Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

The Greatest Dutch Coaches of All Time

The land of Total Football. Owner of one of the richest tactical schools in the history of football. This article is about the best Dutch coaches of all time.

The great Italian coach, Arrigo Sacchi, said: “There has been only one tactical revolution. And it happened when football evolved from an individual game into a collective game: Ajax in the 70s.” Total Football revolutionized football and changed the sport forever. After Rinus Michels invented the style, other great coaches like Johan Cruyff and Louis van Gaal continued to promote and develop it.

Join us in this article as we take a comprehensive look at the Dutch football and its great tactical minds.

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time
credit: getty images

We’ve compiled a top-ten list of the best Dutch coaches of all time. Among the current best coaches of the Netherlands can be referred to as Erik Ten Haag, Ronald Koeman, and Frank De Boer. But the history of Dutch football has been much more productive and richer. Let’s not waste any more time and review the best Dutch coaches of all time. Let’s take a look at the professional career and achievements of these great coaches.

Honorable Mention

  • Arie Haan
  • Co Adriaanse
  • Martin Jol
  • Ronald Koeman
  • Erik Ten Hag

Huub Stevens

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time
credit: getty images

During his coaching career, Huub Stevens was the manager of ten different clubs, most of which were German clubs. He began his professional career with the small club Roda JC and, admirably, managed to become runner-up of the Dutch league. Stevens was Schalke’s coach for six years (from 1996 to 2002) and had a very successful run with the German club. During this time, he was able to bring the Miners to the most important honor in their history, the championship in the UEFA Cup. Stevens’ other achievements in Schalke were two DFB-Pokal championships and one runner-up in Bundesliga. Another successful period of Huub Stevens was at Red Bull Salzburg. He could win the Austrian league with this club. Huub Stevens is one of the best Dutch coaches of all time.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 UEFA Cup title
  • 1 UEFA Intertoto Cup title
  • 1 Austrian Bundesliga title
  • 2 DFB-Pokal winners
  • 1 DFB-Ligapokal winner
  • 1 Johan Cruyff Shield winner

Bert van Marwijk

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time van Marwijk
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He was the one who took the Netherlands to the World Cup final after three decades. He’s one of the Dutch best coaches of all time. Bert van Marwijk’s most important club achievement was winning the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord. Yet everyone knows him for his success in the 2010 World Cup. In this tournament, the Netherlands defeated Brazil in the quarter-finals and Uruguay in the semi-finals and reached the final. They played very well in the final but ultimately lost to the Tiki Taka side in extra time. Spain won the game 1-0 and became the champion.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 UEFA Cup title
  • 1 KNVB Cup winner

Wiel Coerver

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time
credit: getty images

Wiel Coerver is the inventor of the Coerver Method, one of the most important coaching techniques of the twentieth century. He is, without a doubt, one of the best coaches in Dutch of all time. Coerver had a concise coaching career, and in that short time, he managed to win the Dutch league and UEFA Cup title with Feyenoord. Feyenoord defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the 1974 UEFA Cup final and won the trophy. But the importance of Wiel Coerver is not because of any trophy and honor, but because of his coaching technique: The Coerver Method.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 UEFA Cup title
  • 1 Eredivisie title

Leo Beenhakker

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time Bennhakker
credit: getty images

Only four managers have been able to win three consecutive La Liga titles: Miguel Munoz, Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola, and Leo Beenhakker. During his long coaching career, Beenhakker was the head coach of many club and national teams. But his most successful time was in three clubs Ajax, Feyenoord, and Real Madrid. He was able to win 10 major trophies for these three clubs. Leo Beenhakker is one of the best Dutch coaches of all time. In Madrid, he was called Don Leo.

Managerial Honors:

  • 3 La Liga titles
  • 3 Eredivisie titles
  • 1 Copa del Rey winner
  • 2 Supercopa de Espana winners
  • 1 Johan Cruyff Shield winner

Frank Rijkaard

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time Rijkaard
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Rijkaard was Barcelona’s coach for five years (from 2003 to 2008) and was able to win five major trophies with the Bluegrana, including the Champions League title in 2006. He’s one of the greatest Dutch players ever and, at the same time, one of the best Dutch coaches of all time. It’s a shame that he quit coaching so soon.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 UEFA Champions League title
  • 2 La Liga titles
  • 2 Supercopa de Espana winners

Dick Advocaat

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time Advocaat
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Advocaat managed to win 13 different trophies during his coaching career. His biggest honor as a coach was the championship with Zenit at the 2008 UEFA Cup. Zenit won the title by defeating Villarreal, Marseille, Bayern Munich, and Rangers. Advocate is one of the most decorated and accomplished Dutch coaches and definitely one of the best Dutch coaches of all time.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 UEFA Cup title
  • 1 Eredivisie title
  • 2 Scottish Premier League titles
  • 1 Russian Premier League title
  • 1 KNVB Cup winner
  • 3 Johan Cruyff Shield winners
  • 2 Scottish Cup winners
  • 1 Scottish League Cup winner
  • 1 UEFA Super Cup winner

Guus Hiddink

Guus Hiddink
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During the history of European football club competitions, only 9 coaches have achieved the European treble. Gust Hiddink is one of them and one of the best Dutch coaches of all time. Hiddink’s most successful era was in PSV Eindhoven. Hiddink managed to win 12 major trophies in this club. Including six league titles and one European Cup title. PSV Eindhoven managed to win a European treble in the 1987-88 season. Reaching the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup, 2002 World Cup, and Euro 2008 with the Netherlands, South Korea, and Russia are other coaching achievements of Guus Hiddink.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 European Cup title
  • 6 Eredivisie titles
  • 4 KNVB Cup winners
  • 1 Johan Cruyff Shield winner
  • 1 FA Cup winner
  • 1 Intercontinental Cup winner

Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal
credit: getty images

When Total Football emerged in the 1970s, the nature of this school was linked to the homeland of Amsterdam. The capital of the Netherlands was the heart of European liberalism. Amsterdam was the center-point of all the hippies across the continent. And these were reflected in Dutch football.

Ajax and Netherlands players seemingly had no pre-settled responsibility on the field and seemed free to play as they pleased so that this refreshing, fluid, and beautiful football could be born.

But in reality, Total Football was very systematic and structured. The variable positions of players on the field were exclusively up and down in vertical lines. And if a defender was involved in an attack, a midfielder would have to fall back and fill up the blank.

In this case, while players were theoretically allowed the freedom to roam the field in practice, they still had to consider their responsibilities toward other players’ objections. At a time when attackers from other countries had absolute freedom of action, the Ajax and Netherlands attackers were bound to tactical roles.

Ever since, Dutch football has consistently been the site of a philosophical dispute: Should football be individualistic and free like an embodiment of Dutch culture, or should it be systematic like the classic Total Football? In the mid-1990s, this dispute was summed up in an encounter between Barcelona’s manager Johan Cruyff and Ajax’s manager Louis van Gaal.

He was determining each player’s position and his movement radius on the field—all the time of the game. No one had the right to disobey the boss’ order. The fundamental idea was ball possession, and the player who had the ball should always be supported. The player who had the ball was the central core of the team, and the other players were tactical soldiers.

The position of each player during a match was determined. And the boss had plans for the whole 90 minutes. And for the next game, roles and positions would change. Everything would be changed. Dutch newspapers called him van Gaal the crazy.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 UEFA Champions League title
  • 1 UEFA Cup title
  • 4 Eredivisie titles
  • 2 La Liga titles
  • 1 Bundesliga title
  • 1 KNVB Cup winner
  • 3 Johan Cruyff Shield winners
  • 1 Copa del Rey winner
  • 1 DFB-Pokal winner
  • 1 DFL-Supercup winner
  • 1 FA Cup winner
  • 2 UEFA Super Cup winners
  • 1 Intercontinental winner

Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff
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Statistically, it has been proven that during ninety minutes of a football match, each player has the ball 3 minutes on average. Now the big question is: What are you going to do during those other 87 minutes? The answer to this question is the measure of your quality as a football player. – Johan Cruyff

He is one of the best Dutch coaches of all time and one of the greatest coaches in football history. He created the golden era of Barcelona and revived Total Football after two decades. Cruyff coached for only 10 years and won 14 major trophies in those years. Cruyff did what he loved and got what he wanted. Celebrated all these victories and claimed that style is far more important than victory.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 European Cup title
  • 2 European Cup Winners’ Cup titles
  • 4 La Liga titles
  • 2 KNVB winners
  • 1 Copa del Rey winner
  • 3 Supercopa de Espana winners
  • 1 European Super Cup winner

Rinus Michels

Best Dutch Coaches of All Time
credit: getty images

Not only one of the greatest Dutch coaches of all time but also one of the most important and influential figures in football history: The great Rinus Michels. The one who has written Total Football in his name. Michels shaped the most important tactical school in football history. If you want to hear about his honors and achievements, we can mention the European Cup title with Ajax and the runner-up in the World Cup with the Netherlands. But Michels’ position is beyond any trophy and honor. He divided the football into two parts, before and after himself. In 2019, France Football selected him as the greatest coach in football history.

Managerial Honors:

  • 1 European Cup title
  • 1 UEFA European Championship title
  • 1 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup title
  • 4 Eredivisie titles
  • 1 La Liga title
  • 3 KNVB Cup winners
  • 1 Copa del Rey winner
  • 1 DFB-Pokal winner

Frequently Asked Questions

Coming soon…

Conclusion

The Netherlands has produced some of the greatest football minds in history. From Rinus Michels to Johan Cruyff, these coaches have left an indelible mark on the sport. Their tactical innovations and managerial achievements have shaped the way the game is played today. Whether it’s the implementation of Total Football or the development of coaching methods, the Dutch coaches have always been at the forefront of the game. As we continue to witness the evolution of football, let’s not forget the contributions of these legendary figures.