aka Louis van Gaal started coaching from Ajax in 1991. Just three years after Cruyff left the club. He had a very promising start and won the UEFA Cup in his debut season. Louis van Gaal added another two titles in the coming years until in the 1994-95 he kicked off an unbelievable season. In that season Ajax didn’t lose any matches in both Eredivise and the Champions League; therefore, they won both titles at the end of the season. van Gaal led his men to another UCL final in the next season but they lost the match on penalties against Juventus.
After six delightful seasons at Ajax, van Gaal joined Barcelona in 1997 to start another successful journey. At Barca van Gaal implemented an attacking style of football and won four major trophies during three years. But then he got into a sort of conflict with the media and even some of his own players such as Rivaldo. After a few fruitless years, van Gaal found himself at home in Bayern Munich in 2009. On his debut season, van Gaal was on the verge of winning a treble but they lost the Champions League final game to Jose Mourinho’s Inter.
After that he got appointed as the Netherland’s coach for the second time and put on a great show at the 2014 World Cup where they achieved the third place. Then Manchester United selected van Gaal as the main man in their reconstruction project in 2014 but it didn’t go as planned as van Gaal left the club only two years later with winning aFA Cup
trophy in 2016. Currently van Gaal is enjoying his third spell at Netherlands national team and he is preparing the team for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The best Dutch manager ever in our list is the man who created the Total Football. Marinus Jacobus Hendricus Michels aka Rinus Michels was a prolific striker and spent all of his career playing forAjax
. In 1960 he started coaching at lower division teams until he returned to Ajax in 1965. His style of football was named Total Football which in it every outfield player could take over the role of his teammates on the pitch. Watching Ajax playing under Michels was just joyful for the fans since they were both efficient and delightful in attack and defense. Using offside traps was another great idea from Rinus Michels which helped Ajax achieve eight trophies in six years including a European Cup in 1971.
Like many other of the
best Dutch managers of all time,
Rinus Michel too spent a few years at Barcelona. After winning three trophies at the club, Michels had a short spell at Netherland in 1974. Ten years later, Michels returned to the Netherlands dugout to accomplish the greatest glory of the country up to this day: In the EURO 1988 in West Germany, Michels led his men to conquer the European football for the first time ever in their history by beating the rivals, West Germany in the semi-final and Soviet Union in the final match. So, it’s fair to say that Rinus Michels not only changed the game with his unique ideas but also, he was a winner coach who his players could inspire from him.
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