Ruud Gullit will follow up Bert van Marwijk as Feyenoord coach at the beginning of next season, with Mark Wotte taking the reins as the new technical manager. Ruud Gullit still has to get official permission from the Dutch football association (KNVB), but both he and the club are confident that he will be released from his rolling contract with the KNVB on 1 July 2004. Mark Wotte joins the club immediately.

‘Our profile was oriented to dynamic professionals aged forty-plus. The board has had advice from qualified people inside and outside the club. The fact that Gullit and Wotte played at Feyenoord in their younger years and both know the club culture naturally played a role,’ said chairman Jorien van den Herik, who led the negotiations himself after returning from America. Ruud Gullit has signed a contract for two years that becomes effective in the summer. Van den Herik does not expect any problems with the KNVB. ‘Ruud has had a good personal interview with [KNVB director] Henk Kesler and we know what Gullit has done for Dutch football, so this improved position will not be begrudged him, I’m sure.’ Gullit himself is confident that he will be able to leave the KNVB amicably. ‘I have always wanted to work as coach at Feyenoord. The club has always had a special place in my heart. They know that in Zeist and I am almost certain that the KNVB will not take this unique opportunity from me. There is six months to find a suitable replacement for me for the Under 21s.’ Mark Wotte follows up recently departed Rob Baan, but as technical manager rather than technical director. Says Van den Herik: ‘The director’s positions will be manned only after the PLC structure has been implemented. We have a management structure at Feyenoord now in which a team with a great degree of independence is responsible for the day-to-day disciplines, each in his own area of expertise. That’s why we have agreed a two-season contract with Mark Wotte as technical manager. We evaluate it after that.’ Wotte couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for the new challenge. ‘I was lucky enough to be able to choose from a number of offers these past few weeks. When Feyenoord came in I obviously didn’t have to think it over for long. I find it a privilege to work for my old club and I also realise that that will essentially be in strategic and organisational matters in the background. It is an extensive task, but I am really looking forward to it and I am glad that Willem II has been so flexible in its cooperation.’
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