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PersonalFullname: Wilhelmus Marinus Anthonius Jansen
aka: Wim Jansen
Born: 28 October 1946
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Manager: 3 July 1997- 11 May 1998
- Wim Jansen stopped 10 in a row and brought the league trophy to Celtic Park in hist first season.
- He won the Coca Cola Cup (the League Cup), our first league cup triumph in 15 years!
- He brought Henrik Larsson to Celtic!
- Most of his signings were very good: Craig Burley, Stephane Mahe, Marc Rieper, Paul Lambert, Jonathan Gould.
- Celtic's 2-0 win over Rangers in the Neer'day game was catalyst to turn the league around for Celtic.
- Celtic were awesome against Liverpool over the 2 legs in the UEFA Cup and were unfortunate to go out on away goals.
- Celtic played some attractive football under Jansen.
- Played in the Feyenoord team that beat Celtic in the European Cup in 1970.
- Wim was Celtic's first non-Scottish/Irish/British manager. Notably, he was also the first man to manage Celtic to never have been a Celtic player (okay Liam Brady never exactly played for Celtic, but technically on paper when he arrived at Celtic he was listed as a player as well as a manager).
Manager 1997 - 1998
Wim Jansen (born October 28, 1946, Rotterdam) is a former Dutch football player (a legend) and manager.
On July 3rd 1997, Wim Jansen was Celtic's first manager from the continent, although he did not enjoy that title, but rather that of Head Coach, in a new structure which saw Jock Brown being given the newly created post of General Manager of the Football Department [a conduit between chairman Fergus McCann and the team manager after the difficult board/team manager relationship previously during Tommy Burn's reign]. A Dutchman, Jansen had enjoyed an illustrious career as a player (principally with Feyenoord, with whom he won a European Cup winner's medal in 1970 against Celtic in the final). He was a member of the two Dutch World Cup sides of 1974 and 1978 and had played in two World Cup finals, before going on to manage Feyenoord with whom he won the Dutch league championship.
Later he coached in Saudi Arabia and Japan. As a measure of the lack of subtlety, ignorance and crassness of the Scottish press, the Daily Record in poor taste described Jansen's record at Sanfreece Hiroshima as "The worst thing to hit Hiroshima since the Atom Bomb"! Incredibly pathetic and highly offensive (to one and all), and an early indication for Wim Jansen of the kind of local media press that he was expected to attract in his time at Celtic.
He was appointed to the job with Celtic in early July 1997, two months after the departure of Tommy Burns. The announcement was greeted with widespread surprise and some uncertainty about his credentials. The club had managed his appointment very well, with many believing that it was to be Artur Jorge. In years gone by, the club was a sieve for news leaks. The events leading to his appointment are summarised in the following [link].
It appears that Wim had some misgivings about coming to the club and took the precaution of instating a termination clause in his contract which would allow him to leave after one year and/or allow the club to terminate the contract after one year also. This was pivotal, and likely set the tone between the himself and the rest of the club management for his tenure at the club. Wim Jansen was paired up with Jock Brown, where Wim was to be responsible for coaching whilst Jock was to be responsible for transfers and the business management side. On paper seems like a good idea but in practise it's not always practical.
To get us going, Wim was given a fair budget to be able to buy players, and in retrospect he generally bought prudently. Celtic lost the star triumvirate of Di Canio, Van Hooijdonk & Cadette in the past season, so replacing them was a priority to shore us up. Signings like Craig Burley, Darren Jackon and Mark Rieper were uninspiring but successful buys, however the gem was the transfer of Henrik Larsson for just £650k, the greatest deal in football history. On the other hand, Harald Bratbaakk was expected to be the star, and at £2.3m he was an expensive buy, but as it panned out he just couldn't get going and the system didn't work out for him.
The season started poorly (to put it mildly). We lost our first two league games of the season and got beaten by Tirol Innsbruck (exactly, who?) in the first leg game in the UEFA Cup. All appeared set for the Huns to win the league and admittedly they had some quality players in their squad, like Brian Laudrup, so it was not going to be an easy time for Celtic.
We recovered and probably the turning point for Wim Jansen was our recovery in the UEFA Cup. Having finally overcome Tirol Innsbruck over two games (phew!), we were drawn against Liverpool. Two draws against Liverpool saw us go out on away goals, disappointing in that we lost against a wonder goal by McManaman, but the heart was back in the squad after a couple of fine performances against good strong opposition.
Winning the league cup (our first for 15 years) was a high mark, defeating Dundee Utd in the final, and if nothing else this was a booster. For Wim, it meant a chance to get everyone on-side. The early day defeats seemed like an aeon ago, and it was onward and upwards from now on.
It was the league that mattered and not Europe or the league cup at this point, and it was all about overcoming the Huns in their 10-in-a-row aim. After losing the first game of the season against Rangers we recovered and drew the next game. Then joy of joys we beat them in the traditional New Year Derby game 2-0! At this point, having been four points behind the Huns, we had dragged ourselves back into the running for the league title and were now only just one point behind the Huns in the chase for the top spot. Was this the game that pushed us all the way to the title? There were too many twists and turns to say yes at this point but Rangers were tripping up and it was up to us to take advantage.
Problematically, off-field rammies between the joint managers (Wim & Jock) were not helping matters. Fergus McCann (the Club Chairman) was getting it in the neck from the press as usual, and the pressure was beginning to tell. Transfer wrangles (notably Paul Lambert's), coaching issues and the new stadium headaches meant that not everyone was as focussed on the team as they should have been. The tabloids in particular took great glee from all this, many of whom had it in for Jock Brown from the beginning (jealousy?). The irony is that one of the first fixes that Jansen implemented on his arrival at Celtic was to end any lingering tensions between the players and foster a better atmosphere. All talk of match flashpoints were also delayed till following Monday after matches to allow for reflection time. He was said by Tom Boyd (team captain) to actually have a very personal way of dealing with players and never raised his voice or swore.
Much had begun to go our way in the second half of the season, and into the final run-in, the final game against Rangers in the season was seen as a must-win for Wim. However, the game was at Ibrox and continuing our bad run there over recent years we lost two-nil. This allowed the Huns back in and they went top of the league on goal difference. Wim to his credit pulled the players together again for the final set games, a very nervous set of affairs. Frustratingly, we dropped points in draws against Hibs & Dunfermline, victory in the latter would have sealed the league.
Jansen had to take criticism for this situation. He was an over cautious manager, and we should and could have wrapped up the title quite a bit earlier, but a run of over cautious/anxious performances saw to it that the League would go to the last day. Harsh, but there was a lot of truth in this point. His style could be in contrast to the more attacking style practised by his Dutch compatriots at many other clubs, although there were many entertaining performances along the way. However, the priority was to win the league by almost any means, and that was the case for both Celtic and Rangers. The significance of the league title was too great for anything else to get in the way, leading to a single mindedness that overshadowed all else.
So it all went down to the last game against St Johnstone.
The final game was as much a test for Wim as much as anybody. It ended up not to be a classic match to watch but who cares as we beat St Johnstone 2-0 to GIRU the Huns and seal the league title to create "1-in-a-row". Our first league title since 1987-88. Scenes in the ground were emotionally high, and the final whistle signalled one of the greatest celebrations in our history (and what a relief it was too). Wim was the architect of this league victory and deserves much of the credit as any manager should despite what any critic may say. Various players played their best under him, notably Craig Burley, and bringing Larsson into the squad had already paid dividends in his first season (with far greater to come).
However, the party was short-lived for Wim and Celtic.
Wim Jansen announced his resignation on 11 May 1998, less than 48 hours after the title was secured, citing irreconcilable differences with both Jock Brown and chairman Fergus McCann.
Wim was hailed as a bit of a martyr by sections of the support after his resignation. Some said he was a victim of the board and administration mentality which hindered him in his coaching and other dealings. Not denying that Wim had an affable persona and that was a strength which got the team together to win the league.
However, it's all too one-sided, and regardless of any of Jock Brown's flaws (and there were many), Wim Jansen never helped his own situation. The manner of his departure was not one that could give confidence to anyone about wanting to try to convince him to reconsider, let alone the club management. He remained tight-lipped on the whole issue of his resignation and it is only in retrospect that it was obvious that he was to definitely leave. The club was left in limbo until he told them, and he left this till quite too late.
Fergus McCann (chairman) claimed that he repeatedly asked Wim to assist in putting together a list of names in order for the club to target for players transfers in and out for next season, basically to plan ahead. His inability to do this added to the friction between himself and the chairman. On Wim's departure, Fergus stated that even if he hadn't resigned he'd have been sacked anyhow! Tales abounded of Wim's surprising methods also, including ones that said he never bothered with free-kicks & corner practise at training, believing that it was pointless as modern coaching had made the set-ups ineffective! Not many youngsters came through and there was little involvement with the junior teams by Wim (a surprising fact taking in the traditional emphasis on youth development by Dutch coaches).
Since leaving, rather then just move on quietly, he became an easy critic in following seasons for the papers to get a quote from, which didn't help anyone.
Regardless, he was the man who brought Henrik Larsson to the club, and for that (as well as the league victory) we will be forever grateful. Just sad the way that it all ended and it would have been nicer to have had the ability to just concentrate on what was a glorious league title victory. For too many years, Celtic fans had little to celebrate, and this all just cut things too short and put an unwanted dampener on everything.
Wim was likely not the most suitable manager for the long-term and the structure of the two managers wasn't working. However, together they'd achieved what was set out to be done for the season, and for that we can say that we all did rather very well.
Management Career at CelticLEAGUE
|LEAGUE CUP||SCOTTISH CUP|
Honours with CelticScottish League
- Season 1997-1998 Review
- Miscellaneous Articles
- Club Statement on Departure (Celtic View)
- How Wim held Celtic to Ransom by Jock Brown 1999
Quotes"Wim Jansen is one of only four men in the world worth listening to when they talk about football."
Dutch legend Johan Cruyff
"We must be the only team in the world that wins the double and then loses the manager almost the next day."
Paul Lambert on the day of Wim Jansen's resignation
"I had a problem early on at the Darren Jackson signing. He told the press that I saw videos of Jackson, but I never saw them."
Wim Jansen on Jock Brown 1998
"They keep bringing up the fact that I didn't go to watch Harald Brattbakk. Well, I didn't see Jonathan Gould, Craig Burley, Marc Rieper or Stephane Mahe and there was no problem for me."
Wim Jansen - May 1998
"I couldn't understand his behaviour over Brattbakk. He told us when he came here that he didn't trust videos. But the first excuse for not going to see him (Brattbakk) was that he was going to see Manchester United against Feyenoord, which I believe was a social event. I said I could fix him up to go to Trondheim for the next Champions League fixture in which Brattbakk would be involved. He said he didn't want to miss training. We could have hired him a private jet to take him over at three o'clock and straight back so that no training would be missed but he would not go."
Jock Brown on Wim Jansen - May 1998
"He wanted to pick his World XI, pick up a couple of trophies, enhance his reputation and go."
Jock Brown on Wim Jansen, 1998
"The club didn't even make a phone call to ask (if Borussia Dortmund's Karlheinz Reidle was available). Two weeks later he signed for Liverpool."
Wim Hansen on being thwarted regarding signings - May 1998
I found out his age. I ascertained what salary he would require. I found out what transfer fee would be involved. I found out all the figures required. I then said to Wim, "Let's go and look at this guy and see what you think, see if he's still got it." Wim wasn't interested in anything like that, he just wanted Riedle signed.
Jock Brown's response - May 1998
"There is no-one in football I have ever found it more difficult to work with. "
Wim Jansen on Jock Brown - May 1998
"He has no right whatsoever to form a view of me except from the direct dealings we have had. He never ever wanted to find out anything about me and has no right to have an opinion on what I am like and what I do. "
Jock Brown's response - May 1998
"Sometimes I had to fight more against my own people than against my opponents. "
Wim Jansen - June 1998
"If they are such big men then why didn't they sack me before now?"
Wim Jansen unhelpfully responds to the Celtic board after they accused him of walking out on the club. (1998, Source: Independent Newspaper)
"He was quite a nice guy actually for whom it just didn't work out."
Fergus McCann on Wim Jansen - June 1998
“You might be good but you still have to prove it again, and I don’t think a lot of people knew me and knew who I was. Wim knew who I was and what he could get out of me, and I am just happy that he brought me here.”
Henrik Larsson on Wim Jansen
"He never, ever swore. Come to think of it, I don't think he ever raised his voice."
Tom Boyd on ex-Celtic boss Wim Jansen (2008)
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