Scott Musgrave


The Dutch giants have yet again won the domestic title but surely there is more to come from such a successful club.
This season has been an up and down one for PSV fans, firstly the departure of head coach Ronald Koeman to Valencia mid-season, the caretaking of Jan Wouters, the caretaking of Sef Vergoosen, the Euro-trip and ultimately the title on the final day of the season yet again.

Koeman’s departure, although he was not amazingly well liked by fans, came at a very inopportune moment where it was near impossible to find a decent replacement in time. Jan Wouters was appointed caretaker coach until the new year when Sef Vergoosen would finish his commitments with Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan.
The Wouters months were somewhat troubling for fans as very little was accomplished and the club’s European Champions League dream died. It wasn’t until Vergoosen’s appointment and the announcement that Huub Stevens’ would become the next coach that things seemed to fall into place. Although one cannot help but feel that this season was a complete mess.

With the to-ing and fro-ing of coaches it had been incredibly hard to keep stability within the club, particularly in regards to tactics. It was easy to see the transitions between coaches as results ebbed and flowed. I as a devoted fan found myself accepting the possibility of perhaps not taking home any silverware for the season as next year is another year, however Ajax and Feyenoord continued to drop points at lower clubs which eventually led to PSV gaining a surprising lead in the Eredivisie. However this was not as simple as it may have looked as PSV too dropped vital points starting from the point where a win would have guaranteed the title for the Eindhoven club.

Yet again it came down to the wire as PSV claimed the title on the final day as they came away with a win against Vitesse Arnhem (Ironically the same team they had destroyed in the previous season to claim the title on the final day).

Despite this success I find myself thinking about the Hiddink years, the most prosperous in our clubs history, where we consistently ran away with the title playing attractive football and scoring many tactical victories in Europe. Who could forget the recent 2005 Champions League campaign wherein Hiddink’s PSV were only minutes away from a final birth in Istanbul only to be denied by AC Milan in the dying minutes.

Much has happened since then, perhaps too much.
Hiddink’s seemingly permanent move into national team coaching from now on seems to have denied PSV the chance to continue its success under its favourite son. This now brings in the question of the new man. Huub Stevens.

Stevens has an impressive CV with coaching stints at Schalke, Hamburg SV and Roda JC to his name, even winning the UEFA Cup with Schalke in the 1997 season and two DFB-Pokal successes in 6 seasons with the Ruhr club.

Stevens is no stranger to a challenge as evidenced by his experience in the Bundesliga, but will he be able to deal with the expectations of an increasingly expectant PSV fan-base?

Qualifying for the UEFA Champions League is almost a must for the fans and a League win is always on the agenda, and with Stevens never having won a Championship in the first division, one hopes he can perform on that stage. His track record says he will be a success at PSV, a club he loves dearly, and the fans hope so too.
PSV’s European adventure this season had been of a differing flavour to recent years where the team had regularly progressed beyond the group stages of the Champions League, but that not happening this season meant a UEFA Cup spot was taken, wherein the Dutch champions played against Sweden’s Helsingborg, England’s Tottenham Hotspur (coached by the previous 2 years winner Juande Ramos) before meeting their demise at the hands of Italy’s Fiorentina at the quarter-final stage.

Though not a bad run for any team, the manner in which PSV threw away their away goal advantage against La Viola at home was simply unforgivable, something that would never have happened under a coach like Hiddink where he seemed to make Philips Stadion a fortress.
Hopes were high for PSV, but unfortunately they couldn’t face up to the likes of Fiorentina.

Now with the season over, attention turns to transfer speculation, Euro 2008 and the arrival of Huub Stevens.

A new season awaits and hopefully one of stability wherein PSV can continue their impressive record at European level.