The following scene is set on Tuesday October 10th, just after The Netherlands have officially missed out on participation of the World Cup in Russia next year. Arjen Robben has just announced his retirement from international football, and things look darker than ever. Dutch football seems stuck. In the studio used by the Dutch national broadcaster, Rafael van der Vaart – hired as a pundit because he’s got nothing going on in Denmark right now – makes a statement.
“Of course we don’t need a foreign coach. We’ve done it this way forever, right? A foreign coach is way too far for me.”
We just missed out on a f*cking World Cup, the second major international tournament in a row we have missed, yet here is Van der Vaart claiming all is good in the world. Because the same things that went wrong this campaign, apparently worked back in 2010. So why change? Simple, because other nations are adapting. Our rivals are not standing still, so why are we?
A foreign coach, with foreign influences would be a blessing for Dutch football. It would have been a blessing the second Van Gaal left for Manchester United after the 2014 World Cup. Only Ronald Koeman would have been a suitable Dutch candidate, but the KNVB didn’t want him in charge, but were afraid to pick a coach with modern principles instead. Instead of taking risks and broadening our horizons, we went with ancient mammoths Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat, briefly separated by football-moron Danny Blind.
It’s the arrogance of Dutch football that is costing us so much currently. We are still convinced the whole world is watching in awe at everything we do, because the men in charge are too afraid of losing any friends. Instead, the world of football is laughing at the Dutch, or even worse: they’re pitying us. And look at that, I just could have written the exact same thing about Ajax.
Ajax and the Dutch squad are facing the exact same problems right now, but both are doomed to never resolve them. Because they are run by the same people, who appoint the same friends over and over again without listening to what other people think and say. Someone in Zeist and Amsterdam needs to get the revelation that they are not as revolutionary as they used to be anymore. Other people know better.
Please, hear them out.