‘The technical study group selected the best trainers in Europe, based on their performance this past season. Bert van Marwijk was one of those selected. The same technical study group ultimately nominated three trainers from that preselection for the gala in Monaco. Bert van Marwijk was not one of them. That’s possible, because the UEFA’s Internet vote had no impact whatsoever on the technical study group’s decision.’ So what was the use of having a vote when nothing was done with the results? ‘It gave football fans the opportunity to see who was most popular among the supporters. No more than that,’ as stated in the official statement issued in the Swiss town of Nyon.
Bert van Marwijk’s response was one of surprise when he heard the statement from UEFA HQ. ‘It seems a little strange to me to hold a ballot and then do nothing with the results. Thankfully I’ve always been fairly laconic about my nomination. Other people have been more excited about it than me. I’m not angry, but UEFA need never ask me to do anything for them again. Let’s make that clear.’
As part of their UEFA Super Cup transmission in Monaco, Dutch TV is set to broadcast a long portrait of the Feyenoord coach. The fact that he has lost out on the European Trainer of the Year award has not made them change their minds. ‘For us he is still a good trainer, award or no award,’ said a spokesperson.
In the Internet ballot Van Marwijk bagged over forty per cent of the votes, twice as many as his closest rival Del Bosque, who trains the millionaires from Real Madrid. Deportivo la Coruna’s Javier Irureta was third with 14 per cent, but he too was not included in UEFA’s technical study group final three. The lucky trio were Del Bosque, Klaus Toppmöller of Bayer Leverküsen and Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United), who started the season by buying one of the world’s most expensive players in Ruud van Nistelrooij (adding to a squad of multimillionaires) and finished it without a single trophy to his name.