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Saturday Kickoff: Dutch hire Van Gaal, Park leaving Man United, and more

VanGaal (Getty)

The next manager to try and help the Netherlands finally meet expectations is a man who has tried before.

Louis Van Gaal has replaced Bert van Marwijk as manager of the Dutch national team, taking the same job he previously held from 2000 to 2001, when he led the Netherlands in a failed bid to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

The 60-year-old manager has an outstanding career as a club manager, having led the likes of Barcelona, Ajax and Bayern Munich, but will now have a chance to make up for one of his few career failures.

Former Dutch national team and Ajax standout Danny Blind will serve as van Gaal's assistant.

Here are some more stories to get your Saturday going:


Park Ji Sung is leaving Manchester United after an impressive seven-year stint, joining Queens Park Rangers in a £2million transfer.

The former PSV Eindhoven star joined United on a £4 million move in 2005 and became one of Alex Ferguson's most reliable players, particularly in important matches. The South Korean star won four English Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League title with Man United during his tenure.


Just two months after winning the UEFA Champions League title with Chelsea, Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou is leaving Stamford Bridge to join French side Lille.

Kalou joins Lille on a free transfer and will look to help Lille offset the departure of Eden Hazard, who joined Chelsea earlier in the transfer window. Lille earlier signed highly-rated French playmaker Marvin Martin. New York area soccer fans were recently treated to Kalou's skills in the Steve Nash Showdown charity soccer game in Manhattan.

What do you think of these developments? See Van Gaal leading the Netherlands to glory at the 2014 World Cup (assuming they qualify)? Disappointed to see Park leave Old Trafford? Impressed with Lille's moves since selling Eden Hazard?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. That does not mean it hasn’t happened.

    Why would they keep you in the loop? Are you Clint’s agent?

    And if you are talking about gossip in the papers, don’t you know that most of that is old moose dung?

  2. The Netherlands have been a world class power,in terms of the talented players they produce in great numbers, since at least the late 1960’s. That is 40 or so years and all they have to show for it is one European Championship.

    This is a very meager haul given the massive amount of talent that has worn the orange shirt over the years.

    I don’t think it matters who the manager is, the players always turn out to be self centered, back stabbing prima donnas who would rather be right than play together.

    If Dutch players had been in charge of the Russian and US nuclear arsenals during the Cold war the world would now be a radioactive, dead, cinder.

    They will never win anything,ever.

  3. I don’t know if Van Gaal is a good choice. I’ve always felt that the problem with the Dutch is internal chemistry within their team and clubhouse. A combination of a Dutch mentality of being free-thinkers and questioning orders plus their best talent plays all over the world so they’re less cohesive in playing style and atmosphere. It’s not like a Spain where the roster almost entirely have Barca and Real ties. This last Euro competition is a great example. Van Gaal has a reputation has a tactical genius who is pompous and won’t doesn’t take lightly to being questioned or challenged. I think to manage the Dutch locker room, you either need a genius that they all look up to (and maybe that’s Van Gaal) or a Van Basten or Cruyff, or someone who can moderate and work with the personalities and hurly-burly that is a talented Dutch team, or someone willing to exclude most of the best Dutch talent and instead bring in a lot of younger (especially domestic) players and just tell Van der Vaart, Robben, etc. “your time is past.” Anything other than those 3 approaches as a manager is, I fear, doomed to fail.

  4. I don’t know about you but I have yet to see any “top” teams, let alone “multiple”, express interest in Dempsey.

  5. +billion

    Park is class thru and thru. When ManU signed him lots of fans thought it was just to sell shirts in Asia. Park proved them all wrong. To me he’s the Korean McBride: bright, industrious and ever the great attitude. May there be more of him everywhere.

    And for the first time I have reason to care about QPR.

  6. bottlcaps said Liverpool would not be playing in Europe next year, and that’s not true; whether it’s the premier competition or not is another matter entirely.

    And don’t fall into the typical trap of many who cannot watch the Europa League competition. Sure, the group stages are no where near the level of the CL’s group stages, but once the knockout rounds commence the quality of the competition increases sharply. The weak teams are rapidly eliminated–it’s not unusual for most the CL chaff to be knocked out in short order. While it never reaches the levels of the CL, it’s still engaging football with some quality sides in it.

  7. Here is my answer:

    First of all what do you mean by better?

    I think MLS may well be a much better run company from a business standpoint than a lot of teams across the pond, not just the EPL. And it is only getting worse given how the economy over there is going. Just look at Rangers. What a cluster. How many more clubs in the UK are in dire financial straits? I suspect Rangers are not alone.

    Do you mean can RSL, in mid season form,beat a Reading or a Wigan when they are in mid season form?

    Absolutely. Teams like Reading and Wigan lose to Championship, First Division, and Second Division sides and so on in the FA Cup and League Cup often enough. And that sort of upset happened before those competitions became as watered down as they are today.

    On a longer term basis, the lower level EPL teams have the greater resources, financial and other wise, to win out (even the big Mexican teams have bigger budgets than MLS teams).

    Until MLS and EPL teams compete in a competition like the Champions league where you have a basis for comparing the teams when both are more or less at the same point in their seasons and when there is something on the line, it is really difficult to quantify exactly how great that disparity is.

    Look at Africa. They produce all those great,great players but how many of their clubs have any of us even heard of?

    The number of great players a country or a continent produces is not necessarily directly related to the strength of their respective leagues and club teams.

  8. europa league and champions league are far, far from the same thing and Liverpool wont be any closer to the CL next year than they are this year IMHO.

  9. Yes well then there’s Barton…. you’re right about that, but I suspect he won’t be a hoop for much longer and wouldn’t be now had it been easier for the R’s to cancel his contract. As it is he’s suspended for so long he won’t probably even be in the 25 man squad for awhile, and he’s no longer the captain.

  10. I love QPR but any team employing Joey Barton and thus giving him license to do what he does, is automatically at a “lower level”.

    He does however, give you value for your entertainment dollar, if you like watching train wrecks.

    So I guess I’m ambivalent about the one man reality show.

  11. Actually this is about Seb Hines. And I’m interested in the reactions to the comment, such as yours,

    I’m not an MLS fan per se meaning I don’t suport any particular teams. I’ve followed the EPL since the days when it was the First Division.

    I’ve long been very skeptical of the notion, one subscribed to by many SBI posters it seems, that the JUST BECAUSE someone plays in a better league that he is always automatically better than someone who plays the same position at, for example, Houston. “Whitbread plays for Norwich. He must be a better center half than Cameron” .

    Obviously, even the lower half EPL teams provide sterner competition and a theoretically better environment to get the best out of a given player, on a daily basis, than an MLS team, all things being equal.

    And chances are that a given Wigan player will be better than a given Dynamo player.

    But that does not mean that player X at Wigan, for example is inherently a quantum level better soccer player than player Y at RSL.

    Player X may be in better shape tactically and maybe physically (because they play more). And given everything that is at stake, even at Wigan, every player who wants a regular job must be much more focused.

    But once a league gets to a certain level, and MLS is there, it is clear to me their exceptional players have the talent to play in the EPL. But talent is not the only factor that determines if you succeed in the EPL.

    Americans who come from MLS have actually done quite well in the EPL. I once researched that particular question and found that the Americans who were lucky enough to get asked (and there are more than most think) mostly did well. That should not be a surprise since the stringent permitting regulations insure that only our best players get to play in England ( yes it is shocking but the Robbies, Findley and Rogers, are actually among the best Americans playing soccer on this planet).

    As despised as they are to most of you, Donovan went there and with about a weeks practice did very well both times and Tim Ream fit in seamlessly at Bolton. As for the more popular players, Howard didn’t even really know how to play keeper and did very well initially at Man U., and McBride didn’t exactly languish on the bench for very long. And Clint had about 12 appearances in his first season and has never dropped below 40 appearances in every season since. It’s a myth that Clint has not been used by his managers at Fulham.

    I’m not suggesting it wasn’t a struggle or that it was easy for any of them but we have a fair amount of talented American soccer players who if given the right circumstances, and that is a very big if, can succeed in the EPL. And there are a lot of managers, coaches and other football types in England and Europe who know that.

    Why Seb Hines? He is 24, 6’1” and starts at center half for a tough Middlesbrough team in the Championship. And apparently he may be eligible for the USMNT. I’m assuming that JK knows about him since I know JK has internet access. I would assume JK has people in England checking the guy out. So we will see about Mr. Hines.

    The point was a lot of people were suggesting he should be brought in to solve our CB woes, simply because he plays in the Championship.

    I’ve never seen him play and have no idea how good he is and from the posts I read I’m guessing a lot of those people calling for his inclusion had never seen him play either. No surprise since I can’t imagine why any soccer package would pick up Middlesbrough and show them here.

  12. QPR aren’t a “lower level” Premier League team any longer, with their ownership group and new stadium plans, they’re really a new Man City, or perhaps Man City light as their owners seem to have a semblance of business acumen and financial sanity.

  13. What a strange comment. Do you honestly need someone to tell you why mid-table EPL sides and MLS teams are different?

  14. Becuase they are discussing leagues. If a player goes from the MLS to even a Wigan he will be playing tougher opponents every week.

    The MLS still has a long way to go before it can even be compared with the lower level EPL sides at best its championship level football. The MLS is still a league of young guys trying to make it, journeymen and American players that weren’t good enough to be scouted in Europe

  15. OM hire Elie Baup who’s one hell of a manager. Not sure who they’re signing as far as players and they need them. Then again I damn nearly have no idea who’s playing for my PSG these days. Think PSG will sign Pele soon — LOL. Should have been careful when I wished for an owner who would spend. Should have said with sense but nooo….oo

  16. I think Fulham are asking in the range of 10-12M US for a transfer fee for Deauce. Liverpool has put Dempsey near the top of their list, but because they will not play in Europe next year, it will have to be a powerful compensation package, as Dempsey has expressed his desire to go to a team “playing” Champions League football now. Of course, the Press have linked him with Man U and Arsenal as possible suitors. As Dempsey is wanted by more than a couple top teams, expect his transfer to take place near the back of the transfer window,

  17. How is it that when a 30ish Man U player decides he won’t be getting playing time anymore he “retires” to a lower level EPL side ( Park, QPR, O’Shea, Sunderland, Phil Neville, Everton, Owen, Stoke, etc. ,etc. ) and no one says anything.

    But if that same guy “retired’ to MLS it would be MLS serving as a retirement home for over the hill 30 year old Euros.

    And if an MLS player like Cameron were to go to one of those Man U retirement homes like Stoke or Sunderland everyone would be praising him for moving to such a higher standard of play.

  18. He was also an important part of the Barcelona evolution. While coach at Barcelona he really pushed for getting more academy products chances with the first team, which included Xavi.

  19. Park has long been one of my favorite players. I’m glad he’s going somewhere where he’ll play consistently, but as a Fulham fan I’m disappointed that it’s QPR.


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