Last season saw the ADO Den Haag match the previous season’s 9th placed finish but it was manner of the season what made their final position more remarkable writes Mark Neale.
Up until February and the sacking of manager Maurice Steijn only relegation looked likely. But the installation of Steijn’s assistant Henk Fraser turned things around completely with only one defeat that to eventual champions Ajax, in the last twelve games ensured another season of Eredivisie football for the club from Haag.
A close season of changes has greeted the ADO Den Haag fans both on and off the pitch.
New owners have taken control of the club in the form of Chinese company United Vansen Sports. This prompted the resignation of club CEO Piet Jansen claiming he was unable to work with foreign owners.
The renovation work at the Kyocera Stadion now completed with the fully synthetic pitch now installed the interest now lays how the team can perform on it.
A new technical manager who is also the head of the youth academy, Rob Meppelink has been appointed and ADO has since offered four youth players a contract making a change from the usual stance of selling their brighter talents with finances on a more even keel with the new owners.
Some eye catching transfers this summer have moved the club a step forward none more so than ex Danish International Thomas Kristensen from FC Kobenhavn. The midfielder arrives with both Champions league and Europa league experience and ADO did well to secure his services with several clubs across Europe after his signature.
Another Danish arrival is that of goalkeeper Martin Hansen coupled with Tim Coremans from SC Cambuur Robert Zwinkels now faces some serious competition for the number one jersey.
Rydell Poepon returns to the club after a season on loan to NAC Breda and despite the player being linked with a move away he remains and will be looking to make an impression as he enters the final year of his contract.
Again the club will be relying on the goals from captain Mike van Duinen. Again numerous rumours linking him with a move away but he remains a key part of the team.
So everything is in place for this up coming season to be more successful and with money in the transfer budget of in the region of €5-10 million there is still time to add some quality to the squad.
Healthy season ticket sales, new owners that are prepared to invest in the team and the club in general, a renovated stadium with its state of the art playing surface, a new technical manager who is not under pressure to sell the club’s up and coming talents the future for the club looks the healthiest it has for a long time.
Balance is the key and the new owners are here for the long term and that can only be good news to the fans as they prepare to embark on another season of top flight football.
TRANSFERS INS AND OUT
IN: Martin Hansen (FC Nordsjælland), Thomas Kristensen (FC Kobenhavn), Tim Coremans (SC Cambuur), Xander Houtkoop (Go Ahead Eagles).
OUT: Christian Supusepa (CSKA Sofia), Ninos Gouriye (Excelsior), Tom Beugelsdijk (FSV Frankfurt), Danny Holla (released).
MANAGER – HENK FRÄSER
Henk Fraser did a fantastic job after stepping up from assistant coach to head coach in February and guided the team from a relegation battle to a mid table finish with the team suffering one defeat in the last twelve games.
Rewarded for this by the club with a two year contract he will be key to keeping the stability and good football that the club enjoyed in the latter part of last season.
KEY PLAYER – MIKE VAN DUINEN
Now club captain at the players request, he will be key to how the club performs this season. Top scorer for the last two seasons and also high on the assist list the 23 year old has gained many admirers.
Subject to a bid form AZ this summer which was declined the club are doing everything to try and keep their prize assist. With the added guile in midfield Van Duinen should improve on his 8 league goals from last season and relish the role of leader in the team.
PREDICTION – 9TH
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