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Once proud Eindhoven on choppy seas

By unknown | Feb 09, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE HAGUE - PSV Eindhoven, winners of seven of the last nine Dutch championships, are in freefall, the glory days of Romario and Ronaldo a distant memory.

THE HAGUE - PSV Eindhoven, winners of seven of the last nine Dutch championships, are in freefall, the glory days of Romario and Ronaldo a distant memory.

From being Champions League semifinalists in 2005, the 2009 PSV are a different breed and are currently 15 points behind league leaders AZ Alkmaar.

Huub Stevens, desperate to bring back the style associated with previous coaches such as Sir Bobby Robson and Guus Hiddink, failed in his mission and quit last week.

"We've been working hard for six months, but it was unfortunately not enough to achieve the results we had hoped for," PSV general manager Jan Reker told the club website.

"There was no genuine 'click' between the squad and Huub Stevens and it is to his credit that he has admitted that. He tried everything possible to turn things round. This is the blackest day for me in more than forty years." PSV are the reigning champions but this season has been a nightmare as they were eliminated by AZ in the third round of the Dutch Cup and knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage.

Stevens's methods were questioned in public by a group of players and despite having enjoyed success in Germany with Hamburg and Schalke 04, he couldn't repeat his magic and has made way for Dwight Lodeweges.

PSV reached the semifinals of the Champions League in 2005 under Hiddink.

Incapable of competing financially with Europe's biggest clubs, they have been forced to cash in on their biggest assets.

Mark van Bommel, Alex, Heurelho Gomes, Johann Vogel, Jefferson Farfan, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Park Ji-Sung, Arouna Kone, Andre Ooijer and Arjen Robben have all departed, and their replacements have struggled to reach the same heights.

With the exception of the talented, but inconsistent, young forward Ibrahim Afellay, PSV can no longer call on the kind of player capable of making the difference at the highest level.

The Dutch press have noted that the club's directors have abandoned the policy of recruiting young players, which was the cornerstone of the club's success in the 1980s and 1990s under Hiddink, Robson and Dick Advocaat.

The club that can claim to have discovered stellar talents such as Romario, Ronaldo, Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy has lost its way.

The South American market, once a rich feeding ground for ambitious Dutch clubs, has become more costly and is gradually being abandoned.

PSV, who have a reported budget of 60 million euros, need to act quickly, particularly as their two most impressive performers this season, Belgian captain Timmy Simons and Ecuador's Edison Mendez , are both on the wrong side of 29. - Sapa-AFP


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