‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Erwin Koeman is leaving Feyenoord by the front door. Just like he came through the front door two years ago, said the coach himself at Thursday’s press conference when he officially announced his departure from the club. Koeman’s decision was based on his feeling. ‘That is the most important thing for me. I’m not motivated one hundred per cent to lead this team into the playoffs. And they are very important for the club. The defeat to Heerenveen was the last straw. I have given everything I have, but it has to stop somewhere. That’s why I’m leaving now.’
Koeman stressed on Thursday morning that his decision is not connected to the club’s plans. He would not have reconsidered his decision even if management had been able to provide a clear picture of the future. ‘Behind the scenes they are hard at work on the future of this club. I know that only too well. But I have this feeling and I am unable to shake it off. It would not have influenced my decision; after the 5-1 at Heerenveen my mind was made up.’
The departing coach announced his decision internally Wednesday to management board members Onno Jacobs and Chris Woerts, technical manager Peter Bosz and agent Ger Lagendijk. ‘I told them my feelings and said that I wanted to stop with immediate effect. A lot has happened these past two years, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was last Sunday. Ger tried to talk me round but I had made my decision. It is a decision in which I have given consideration to both Feyenoord and myself.’
‘I have put my heart and soul into it for two years. I have given my all in all circumstances. To lead this club you have to give one hundred per cent and that is what I have done. But I cannot do that any longer. I’ve lost an illusion and gained experience. It has not all been negative. There were nice times too and I have certainly not forgotten them.’
In spite of his cool exterior, Koeman found it hard to announce his decision. He told the players ahead of the press conference. ‘They were disappointed but also very understanding,’ says Koeman, who confirmed it was an emotional moment. ‘These are not the nicest moments you can have as a coach. I was and am honoured to have been the coach here. I’m also proud of having been at the helm for two years. I’ve always had the support of the supporters and management.
I am very grateful for that. I also have the feeling that my way of working was appreciated by management and the players. But you want to see results; that’s why I’m a coach. I feel that we all have to take responsibility. But I’m the one with final responsibility here and I’ve drawn my conclusions. Have I got the enough out of it? I think it’s a miracle that we played for fifth place until the last day of the season.’