The history of Dutch managers in the Premier League as Arne Slot takes Liverpool job

The history of Dutch managers in the Premier League as Arne Slot takes Liverpool job

Isaac Darko
May 20, 2024 at 8:07 PM

Arne Slot has been officially announced as Liverpool's new manager, becoming the tenth Dutchman to lead a Premier League team.

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The 45-year-old faces the daunting task of succeeding Jurgen Klopp, a club legend who led Liverpool to their sixth Champions League title and their first league championship in 30 years.

Slot joins Anfield after a successful tenure at Feyenoord, where he guided the Rotterdam club to a Europa Conference League final, an Eredivisie title, and a KNVB Cup over the past three years.

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot is known for an attacking mindset
Feyenoord coach Arne Slot is known for an attacking mindset.Photo: Bart Stoutjesdijk.
Source: Getty Images

He’s not the first Dutch manager to arrive in England with an impressive track record, but many of his predecessors have struggled to make a significant impact.

As Slot steps into one of the most prestigious roles in world football, he'll be aiming to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen his compatriots.

Sports Brief examines the history of Dutch managers in the Premier League.

A short history of Dutch managers in the Premier League

Ruud Gullit

He made history as the first Dutch coach to manage a Premier League club when he was appointed player-manager at Chelsea in 1996. His initial success in England was marked by becoming the first black manager to win a major English trophy, leading the Blues to FA Cup victory in 1997, followed by a second-place league finish the next year.

However, his tenure ended controversially when club chairman Ken Bates dismissed the "arrogant" Gullit, who then moved to Newcastle United. His time at St James' Park was disastrous, marred by conflicts with fan favorites Alan Shearer and Rob Lee. His decision to drop Shearer for a home defeat to Sunderland led to his resignation.

Martin Jol

It would be another five years before another Dutchman returned to a Premier League dugout, with Spurs appointing Martin Jol in November 2004.

He led the club to the brink of Champions League qualification but narrowly missed out on a top-four finish on the final day of the season due to the infamous 'lasagne-gate' incident, where several first-team players fell ill before a crucial defeat to West Ham.

Rene Meulensteen

After a poor start to the 2007-08 season led to his dismissal, Martin Jol returned to England four years later to manage Fulham, guiding them to a top-half finish.

In 2013, he was sacked by new owner Shahid Khan and replaced by fellow Dutchman Rene Meulensteen.

However, Meulensteen's tenure was short-lived, lasting only 13 games as the Cottagers spiraled toward relegation.

Guus Hiddink

In southwest London, Guus Hiddink twice stepped in as interim manager of Chelsea to stabilize the club under Roman Abramovich. During his first spell in 2009, he won the FA Cup, secured a third-place league finish, and reached the Champions League semi-final, where they were controversially eliminated by Barcelona.

Six years later, Hiddink returned following the team's collapse under Jose Mourinho. With a 53 percent win rate, he holds the best record of any Dutch manager in the Premier League, losing just four of 34 matches across his two tenures.

Louis van Gaal

Initially linked with the Spurs job, Van Gaal was snapped up by the Red Devils after guiding the Netherlands to third place at the FIFA World Cup.

Though his slow, methodical style of play never fully won over the fans, Van Gaal was a captivating and quotable presence in English football. His tenure featured unforgettable remarks about "asses twitching" on the bench, players being "horny" to play, and hair-pulling being more suited to sado-masochism than football.

Despite securing a top-four finish in his first season and winning the FA Cup in his second, Van Gaal was swiftly replaced by Jose Mourinho. His unique character and colorful comments will be missed in the football world.

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman also made his entrance in 2014, taking charge of a Southampton team that had lost many key players over the summer, which led to one of the most memorable tweets from a Premier League manager.

Despite these challenges, the Barcelona legend got off to a flying start at St Mary's Stadium, propelling the team to second place early in his tenure. They eventually finished seventh in his first season and improved to sixth the following year.

Koeman then moved to Everton, guiding them to Europa League qualification. However, a poor start to his second season led to his dismissal.

Dick Advocaat

Dick Advocaat performed admirably in rescuing Sunderland from relegation in 2015, securing crucial points against rivals Newcastle, and defeating Everton and Chelsea in back-to-back matches, as well as drawing with Arsenal.

Although he was initially planning to retire, the Black Cats persuaded him to stay on at the Stadium of Light. However, a string of poor results led to his dismissal, with Advocaat winning just three of his 17 matches in charge.

Frank de Boer

Advocaat can take solace in not holding the title of the worst Dutch manager to grace the English top flight, as that dubious honor belongs to Frank de Boer. His tenure at Crystal Palace lasted a mere 77 days, marking the third-shortest reign in Premier League history.

De Boer stepped in to replace Sam Allardyce, aiming to shift the team's style towards possession-based football. However, the venture was doomed from the start, and he was sacked after just four games.

During his brief tenure, Palace suffered defeats in all four matches, a record unmatched by any other permanent manager in terms of brevity and lack of success. Despite this, they did manage to secure a victory in a League Cup tie against Ipswich Town.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)