Man United’s Backroom Boys.
Louis van Gaal’s coaching team.
So much is known about the pedigree of Man United’s assistant manager Ryan Giggs, but not that much is known in England about the others who work under Louis van Gaal. Here I will try and shed some light on the men who have the ear of the Dutch maestro.
Albert Stuivenberg. Assistant coach.
Stuivenberg was born in Rotterdam, Holland in 1970 and played professional football for SC Telstar and HFC Haarlem. He was forced into premature retirement in 1989 due to torn cruciate ligaments. Following the forced ending to his playing career Albert moved into coaching with Feyenoord where he spent the next 13 years.
His next coaching position after leaving Feyenoord in 2004 was at the Al Jazira Club of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. His role was to head up their youth system. He spent two years coaching in the Middle East then he was offered a chance to return to the Netherlands to coach the national team under-17’s. He twice led the youth team to victory in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, in 2011 and 2012. This success lead to his promotion to manage the under-21s in 2013.
He joined United In July 2014 while Louis van Gaal was on World Cup duty in Brazil, and immediately set about working alongside Ryan Giggs in the coaching of the first team.
Frans Hoek. Goalkeeping coach.
Hoek was born in Hoorn, Holland in 1956. He started as an amateur goalkeeper at SV Always. He then played in goal at FC Volendam for more than a decade. In 1977 he achieved top flight football for the first time in the club’s history.
However, two seasons later they were relegated. In 1983 they regained promotion for the second time only to go down yet again in 1985. That’s when Frans decided to quit playing and consequently moved into coaching.
As a goalkeeping coach he worked at the top football clubs in Europe including Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He also helped out the Netherlands and Poland national teams.
Some of the keepers he has coached is an impressive list of number 1’s who’s who including former United favourite Edwin van der Sar, Stanley Menzo, Vítor Baia, Pepe Reina, Robert Enke, Lukasz Fabiariski, Thomas Kraft, Michel Vorm and new Red Devil Victor Valdes.
He worked closely with Louis van Gaal when he became manager at Ajax in 1991, and then followed him onto Barcelona an 1997. In 2000 he helped van Gaal with the the Netherlands national football team but returned to Barcelona two years later.
Hoek became the Polish team coach for four years which took in the 2006 World Cup Finals. In 2010 van Gaal came calling again, this time with a position to coach at Bayern Munich. At Bayern, Hoek had the duel role of goalkeeping and assistant coach.
When van Gaal left the Budesliga club to manage the Dutch national team for the second time it was only natural that Hoek went with him. Together they guided the Netherlands to the 2012 Euro Championships and of course the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
Hoek again teamed up with van Gaal again at Manchester United in the summer of 2014, replacing Chris Woods as the club’s chief goalkeeping coach.
Jos van Dijk. First-team fitness coach.
Jos van Dijk was born in Utrecht, Holland in 1957. (Not to be confused with Dutch player 1970’s Jan van Dijk.) He has worked very closely with Louis van Gaal since his days at AZ Alkmaar following him to work at Bayern Munich and the Netherlands national team.
Eventually he moved to Old Trafford replacing Tony Strudwick in 2014 as a training physiologist in the summer of 2014.
In his role at United, he uses his experience as a member of the technical staff to coordinate with the medical and sports science departments daily. His main responsibility is the monitoring and analysis of the players’ fitness based on training and statistical data. It’s then up to van Dijk to pass all the information onto van Gaal in order for the manager to make decisions around training and individuals.
Marcel Bout. Chief opposition scout.
Bout was born in Haarlem, Holland in 1962. Bout has worked at various clubs including Feyenoord, FC Volendam, AZ Alkmaar, SC Telstar, FC Bayern Munich and the Netherlands national football as a coach and advisor.
Bout is another close cohort of Van Gaal’s having worked alongside the Dutch coach during his spell with AZ Alkmaar, which yielded the ‘Eredivisie’ championship success in 2009.
He joined van Gaal at Bayern Munich the following year where he largely worked as a match analyst, scouting their future opponents.
When van Gaal left Bayern, Bout remained with the Bavarianas in the role of assistant manager under head coach Andries Jonker then Jupp Heynckes. He left Germany in 2012 to become an assistant coach, technical analyst and scout with the Netherlands national under-21 football team.
Bout joined Louis van Gaal at Manchester United in the summer of 2014, becoming the assistant coach specialising in opposition scouting.
Max Reckers. Performance analyst.
Reckers was born in Eindhoven, Holland and is the youngest of the staff. He is known by his manager and colleagues as the ‘whizzkid’ of the coaching team.
His role as United’s performance analyst involves collecting and analysing all the players data. Together with the latest technology Reckers is able to provide a minute level of detail on players’ performances during matches. That information is passed on to the coaches and to the players themselves, in a bid to ensure continuous improvement.
He worked at AZ Alkmaar, Bayern, Ajax and the Netherlands. He is thought of very highly by van Gaal, who often refers to Reckers as ‘like a son’.
There you have it the men most entrusted to Louis van Gaal’s inner circle, the men that have been with him through most of his managerial career and most certainly understand what makes him tick.
Let’s hope they can work their magic to return Manchester United to their rightful place as champions of England and Europe once again.