Writer: SFC Forever
Date:Sunday June 20 2010
For the first time Jan has opened up and spoken about his time at our club. Telling of the immense pressure that came with the job.
Poortvliet admits that he was extremeley naive when he arrived on the south coast about the football in the championship. He also admitted that several of the younger players were just not ready for the fight ahead.
Jan also felt that the instability behind the scenes at the club was a major problem for him as well. 'When they think they can do a better job it makes it very difficult to work.'
Jan added, 'For me it was a hard time and the moment it happened I was almost happy because you feel yourself, you cannot do any good anyore, and when it is like that it is difficult to work.'
For a man that has a huge record of success as a player and a coach it must have been a very painful experience.
He is again a man in demand with several Dutch clubs interested in him and he is classed as a Dutch footballing hero.
Last season he so nearly took FC Eindhoven up to the top flight. The minnows just failing to make it in the play-offs.
This summer he has decided to return to former club Telstar. This is widely accepted in Holland as a very good career move all round.
Jan Poortvliet came to England two years ago at was probably the worst possible time in the club's history. We were deep in trouble financially and the team was in tatters.
Jan feels that now is a good time to talk as time has passed under ther bridge.
He says that there was no money available. There was daily firefighting to keep the club out of administration. Board stories unfolding that got ever more remarkable, and a team full of young and inexperienced players.
Jan is still convinced that with two or three good players brought in we would have been strong enough to survive.
The main problem he had with a team of youngsters was their lack of confidence. Things that they tried in training never seemed to come of in a match or simply weren't tried.
One thing that Jan can say is that his team always played the beautiful game. His problem was simply a lack of a goal poacher. We didn't score enough of the many chances that our football provided.
He stayed with us for six months. In that short time he became known for what he is. A genuinely nice, friendly and decent man. For us fans he always seemed approachable.
Perhaps Jan's biggest regret is that he came to us with no previous experience of our british style of football.
He admits that his team always tried to play open football. He felt that the team just wasn't capable of toughing it out as he now knows teams sometimes need to do in our leagues.
He feels that given a team in a similar position now he could do a much better job. First though the club would need as a whole to be pulling in the same direction.
That is the one thing we were not doing he says as a club. We had too many units fighting each other. We were doomed from the start.
Southampton football club is still in Jan's thoughts and he confesses to loving the fans. How they stayed behind him even with the club in such dire trouble was perhaps the biggest bonus of his time with us.
Jan says that mostly he had good times when at our club. He ended up by saying, 'I look back at some marvellous times and the only thing I regret is that we couldn't get more results.'
'I am a coach, I love the fans there and in football you play for the fans. Players have to understand that fans are the most important people in the club.'
For me the time Jan poortvliet spent at our club was not one of our best. He always comes across as a mild mannered man which perhaps at the time was not what was needed at our club.
Jan will always be regarded as a nice man who tried to do a nasty man's job. He was not, in my book anyway, suited for the envirenment he found himself.
Now both Jan and the club haved moved on. We both appear to be on an upward mode now and hopefully it will long remain so.
Who knows we may yet meet again when we finally get back to the top flight and qualify for Europe.
Date:Sunday June 20 2010
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Stats: Millwall v Southampton (Tuesday August 26 2014)
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