Kees Rijvers, legendary Dutch coach who was named as one of Erik ten Hag's main coaching influences, has died aged 97
EuropaLeague

Kees Rijvers, legendary Dutch coach who was named as one of Erik ten Hag's main coaching influences, has died aged 97

Mar 4, 2024

Kees Rijvers, the legendary Dutch manager listed by Man United boss Erik ten Hag as a main coaching influence, has died at the age of 97.

He was a star player, earning 33 caps for Holland, and played both their games at the 1948 Olympics which were held in England, as well as becoming one of the first stars to leave the country and play professional club football. 

But he was probably best remembered for his managerial work, including success with PSV Eindhoven in the 1970s, and leading Holland in the early 1980s. 

In January 2023, ten Hag shared his four main coaching influences with Premier League Productions, and shared on the Manchester United website, singling out Rijvers for his work, as the pair worked together early in his own playing career.

When asked about his main inspirations, ten Hag said: ‘The best one, the famous one, was the manager of FC Twente, Kees Rijvers.

Kees Rijvers, the legendary Dutch manager at club and country level, has died at the age of 97

Kees Rijvers, the legendary Dutch manager at club and country level, has died at the age of 97

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag listed Rijvers as one of his main coaching influences

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag listed Rijvers as one of his main coaching influences

‘Later on, he was the manager of PSV [Eindhoven], where he won the UEFA Cup later on [1977/78], and [was] also manager of the Dutch side, the Netherlands.

‘Previously, he was a very good player and I also had the luck, for two years, that he was my coach at FC Twente and I learnt a lot about him, about organisation in football, about his philosophy, about playing from the back, attacking football and about team spirit.’

Rijvers was a star midfielder in his playing days, becoming one of the first Dutch players to turn professional, and move abroad to further his career, winning the French league title with Saint Etienne in 1957.

He earned 33 caps and scored 10 goals as an international player after the Second World War, being a member of the 1948 Olympic team that got knocked out after two games, losing to the host side Great Britain. 

But he was probably best remembered for his managerial career, where he ranks second in the history of the Dutch top flight for matches won.

He had good results in six seasons with FC Twente, which saw him move to take over as Head Coach at PSV in 1972.

At his new club, he won the UEFA Cup in 1978, as well as three Eredivise titles and the KNVB Cup twice. 

After leaving Eindhoven, he took charge of the Holland national team in 1981, where he managed 21 games. 

His success with PSV Eindhoven domestically and in Europe saw him take the Holland job

His success with PSV Eindhoven domestically and in Europe saw him take the Holland job

Rijvers (R) found success at club level with PSV Eindhoven, winning three Eredivise titles

Rijvers (R) found success at club level with PSV Eindhoven, winning three Eredivise titles

His three-and-a-half years in the Dutch hotseat saw him give international debuts to iconic names including Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Ronald Koeman.

Rijvers was ultimately dismissed from the role when the country failed to qualify for the Euro 1984 tournament.

He retired from management in the early 1990s, but remained high in the memory of fans in his home country. 

In 2004, Rijvers was the first manager to win a lifetime achievement prize at the Rinus Michels Awards – honouring managerial prowess in the Netherlands – and earned a knighthood of the Dutch Football Association in March 2023 for his work in the game. 

PSV Eindhoven awarded him a Walk of Fame tile, which will be revealed to the public ahead of their home game against FC Twente on March 17.  

The Dutch club wrote: ‘With the death of Kees Rijvers, the club and Dutch football have lost a great icon.

‘PSV is thinking of all the relatives and wishes everyone a lot of strength in coping with this great loss.’

In his time with Holland, he gave international debuts to Ruud Gullit and Ronald Koeman

In his time with Holland, he gave international debuts to Ruud Gullit and Ronald Koeman

After retirement in the 1990s, Rijvers was still well respected by the Dutch football community

After retirement in the 1990s, Rijvers was still well respected by the Dutch football community

FC Twente wrote: ‘We wish the family of Kees Rijvers, his friends and other relatives a lot of strength in coping with the loss.’

He was the final surviving player to receive at least one vote during the inaugural version of the Ballon d’Or in 1956, a prize that was won by Stanley Matthews.  

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *