Few have had the honour of representing Feyenoord, Sparta and Excelsior in their career, but one of them is Mike Snoei, nowadays coach at Vitesse, who entertain the Rotterdammers at their Gelredome Stadium Saturday. The coach is almost a third of the way through his first season in Arnhem and things aren’t going too bad. Vitesse recently dumped Rapid Bucharest out of the Europe and with a bit of hard work Snoei sees better things just around the corner.

Snoei went into the Vitesse job with eyes open. The club is in deep financial crisis, after losing its main sponsor and played most of last season without a shirt sponsor. The staff seemed to be lining up to abandon ship and important players like Victor Sikora, Mahamadou Diarra, Michel Kreek, Orlando Trustfull and Remco van der Schaaf all paid off in the close season. Snoei was left with no choice but to blood some youngsters and it appears to be working at the moment. ‘Our performances are erratic. But thankfully the number of poor games have declined recently. We also had a bit of success in the UEFA Cup. So I think we’ve broken the downward spiral. And the football is getting better and better.’ It’s an important week in Vitesse’s season as the Arnhem outfit take on Feyenoord, Roda JC and NAC within seven days. The first of those is against the club for whom he made his Eredivise debut, although as a player he only pulled on the red and white shirt once. ‘I was far too impatient. I though I was very good and I wanted to play every week. Then trainer Hans Kraay Sr wanted me to stay at the club, but I moved to Excelsior. Maybe I should have had more patience. You’re never sure if you’ve made the right decision. Although I’ve never had any regrets about anything. What happens, happens.’ Who knows, one day Snoei may return to the Kuip as head coach. ‘That would be fantastic. But I’d be happy if my old buddy Mario Been were to become coach there. They are only dreams though. Right now I’m having a great time at Vitesse. I want to achieve something here first. I’ll be keeping both feet on the ground anyway. I’m a true Rotterdammer after all.’ Snoei will most likely miss striker Bob Peeters against Feyenoord. The tall man from Belgium picked up an injury while warming up ahead of his country’s Euro 2004 qualifier in Andorra. PROBABLE VITESSE TEAM Jevric; Rankovic, Cornelisse, Stefanovic, Fränkel; Janssen, Levchenko, Claessens, Martel; Amoah and Peeters (Sone/Mbamba).
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