The Eredivisie’s Coolest Coach

Last Thursday night, I was sitting at home with very little to do, as usual, and I began to think about the coaches currently working in the Eredivisie. There are a lot of really awesome coaches in there. Frank de Boer, Phillip Cocu, Marco van Basten, Erwin van de Looi and many more. Some of them, I thought, are really cool. The very notion of a coach being considered “cool” is quite a strange one. We’re used to coaches being rather boring men, while the colourful and admirable characters strut their stuff on the field. But this feeling is changing. For instance, in the Premier League, coaches like André Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup and Mauricio Pochettino can generally be considered cool and admirable guys, with their neatly shaped hair, sharp and smart suits, coaching styles and touchline and interview manner. So, I thought about this change in relation to the Dutch top flight and asked myself: who is the coolest coach in the Eredivisie?

It was the sacking of Alex Pastoor last Monday which prompted me to consider this even further. I am sad enough to give a lot of thought into such irrelevant matters and I felt Pastoor was a pretty damn cool figure in the Dutch league. So, since he was, in my opinion, the coolest of the lot, then to whom did the title belong now?

Pastoor's gone, so who is the coolest now?

Pastoor’s gone, so who is the coolest now?

As I pondered this for a while, I asked my BeNeFoot colleague Michiel Jongsma who he thought was the coolest coach in the top league in the Netherlands. As a Groningen supporter, he said it was their new man Erwin van de Looi. I considered his suggestion and agreed that the 41-year-old was a cool chap, but the coolest? I wasn’t sure. As far as I was concerned, Frank de Boer, Peter Bosz, Phillip Cocu and Jan Wouters were all just as cool, if not cooler, than Van de Looi. In fact, there seemed to be an abundance of coaches in the Eredivisie that one could consider to be cool. This, I felt, was an issue which had to be settled! And when there’s a question I need answered, I take to the internet. Google had nothing. Damn Google. So I thought I would pose the question to my wonderful Twitter followers. And, like always, those beautiful people responded and I am now happy to say that the issue has been settled. We now know who holds the title of the Eredivisie’s Coolest Coach.

Obviously, I didn’t expect a lot of answers when I tweeted the question. It’s a bit of a joke really. But this is something, I’m relieved to say, that other people seem to think about. Some even take it pretty damn seriously! So there were many more votes coming my way than I had previously expected. In fact, a total of 60 people considered the question and nominated whom they felt was the coolest coach in the league. Twitter is just great, isn’t it?

The definition of cool was left to the voters’ own interpretations and it seems that the word can be taken in many ways as only four of the 18 coaches didn’t receive a vote. The only managers of the league who were left out were Marco van Basten of Heerenveen, Heracles boss Jan de Jonge, NAC Breda’s Nebojsa Gudelj and of course the managerless NEC, currently lead by interim coaches Wilfried Brookhuis and Ron de Groot.

And they’re off!

It was a very exciting vote! Which is a strange thing to say. Vitesse’s Peter Bosz was the early leader. With the ultra-attacking style of play he implements into his team, plus his pretty cool glasses and the way he conducts himself on the touchline and in interviews, he’s a bit of a hipster’s choice! As Bosz eased his way to the top of the poll, there were votes for Gertjan Verbeek of AZ and RKC manager Erwin Koeman. Verbeek is an easy one to explain – just look at him, Koeman, though, is one I’m not entirely sure about.

However, there came an influx of votes for Utrecht coach Jan Wouters. There are many reasons to vote for Wouters and some of those reasons were given to me as the votes came in. The biggest example of how cool Wouters is was given by Jeremy Klayman, who told a story of the former Rangers assistant manager the night after the club won the Scottish Premier League title on the final day of the season.

The remarkable story of the respectable Jan Wouters in one of the worst nightclubs in Glasgow (that says a lot – there are many bad nightclubs in Glasgow) had quite an effect. There were a few extra votes for the Utrecht boss following that story, and it was Jeremy’s tale which sparked my vote for him too. To go to such a horrible venue like The Garage in the first place is one thing, but to end up pulling TWO Glaswegian girls? I mean, that’s something extra special. The drunken Glaswegian female is a species you should do your utmost to avoid, but here he was, with two of them. What a guy! So that pretty much cemented him as one of the front runners in the opening stages of this vote.

Jan Wouters, everybody

Before long, however, Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu emerged as the most popular candidates and took the lead after only a short time. There was the occasional extra vote for Ronald Koeman (Feyenoord), Verbeek, Bosz and Van de Looi. While Ruud Brood (Roda JC), Ron Jans (Zwolle), Maurice Steijn (ADO Den Haag) and Dwight Lodeweges (Cambuur) were all given a shout too. However, De Boer, who is only the third Ajax coach to win three consecutive Eredivisie titles, and the new and fresh Netherlands legend Cocu, were becoming increasingly popular.

There was one surprising challenger at one stage of the vote, though. Alfred Schreuder, a coach of Twente, received a lot of votes and began to really test the likes of De Boer, Cocu and Wouters who were leading at that time. So insistent was one voter that Schreuder was the coolest coach in the league that he tweeted me several times to make sure I knew that this was the case.

He finally convinced me, so I put an extra half of a vote in the Schreuder column, just because I thought someone who had such support in such a meaningless poll must actually be pretty cool. The pedants reading this (if anyone got this far) will point out that Alfred Schreuder isn’t really the official coach of Twente, but Michel Jansen is named as the big boss dog of the Enschede club. This may be the case on paper, but we all know that Schreuder is the brains behind this operation but just doesn’t have the official papers necessary to be a head coach, so Jansen is just a decoy, if you will. Personally, I think that only adds to the coolness of Schreuder and so, it means he is deserving of some votes and is quite high up in the poll.

He’s not the winner though, that title falls to someone else.

At this point, I must say that I was disappointed not to receive one single vote for Van Basten. Such an incredible player, I thought perhaps he would receive at least a pity vote, but there was no such luck for the ex-Milan player.

Also, I asked my followers if Zwolle’s Ron Jans could be considered “cool” in any way. I really like Jans and think he’s an awesome coach, but I have a weird feeling that he seems like a really fun dad. Like ridiculously fun. So I had to consider whether or not you can be that type of dad, while being considered genuinely cool. It seems not. He only got one vote and that was from a Zwolle fan. So that bloody strange question that I have given a lot of thought to (I think about it every week) has finally been answered.

Back to the vote….

De Boer and Cocu shot into the lead fairly early, with the Ajax coach getting a nose out in front after a while. However, Cocu soon pulled level and edged just a tiny bit ahead when there was a sudden influx of votes for him about the half way mark. It seemed we were going to have a rather exciting climax to the vote. However, the final hours of the voting belonged to De Boer. He sprinted ahead in the final stages of the vote, leaving quite a large gap between himself and his Eindhoven counterpart.

And then, by 3pm on Friday, the polls were closed. It was all over. The votes had been counted several times and a winner had been declared.

Frank de Boer is the Eredivisie’s Coolest Coach.

He’s cool and he knows it

I would like to congratulate De Boer on his achievement. The former Barcelona, Ajax and Netherlands defender who has won eight Eredivisie titles (five as a player, three as a coach), a La Liga, the Champions League, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup, can now boast the highly coveted title of being the “Coolest Coach” in the whole of the Dutch league. That’s impressive, Frank. Well done, sir.

Here is the full list of nominees in descending order of votes received:

Coach Club Number of votes
Frank de Boer Ajax 20
Phillip Cocu PSV 12
Jan Wouters Utrecht 5
Alfred Schreuder Twente 4.5
Gertjan Verbeek AZ 4
Peter Bosz Vitesse 3
Erwin Koeman RKC 2
Erwin van de Looi Groningen 2
Ronald Koeman Feyenoord 2
Ruud Brood Roda JC 1
Ron Jans Zwolle 1
Dwight Lodeweges Cambuur 1
Foeke Booy Go Ahead Eagles 1
Maurice Steijn ADO Den Haag 1

Thank you to everyone who voted in this rather absurd poll. Perhaps I will run another in the near future to answer one of the many other irrelevant and ludicrous questions I ponder on a regular basis.

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