Heracles have been for a while now the best little club in the Eredivisie having spent a club record 9 consecutive seasons in the top flight now. This is not a bad achievement from a club with only 5,000 season ticket holders and play in the small city of Almelo (total population 72,000). Named after the Greek God Heracles (Hercules) who was known for his strength and courage it seems that this club has adopted the same attributes writes Rogier Waalder.
In recent years, and particularly under Peter Bosz, Heracles played a very attacking and attractive brand of football and has won many admirers. The first priority for them will always be to retain their Eredivisie status and this looked in jeopardy at times last season when they finished in 14th spot.
The challenge might be a bit tougher this season with some key off-season departures. Gone are Mikhail Rosheuvel (back to parent club AZ), first choice Goalie Remko Pasveer (PSV), young attacker Mark Uth (Heerenveen) and key midfielder Ben Rienstra (PEC Zwolle). Also compounding matters was the mystery surrounding Australian left back Jason Davidson who refused to play for the club after his World Cup exploits and has since transferred to West Bromwich Albion. These 5 players each played over 30 matches for Heracles last season and scored over a quarter of their goals.
They have replaced these outgoing players with some very experienced campaigners with the likes of Bram Castro (100 Eredivisie appearances), Bas Sibum (over 200 appearances), Mark-Jan Fledderus (over 200 appearances) and Ramon Zomer (over 250 appearances) all being well credentialed and will certainly add to the side.
Heracles are a well run side off the field and have defied expectations to play so many consecutive years in the Eredivisie and whilst the swashbuckling days under Bosz are gone and new sense of pragmatism and experience within the side should see them retain their Eredivisie place once more.
TRANSFERS INS AND OUT
IN: Bas Sibum (Waasland-Beveren), Bram Castro (MVVV), Fahd Aktaou (Almere City), Joey Pelupessy (FC Twente), Mark Engberink (FC Twente), Mark-Jan Fledderus (Roda JC), Ramon Zomer (Heerenveen), Rick Hemmink (FC Twente), Wout Weghorst (FC Emmen).
OUT: Ben Rienstra (PEC Zwolle), Jens Jurn Streutker (Heerenveen), Joey Belterman (FC Den Bosch), Mark Uth (Heerenveen), Mikhail Rosheuvel (AZ Alkmaar), Remko Pasveer (PSV).
MANAGER – JAN DE JONGE
An experienced manager who made his name at SC Heerenveen, first as an Assistant and then later as an interim Manager, he took over Heracles last season after the popular Peter Bosz moved onto Vitesse. de Jonge had been out of the managerial game for a few years before coming in at Heracles he was seen as a risky move by some and had a very up and down first season last time around. They suffered a poor end to last season and hopefully the additional experience that de Jonge has added this summer will hold Heracles in good stead.
KEY PLAYER – BRYAN LINSSEN
Linssen did a tour of the three Limburg based clubs before signing a deal with Heracles last season. He enjoyed a very good year in the prior season with VVV and was actually touted as joining a bigger name club before ending up at Heracles. A very direct, pacy and technically gifted wide midfielder Linssen was Heracles’ top scorer last season with 11 goals, which is the best return of his career to date. With the loss of Mark Uth up front Linssen will have to develop a quick understanding with the likes of Fledderus for Heracles to have a successful season.
PREDICTION – 11TH
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