Mario Been has experienced great success at current employer NEC Nijmegen. He is the first coach to keep the club in a European competition after the winter break, fashioning a very close-knit team that plays attractive football. That, coupled with his Rotterdam past, made him the ideal candidate to succeed Gertjan Verbeek as Feyenoord’s head coach.
Board members Eric Gudde and Onno Jacobs quickly reached agreement with Been and his agent Rob Jansen. ‘From the very start, both parties had the desire to work something out together and we managed to do that in record tempo,’ said general manager Eric Gudde. ‘We are delighted that Mario Been is our new head coach. He knows better than anyone how this club works and, in addition, over the past few years he has developed into an outstanding coach who is able to get the most out of a squad.’
‘I am very happy in more than one regard that we now have an agreement,’ said Mario Been. ‘Everyone knows that Feyenoord is my club and that I have always dreamed of returning to De Kuip as head coach. I am also glad hammered something out, so I can again focus fully on my work at NEC for the rest of the season, starting with the game against Feyenoord this weekend. I announced my departure from Excelsior well before the end of the season too, precisely to give myself some space and it went well.’
Mario Been was employed by Feyenoord between 2000 and 2005, first as assistant coach to Leo Beenhakker and Bert van Marwijk, before coaching the reserves for a season. ‘At the time I left the club with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, but looking back I’m happy with the way things went. At Excelsior I learned to stand on my own two feet and at NEC I have had a great time for almost three seasons. So Feyenoord is a wonderful next step in my career as a coach.’
Been is very popular with the Feyenoord fans and he is aware of the high expectations he will be asked to live up to on his return to De Kuip. ‘But I’m not a magician. I’m aware that we’ll all have to be more inventive than ever at Feyenoord. I want to build up something special in those three years and I want the team to exude pleasure. I’m proud to be appointed Feyenoord coach; I want the players to show pride in being able to play for Feyenoord. There is enough quality in the current squad and there are also a lot of talented youngsters to be found in and around De Kuip. If everyone feels good and does their utmost every day to become better, we’ll be well on our way.’
Mario Been (Rotterdam, 11 December 1963) commences his third stint at the club on 1 July. Been has worked at Feyenoord as a youth and first-team player (1969-1988), assistant coach (2000-2004) and reserve team coach (2004-2005). His reserve team missed out on the league championship by a hair’s breath.
In 2005-2006 he was head coach at Excelsior, winning the Jupiler League title and promotion to the Eredivisie. It earned Been a contract at NEC, where he has been the club’s most successful coach, guiding his team into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Cup this season. He was also assistant coach to Leo Beenhakker in the Trinidad & Tobago setup at the 2006 World Cup.