James Rowe takes a look back at Maurice Steijn’s managerial career as he prepares for VVV Venlo’s return to the Eredivisie.

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The 2017/2018 Eredivisie season will see the return of VVV Venlo to the top flight after a four year absence. It will also see the return of manager Maurice Steijn, who has brought the club back up to the top flight as champions after the club suffered near misses in the two previous seasons as they were eliminated in the promotion play-offs.

Long before joining VVV Venlo in June 2014, Maurice Steijn was manager of ADO Den Haag. He took over the reigns at the Kyocera Stadion from John van den Brom. He suffered a sluggish first season where the club only avoided the relegation play-offs by one point. The following season was a vast, solid improvement as Steijn led the club to an impressive ninth place finish. However, the following season he failed to build on the success and he was sacked in February 2014 with the club languishing in 18th in the Eredivisie, replaced by Henk Fraser.

Steijn was clearly disappointed to be relieved of his duties as he hoped that he could have built on the impressive 9th place finish the previous season. There was much speculation as to where he would go to next in his managerial career.

ADO Den Haag’s loss was VVV Venlo’s gain as Steijn dropped down a division to take over as manager in June 2014 from outgoing manager Rene Trost with an objective to lead VVV Venlo back to the Eredivisie. In his first season in Venlo he lead the club to a 7th place finish where they were eliminated in the promotion play-offs by eventual losing finalists NAC Breda. A year later, VVV Venlo finished 2nd with 75 points only four behind eventual champions Sparta Rotterdam. This time they were beaten by eventual winners Go Ahead Eagles over two legs in the promotion play-offs.

Last season there would be no need for 3rd time luck play-off wise as VVV won the Jupiler League, accumulating 80 points as they eased to the title. Steijn’s attacking style and strong defence was behind their success with his side scoring 75 goals last season and ending with a goal difference of +40. There achievement was more impressive considering they dominated the league despite only having the 10th biggest budget in the league.

Once the championship was secured Steijn signed a one-year contract extension through to the summer of 2019. He was heavily linked to a move to English club Ipswich Town but remains committed to VVV Venlo stating, ”I am happy to work here at VVV Venlo and that has always been the case during the three years that I have been here. We have a great staff and a good team behind the scenes too.”

Looking ahead to their return to the Eredivisie they have managed to keep their title winning squad together with the core players midfielders Clint Leemans, Ralf Seuntjens remaining as well as highly rated striker Vito van Crooij, who scored 13 goals and provided 8 assists last season.

Maurice Steijn persistence and patience to achieve success is admirable. Regular listeners of the Football-Oranje podcast will know that i am a big fan of the coach and I have no doubt that VVV Venlo will have no problem staying up in the Eredivisie during the 2017/2018 campaign. He will no doubt enhance his reputation as VVV Venlo will look to become an established Eredivisie side again.

They are my tip to become the surprise team in the Eredivisie this season.

James Rowe (696 Posts)