During the Summer of 2011 it was no secret that Feyenoord were a complete mess. It was the club’s worst ever season in history, the team had no quality and direction, there was no money for new players and the coach Mario Been had been sacked as the players also had no confidence in him.
Feyenoord then decided to approach and appoint Ronald Koeman. Despite having played for Feyenoord for two years Koeman also had managed rivals PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam. So to Feyenoord fans he was not a Feyenoorder and there was plenty of doubts and sceptism with his arrival.
Today in 2014 Koeman is seen as being an amazing manager. Despite Feyenoord having the fourth highest budget in Dutch football there was never any money to spend on new players. in his 3 years at the club Feyenoord finished third once on goal difference and second twice. This is even more special as there was no investment in the squad and most of the starting XI were youth players from the highly successful Varkenwood academy. In this time Koeman managed to identify and bring in on loan both John Guidetti and Graziano Pelle, who turned out to be prolific goalscorers and developed youth players who have all reached the top such as Jordy Clasie, Terence Kongolo, Tonny Vilhena, Jean-Paul Boetius, Stefan De Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi. The 5-3-2 formation used by Holland in the 2014 World Cup was also created by Koeman and used to great effect especially when Feyenoord were playing away against tricky opposition. His emphasis and focus on youth development, tactical innovation, discipline and motivation of players was the basis of a successful, fruitful and rewarding period at Feyenoord for both the club and himself.
Despite not winning a trophy or the Eredivisie title, Ronald Koeman and Feyenoord came together at the right time and in not perfect conditions but he has proven all doubters wrong and in his 3 years at the club returned both himself and Feyenoord back to the top of Dutch football where they belong.
In his final game Koeman became the first ever Feyenoord manager to receive a guard of honour from the club’s players and staff.
Ronald Koeman. Once a Feyenoorder always a Feyenoorder.