In the first of a series of interviews with Dutch players and coaches, James Rowe speaks to FC Den Bosch coach Wiljan Vloet about his experience in football management and ambitions for the future.

  • By James Rowe

vloet den boschkkdI was invited to the ”De Vliert” stadium home of FC Den Bosch to speak with their experienced head coach Wiljan Vloet, who returned for his second spell in charge of the club in February. Vloet originally coached Den Bosch in the 2001/02 season before having spells with Roda JC, Sparta Rotterdam, ADO Den Haag, NEC, and Greek side Niki Volos.

We spoke at a table looking out to a panoramic view of the pitch. Below is a transcript of our interview.

JR – ”You have returned to Den Bosch after a 14-year absence. Did you have any special reasons for returning?.”

WV – ”You make choices as rationally as possible but my story with Den Bosch begins with my father. My father was a teacher in Den Bosch and he went to watch football and in 1968 I first came to this club . In spite of never being a real fan this club was my first love and I also took my first steps in professional football here becoming head of youth development and then manager which remain special moments for me in my career.”

JR -”In 2009 you achieved promotion with ADO Den Haag to the Eredivisie. Would you say that is the high point of your career so far?.”

WV- ”I personally do not view it as a specific high point. It is a tangible high point  but I am much more proud of the youth players that I have trained that have gone on to feature in the first teams of many clubs in professional football . I view that as a constant highlight. My highlight is the individual development of players who have gone on to represent the Dutch national football team such as Janmaat, Depay, Willems, Cillessen I have managed to help them and contribute to their success.”

JR- ”You have been a youth manager, Manager, Technical Director and CEO. Would you say that your experience in all four posts have allowed you to understand the demands in football better?.”

WV- ”I would say that I am unique in the Netherlands in terms of coming a long way in amateur football and then professional football first with the youth teams and then as a manager, technical director and helping the KNVB as a teacher and also my period abroad there is nobody in the Netherlands who can look back at such a CV. I believe that makes me an all rounder. What I would like to do is at a big club take charge of the youth development and constantly provide talented players for the first team.”

JR- ”You have also worked abroad managing Greek club Niki Volos. What have you learnt from your period abroad?.”

WV ”First and foremost I really enjoyed it and it was a new experience for me. I learnt how important communication is Greek is a difficult language. I could speak a few words but to speak and explain to a group in Greek is very difficult. I also learnt that we could train harder here in the Netherlands you see abroad that many youth players are in better physical shape and have a real winners mentality too.”

JR – ”Have you received offers from clubs abroad in the past which you have thought about but for some reason decided not to go abroad at that moment?.”

WV- ”Yes my first offer was Lokeren in Belgium in 2005. I have also been approached by a big English club in the past also inquiries were made by countries Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. But the most important thing is the goal and the plan I do not wish to go somewhere for just a short period. I want to work towards a goal that has been set. I am not someone that is just looking to tomorrow. It’s about looking further than that to the future.”

JR- ” Following on from your admission about an English club showing interest. Are there any other English clubs that have shown an interest in appointing you as their manager?.”

WV- ”There was an English club that showed interest although I do not feel that it is appropriate to reveal the name but I will say it did not happen due to the doubts that I also had personally. All interest shown have so far have been during the orienteering phase. It would be a dream for me to work in England and put a marker down there. There are so many possibilities in English football and if you have a good vision you can achieve a lot, for example, the performance managers that they have are fantastic the big Dutch clubs do not have any. It would be amazing for me to work in England one day.”

JR – ”During your period with Sparta Rotterdam you managed to achieve 13th & 14th place finishes. Do you feel you received enough credit for those achievements given that avoiding relegation from the Eredivisie is proving more and more difficult for certain clubs?.”

WV- ”We worked really hard at Sparta Rotterdam to maintain our top-flight status. But I do not do it for the plaudits and I am not jealous of other managers that have a perceived better reputation than myself. I know in some cases I could do it better. If you have worked at every level of Dutch football like I have and worked with players that are now internationals. In 1983 I finished my career as a footballer and I became a manager. I believe that I have a good package in order to work in England for example with the youth or bringing a club back to the highest level.”

JR – ”You have worked with many Dutch players that have gone on to become internationals are there cases that you are specifically proud of or were there scenarios where players guided by you in order to make it to the first team?.”

WV – ”In my case it is not just players under my tutelage but also managers Philip Cocu started with me, Patrick Kluivert also at PSV who I took to NEC Nijmegen with me. Patrick now has a great job as director of football for Paris st Germain and I am delighted for him and he deserves it. Jasper Cillessen nobody knew him and I gave him his debut at NEC Nijmgen and kept him in the side . Daryl Janmaat was 17 years old in the youth team at ADO Den Haag at the time when we had pressure to become champions and I gave him his debut he went on to become an international. I taught Memphis Depay at PSV Eindhoven that he must learnt to contribute in games. In the case of Marvin Emnes who plays for Swansea I gave him his debut as 16 year old at Sparta Rotterdam as a reward because he finished 3rd with the Dutch national team at the Fifa World youth Cup in 2005. It’s great to have guided such players but once again the players have done the most and put the effort in to get where they are I just helped a little bit and I am proud of them.”

JR- ” Finally a last point about the Dutch national team. A current ranking of 26th and a 10 point plan provided by the KNVB. What is your opinion about the current situation and given your experience in Dutch football what advice would you give to the KNVB in order for the Dutch national team to make progression and become a force again in the future?”.

WV- ”The KNVB must first put the right people in the right places. Lately the KNVB have just produced paperwork and manuals in terms of development. Now the rule of extra players on the bench 1st division clubs cannot afford to implement that in their stadiums. The most important thing in youth development is the trainers on the pitch who are able to help the players improve and also that they are trainers have an understanding of modern technology and training techniques . In terms of technology England is much more further on than us so is Germany too. We are standing still and that is absurd we must change. There is criticism of the Dutch under 19’s by claiming that the have no winners and that we are physically not good enough and that comes from somewhere and where it comes from is the current state of the youth. The KNVB must be more resolute in terms of youth in order to change our way of thinking. Football is a profession and if you want to train and coach professionals then you must have professionals who know about the profession. A modern manager must know a lot about new developments. Look at Carlo Ancelotti he takes his own staff to every club he goes who all approach the mental and physical aspects and they know how to get the maximum out the their players. That is what top clubs do and that is what we are failing at here in the Netherlands at the moment. We talk a lot of useless information and rules  We must be more resolute in order to make progress in the future.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)