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Manchester United - Football: Is going Dutch the way to go?

23 April 2022 12:46:55 EST
Erik ten Hag has plenty of work to do

Man Utd have confirmed the appointment of Erik ten Hag as their new head coach from next season, making him the ninth Dutchman to manage in the Premier League.

Ten Hag will officially take over the reins at Old Trafford in July and he will be tasked with turning things around following another disappointing season that looks set to end in the club missing out on a top-four finish - United are priced at 51.00 to win the Premier League next term.

The 52-year-old has certainly proven his credentials with Ajax, but will he be able to transfer those skills into the Premier League?

Many Dutchmen have previously tried their hand at managing in the English top flight with varying degrees of success and we have taken a look back at how they have all fared.

Cup victories but no league titles

No Dutch manager has ever led their team to the Premier League title, but that does not mean they have not enjoyed success, particularly in the FA Cup.

Ruud Gullit was the first Dutchman to manage in the Premier League, taking over at Chelsea in 1996 and he led the club to FA Cup glory the following year.

The former AC Milan star was controversially sacked just two years into his tenure and he went on to endure an infamous spell in charge at Newcastle where he is remembered for falling out with Alan Shearer.

Gullit is not the only Dutch manager to have won the FA Cup with Chelsea, as Guus Hiddink replicated the feat in 2009 during one of two interim spells he enjoyed in charge at Stamford Bridge.

The third and final Dutchman to have led his team to FA Cup glory is Louis van Gaal, who is the only other man from the Netherlands to have managed Man Utd.

Van Gaal lifted the FA Cup with the Red Devils in 2016, but be warned Ten Hag, his compatriot was sacked by United just days after that Wembley success against Crystal Palace.

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Jol and Koeman enjoyed relative success

When Martin Jol took over as Tottenham boss in November 2004 Spurs had never finished higher than seventh in the Premier League era.

However, the former Dutch international was able to lead his side to back-to-back fifth-place finishes during his only two full seasons in charge, with only "lasagne-gate" denying Spurs a top-four finish during the 2005/06 season.

Jol left the club in 2007, but returned to the Premier League with Fulham four years later, although his time at Craven Cottage was far less memorable.

It was a similar story for Ronald Koeman during his time in England, as the former Barcelona star enjoyed two successful seasons in charge of Southampton before joining Everton where he is perhaps not as fondly remembered.

The forgettable trio

Not every Dutch manager has enjoyed success in the Premier League, with some having not only done poorly, but also become so forgettable you may be surprised to even find them on this list.

Former Man Utd assistant Rene Meulensteen falls into that category, as after a successful spell working under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, he moved to Fulham initially to work as Jol's assistant before being handed the top job in November 2013.

Meulensteen only lasted in the role for three months, being replaced by Felix Magath the following February, as Fulham ended the season by being relegated from the top flight.

At least Meulensteen registered a top-flight win during his brief spell as a Premier League manager, as the same could not be said of former Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer.

De Boer, a legend as a player, holds the ignominy of being the least successful permanent manager in Premier League history, as Palace lost all four of his top-flight matches in charge, failing to even score a goal.

Former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat did at least fare better than both De Boer and Meulensteen, as he guided Sunderland to Premier League survival after taking over on a temporary basis for the final few months of the 2014/15 campaign.

That was enough to earn Advocaat a permanent position at the Stadium of Light, but after a winless start to the following season he was promptly sacked and has not been seen in the English top flight since.

United supporters will certainly be hoping Ten Hag can enjoy more success than many of his Dutch predecessors in the Premier League, but it remains to be seen whether he can truly turn things around at Old Trafford.

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