It was a nightmare season last term for FC Utrecht, but surely things have to get better asks Will Burns.
Finishing in tenth was a great end to a horrid season for Utrecht as they trifled with relegation for the majority of the season but it cost manager Jan Wouters his job. The season did not begin great for the team in red and white, eliminated from the Europa League by neighbours from Luxembourg FC Differdange 03. Most of the last season’s squad did not survive the cull, however, some decent replacements have been brought in.
Out went striker Jacob Mulenga and winger Cedric van der Gun as their contracts expired.Swedish pair Marcus Nilsson and Johan Mårtensson went back home as Frenchman Matthieu Delpierre left for the A-League and Melbourne Victory.
Nacer Barazite has been out in the cold the past few seasons at Monaco but looks to revive his career in Utrecht. Anouar Kali returns to the club for a second spell and Danny Verbeek joins from Standard Liege. Ruud Boymans’ 27 goals last year led Willem II to the Eerste Divisie title and he will lead the line this year in the red and white stripes. With creative midfielder Jens Toornstra still around, Utrecht could be quite the attacking force if they can get the tactics correct.
Unfortunately, the team is there however, the manager is not. The inexperience of Rob Alflen may hamper Utrecht and the fans could be in for another tough season.
TRANSFERS INS AND OUT
IN: Rubio Rubin (Free agent), Anouar Kali (Roda JC), Christian Kum (Heerenveen), Danny Verbeek (Standard Liege), Nacer Barazite (Monaco), Ramon Leeuwin (SC Cambuur), Ruud Boymans (AZ Alkmaar)
OUT: Aleksander Bjelica (Sparta Rotterdam), Dave Bulthuis (FC Nurnberg), Johan Mårtensson (Helsingborg), Marcus Nilsson (Kalmar), Matthieu Delpierre (Melbourne Victory), Steve de Ridder (FC Kobenhavn).
MANAGER – ROB ALFLEN
One has to wonder how Wouters has kept his job so long in Utrecht after a tumultuous campaign last season. His assistant Rob Alflen has been drafted in to replace him which is his first head coach job. A relatively unknown in Dutch football, Alflen started his managerial career at the youth side of Utrecht and worked his way up the ladder to the hotseat.
KEY PLAYER – TOMMY OAR
Australian winger Oar, fresh off a decent World Cup campaign, playing all three of the Socceroos games, looks to produce a better season than last for Utrecht. Even though, Oar is only 22 years old, he has made 91 appearances for the club over the last four seasons. He knows what the fans want and he will give 100 percent to deliver for them. If results and performances do not improve for his side, Europe’s finest could be ready to swoop next term.
PREDICTION – 14TH
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