James Rowe met up with Almere City manager Jack De Gier at the Mercure Hotel in Amsterdam. They spoke about his career and the expectations and ambitions of Almere City.

  • Follow James on Twitter


De Gier was appointed as the head coach of Almere City in January and led the club to the promotion play-offs last season before they were defeated by Willem II. This season the club currently sits fifth in the table after 12 matches.

Below is a transcript of the interview:

JR: ”Almere City won 1-0 at home to Helmond Sport last night (Friday). Did you think it was a deserved victory?”

JDG: ”Yes I believe so. We had a tough week playing in the KNVB Cup against FC Volendam which went to extra time and we knew that Helmond Sport would be a difficult game because they are a team that often win games having only 40 percent possession and a team that often let the opponent have the ball. So we had to be sharp because one mistake could have been fatal. We played with the intention to win and fortunately we scored in the 94th minute through a fantastic free kick from Soufyan Ahannach.”

JR: ”Therefore with such a victory it was your 6th league win in a row. To what do you attribute the success of the team’s current form?”

JDG: ”I put it down to the core values that I have in terms of fun, attitude and team ethic. These are attributes that I learnt to instill in a team whilst working under Mario Been at NEC Nijmegen. To expand on those points what do they mean? Fun, having fun in coming to the club and working with your teammates. Having the right attitude is also important either on the pitch or even being at home preparing for an upcoming match by going to bed at a decent hour. Finally as a team working together to get the right mix.”

JRL ”What are the ambitions for Almere City this season. To achieve promotion to the Eredivisie?”

JDG: ”We are really ambitious and we have an ambitious owner Lesley Bamberger from the Kroonenberg group. We want to improve every year. Last year we finished 8th. We want to finish at least 7th this season. We got 50 points last year we want to get at least 51 points this season etc. We also played the semi final of the promotion play- offs last season we want to play the final this season. You get to know your players better as the season progresses from pre season. It’s also important to let the players play to their strengths.  We apply pressure to ourselves and we strive to achieve progress on all fronts of the club also in a technical and commercial sense and should we achieve promotion earlier than expected then we will be able to deal with it . We are focused on winning the 2nd period title in the Jupiler League. We made a motivational video for the players and we have won 3 games out of 3 so far.”

JR: ”You played for Den Bosch, Willem II & NEC Nijmegen amongst other clubs. At what club did you enjoy your football the most?

JDG: ”I enjoyed my football everywhere I played. I was a player that played to the crowd and I was well respected by the fans of Cambuur Leeuwarden, NEC Nijmegen & GO Ahead Eagles amongst others. I believe I also played my best football at those clubs due to the fact that the clubs suited my style as a player. I have also played in Belgium & Scotland. My time in Belgium was not a success due to a new manager arriving and bringing his own striker but my time in Scotland was a great experience.”

JR: ”That leads me nicely to my next question. How did the move to Dunfermline Athletic come about especially moving from NEC Nijmegen ?”

JDG: ”Through Jimmy Calderwood who was once the manager of NEC Nijmegen he then moved on to Dunfermline Athletic in Scotland where they achieved promotion to the Scottish Premier League. I had good contact with Jimmy and we spoke regularly on the phone and during a particular telephone conversation where I let him know that I wanted to leave NEC Nijmegen after 3 seasons. Jimmy told me that he was looking for a striker and he asked if I would be interesting in coming to Scotland and I went there to negotiate and it worked out well. A short stay there but fully enjoyable.”

JR: ”You worked as assistant manager at NEC Nijmegen under Wiljan Vloet. Would you say that such an experience helped you prepare well for life as a manager?”

JDG ” Yes I would. You see a lot of managers that jump in to a club and then they are sacked after 3 months and then they find it difficult to find another club. Since 2009 I have planned my career is such a way that I wanted to do things step by step starting as assistant manager under Wiljan Vloet. Before that I was training the strikers under Mario Been and then in between managing the under 19’s and under 23’s of NEC Nijmegen. In 2013 after completing my badges and license I decided that I wanted to be a manager first with SV Blauw – Wit in Amsterdam. I wanted to gain experience first in amateur football and wait for my chance and to apply to work at clubs that I thought were suited to me. At Almere City I applied twice in total before getting the job second time around. I must say that Almere City was the perfect step for me in terms of starting as a manager in professional football. It is a club with all the needed facilities and systems to help me develop as a manager. When I arrived at the club there was not much to lose as they were in the lower regions of the league and we have since won a period title and played the semi finals of the promotion play-offs after which the club extended my contract.”

‘JR: ”As a striker you scored 139 goals in 413 games. A very good goals to game ratio. What was the secret to your success?”

JDG: ”I was a no nonsense striker. My ratio was 1 goal every 3 games in terms of league games. I was also once top scorer in the KNVB Cup with 11 goals. I always took my chances in and around the penalty area. I was two footed and that is a massive advantage for a striker. I never thought about things too much and I just played my own game and when I entered the opposition’s penalty the only thing on my mind was to score.”

JR: ”Finally Vincent Janssen, Nordin Amrabat and Sander Duits are all established professional footballers who have shone at Almere City and then have then gone on to bigger and better things during their career. Can you explain what kind of environment Almere City has created in order to give those players the springboard to future success?”

JDG: “The facilities that the club has. We may well be a Jupiler club but we invest a lot in power training. We ensure that are players are conditionally super fit. Our way of playing is clear in a 433 formation. For all of our players we have a position profile that consists of us clearly letting the player know what his tasks are when playing in his position weather that be attacking or defensive. We also make it clear to the player what qualities he needs to have in order to play that position. For example a right sided winger must be quick and be able to give a good cross, The ability to take on an opponent and be able to score. If a player does not have these qualities then they must ask themselves can they play as a right sided winger? We also let our players know on what criteria they are judged on. In terms of nutrition and mental training we are a club that is in full development to embrace these methods in order to achieve the maximum possible. Recently our player Pablo Rosario has transferred to PSV Eindhoven. A good transfer for the club as well as Vicent Janssen who via AZ Alkmaar went to Tottenham Hotspur. We try to always develop players here and then sell them on.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)