Sunday, May 2, 2010

NICK, NAC, NEC; Steve McClaren's FC Twente Nick The Dutch Title With Win Over NAC As Ajax Beat NEC

Former England manager Steve McClaren has guided FC Twente to their first Eredivisie Dutch Title in their history with a last day win away to NAC Breda. Twente win the league by one point from Martin Jol's Ajax Amsterdam who also won on the final day at home to NEC .

Ajax had beaten NEC 4-1 to move ahead of the Tukkers by two points, but a 2-0 win over the ten men of NAC gave them the title on a history making day for the new Champions.

The goals that won the league for Twente came courtesy of Bryan Ruiz and Chelsea midfielder Miroslav Stoch who has enjoyed an incredible season with the Tukkers.

Not only is their first title in their 45 year history, but McClaren also becomes the first English manager to win a domestic trophy on foreign soil since Bobby Robson won the league with Porto in 1996.

It is a triumph made all the more remarkable by Ajax's incredible goal difference, +86 after 34 games, winning all 14 of their remaining fixtures, but in the end it was Twente's discipline and only losing twice all season that captured them the title.

| Home | Away
1 FC Twente 34 16 1 0 37 10 11 4 2 26 13 40 86
2 Ajax 34 16 1 0 64 4 11 3 3 42 16 86 85
3 PSV 34 13 4 0 40 13 10 5 2 32 16 43 78
4 Feyenoord 34 9 6 2 32 14 8 6 3 22 17 23 63
5 AZ Alkmaar 34 11 2 4 33 16 8 3 6 31 18 30 62

Dutch football has been dominated by the trio of Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, and Feyenoord for as long as anyone can remember and for one of the smaller clubs to break that monopoly, never mind to actually win the title is nothing short of miraculous.

FC Twente follow in the footsteps of AZ Alkmaar who won the league last year, but following the collapse of Dirk Scheringa's fortune and Louis van Gaal's exodus to Bayern Munich they completely collapsed and ended up finishing a distant fifth.

Twente contain the three best stories in Dutch football this season, in the title winth, the redemption ofSteve McLaren, and 19-year-old Luuk De Jong beating his Ajax playing brother, 21-year-old, Siem De Jong to the title.

Both youngsters have become important parts of their respective machines as the season wore on, and many pundits are now calling for Siem to be a starter for Holland when the World Cup starts.

McClaren brought Twente to finish second last year, his first at the club, and he has now gone one better.
"Today we made history. It's more than miracle," McClaren said on Twente's official website.

Speaking to Dutch broadcaster NOS, he added: "What a fantastic bunch of players.
"I said at the beginning of the season I don't know if we have a team, I couldn't tell.
"They grew and grew, they deserve it. They deserve it."

Speaking last week McClaren talked about his time as England coach and how it has changed him for the better.

"I don't think a day goes by some aspect of that experience doesn't come flashing into my mind. I felt I let down a nation,"

"But being a manager is what I do. Generally I've been quite successful in what I do, but you can't win every time. Sometimes failures come, and this was a big failure.

"I had to learn from it, be strong and move on."

He certainly has, the road to redemption for Steve McLaren is in full swing, bring on the Champions League.