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2013: FC Twente’s horror year

Football clubs are known for it’s dips and peaks, and for FC Twente it was nothing different. The club from Enschede founded in 1965 was a steady mid-team in the Eredivisie, with an occasional outlier. However, at the end of 2003, the club faced bankruptcy due to tax claim of € 3,1 million.

The club had deep financial complications as debts soared through the roof. As a response: Joop Munsterman was appointed as director and set up a policy named: “ FC Twente in de steigers,” roughly translated it means: FC Twente on the rise.  The club re mediated, and salaries of players were cut and money had to be wisely spent, mostly free transfer players were signed, including nowadays club legend Blaise N’kufo.

In 2006 Fred Rutten was appointed as the new FC Twente coach, and he laid the foundation for FC Twente’s rise in both domestic and European grounds. Munsterman’s ambition, leadership and vigor ensured that FC Twente blossomed; consequently successes were achieved in the upcoming years.  Fred Rutten led the club to the second place in the Eredivisie and qualification of Champion League was a fact in 2008/09.

Fred Rutten’s outstanding performances did not go unnoticed by big European clubs. As a consequence, the coach left FC Twente for a lucrative deal at Schalke 04.  During the season 2009/10 it was Englishman Steve McClaren that took over Rutten’s job. McClaren steered the club towards an unseen and major accomplishment, as FC Twente were crowned league champions for the first time in their history.

Twente would lose their successful coach, again to a German team: Wolfsburg.  After less fruitful periods under Adriaanse and Preud’homme, McClaren was re-assigned. The current season, and the second period of McClaren started off with good prospective. Although with unconvincing play, FC Twente held on to the top of the league for quite some time. However after the winter break, the team would slip into an inevitable hole, without any wins yet in 2013.

Why inevitable? It is not the comeback of McClaren, the main cause is the transfer policy in the recent years, in both the attacking and midfield section of the squad, fitting players were not signed. Let us dissect the teams of FC Twente in 2012/13 and 2009/10.

The defensive line of FC Twente is stable as ever, the backs have been replaced, but adequate players were signed to fill in the voids. That also goes for the keeper and the right centre-back position. FC Twente’s main problem lies on the midfield, when comparing the two midfields of 2009 and 2013 with each other; it is one obvious matter that arises. In 2009 the midfield has a surplus of creativity in the likes of: Theo Janssen and Kenneth Perez; these players were capable of sending out an incisive pass. Additionally, they were leaders on the pitch.  In comparison to the midfield of 2013, the midfield lacks creativity. Fer and Janssen are excellent players, however not the type that FC Twente is in dire need of.


Experiments of positioning Tadic on the number 10 position for creativity have proven to be unsuccessful, as the Serbian international is clearly a winger. New signing Felipe Gutierrez was touted to fill in the void left behind by Perez and Janssen, but also failed due to his young age and tender body. Although Gutierrez has talent, he lacks experience and cunningness to carry a team.


Furthermore, the lack of guaranties of goals has broken up FC Twente quite a few times.  When possessing a player such as N’kufo or Luuk de Jong, the squad possessed a feeling of resilience, regardless of pressure or time. Now with young striker Castaignos lined-up the feeling has disappeared because of the fact the new signing has failed to impress. Castaignos scored a mere 8 goals in 26 league appearances.


FC Twente, currently sixth in the league have to accept that the season is beyond salvation.  The resignation of McClaren will not change anything to that fact. The championship is long gone with a point deficit of 10(!) points, FC Twente should wary of losing sight of an European ticket aswell.  The next FC Twente coach will have a tough job on his hands. The squad is far from balanced; forming, molding and reinvesting cost time.  Hopefully Munsterman has a magic trick up his sleeve.

Siew Joe Lee is a big fan of the Dutch Eredivisie and founder of Dutch Football League website: he can be found on twitter @DutchFtLeague

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