Former director Nijland doesn’t believe in new names in Groningen: ‘Kamikaze action’

Former director Nijland doesn’t believe in new names in Groningen: ‘Kamikaze action’

“Nothing can come under Groningen.” Former CEO Hans Nijland says that although jokes are made about FC Groningen on social media, the situation at the club is far from ludicrous: “This is a worrying situation.”

Nijland, who was the director of “Trots van het Noorden” from 1996 to 2019, therefore understands that the fans at the bottom of the table in the major leagues are expressing their discontent. Yesterday, after the tenth defeat (3-2 at FC Volendam), the FC Groningen supporters’ association published a letter stating that trust in coach Mark-Jan Fledderus has ended.

But Nijland is less understanding of this message. According to him, it is important that the cadres remain closed within the club. “I don’t believe in exchanging managers or coaches right now. That would be an act of kamikaze. We must stand shoulder to shoulder.”

This is why some fans disagree with the call to replace former head coach Dennis van der Ree with former Groningen coach Danny Buijs.

Nijland also finds the timing of the letter’s publication unfortunate. There is still a lot of emotion shortly after the match and according to him it is not good for the club. “Keep the lines closed and stop pointing,” she advises.

According to the former director, domestic unrest is one of the causes of the miserable season. It refers to media events (for example, RTV Noord was boycotted after an incident involving actor Paulos Abraham’s dog), rebellious cast and personnel changes.

For example, manager Frank Wormuth, described by Nijland as “interesting”, took his kongé, Gert Peter de Gunst was appointed assistant coach last week, and a new team manager was found at Jos Hooiveld over the weekend.

Given the unrest, Nijland is happy that the transfer market is closed after Tuesday. “Then you know who you have to do this with. A lot has changed. There should be no pigeons.”

This is why Nijland does not advocate “opening a box of new players”. Even if he finds that the selection is not balanced and leaves much to be desired in terms of quality. Nijland, 62, says he tends to snoop occasionally but has given up.

He also has enough confidence in Fledderus, who was called up under Nijland’s responsibilities in 2019. He will be a very good coach, but it will take time. And Mark-Jan hasn’t been here that long either.”

Also, Nijland points to the good sales performance provided by Fledderus. For example, Norwegian striker Jørgen Strand Larsen paid Groningen a record sum (around 12 million euros) in the summer. He underlines the need for a good evaluation after the season. “But you always have to. All management is responsible.”

The ex-director is also confident that “his” club will do well. “It was disappointing in every way. I can’t believe it when Groningen is relegated. But yes, they said it at NAC Breda, FC Twente and Heracles Almelo too.”

According to the director, a game in the major leagues would mean a huge loss of income. “They no longer visit Ajax and Feyenoord, but Helmond Sport and Telstar. Sponsors are less aware because they have less media attention. They will still be happy about it in Groningen,” Nijland says with a cautious smile.

Nijland secretly hopes to exchange his spare smile for a big smile by the end of the season. According to him, despite many defeats, Groningen is better quality than its rivals. He also appreciates the unwavering support of fanatical fans.

It’s realistic too. Nijland did not forget that Groningen was also relegated in 1998 under their leadership. With players like Mariano Bombarda, Patrick Lodewijks and Erwin Koeman. “Hope is belated disappointment.”

Source: NOS