LONDON: Five facts on Ronald Koeman who was sacked as Everton manager on Monday after just over a season in charge.
Barcelona dream on hold?
The ultimately disappointing outcome to his Everton tenure is a rare failure for him both as a player and as a manager and could prove costly certainly in the short term. Back in May he didn't thrill the Everton faithful when he said in an interview with Catalonian newspaper 'Sport' his two dreams were to manage his national side and Barca whom he played for and scored the goal that landed them the 1992 European Cup. "Everyone knows that I am from Barca, they know my love for a club where I grew up as a player and as a person," he told Sport.
Koeman is the only person to have played for and coached the so-called Dutch big three of Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. As a player he won the first of his two European Cup winners medals with PSV when they beat Benfica in the 1988 final. That was to be a stellar year for him as PSV did the treble, winning the title and the domestic Cup as well as the European Cup, and the Netherlands finally put an end to the 'chokers' tag by winning the European Championships in West Germany. He, though, did not emerge from the finals with his reputation totally intact as after the semi-final win over the hosts he imitated wiping his bottom with Olaf Thon's shirt.
Taylor's bete noire
Koeman effectively dealt the killer blow to the late Graham Taylor's tortuous reign as England manager. All of which, sadly for the personable Englishman, was captured on camera for a less than complimentary documentary. Koeman scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory that ensured England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, although he should probably have been taking an early shower for a professional foul on David Platt minutes earlier. However, the referee wielded only a yellow card. "I could not believe what I was seeing. It was a goalscoring opportunity and Koeman should have gone," said Taylor. Koeman for his part says he was surprised at the leniency shown to him. "I expected the red card. I turned round and was surprised to see the referee had not sent me off. I was lucky. I realised the result could have been very different had I been sent off."
Cartoon character or ape?
Has accrued two nicknames during his career: Tintin for the striking likeness he bears to the classic comic book character; and the less likely, but certainly inventive, one of Floquet de Neu -- the name of an albino ape in Barcelona Zoo. He was given the nickname by adoring Barcelona fans after he scored the only goal in the 1992 European Cup final against Sampdoria -- he had also scored for Barca the previous year in the Cup Winners Cup final defeat by Manchester United. The 1992 goal meant he became the first player to score in successive finals in different European continental competitions.
Although he poignantly admitted a few years ago that his best friend at Ajax when he first joined them as a player aged 20 was loneliness, his family has always been there for him. His late father Martin was capped once by the national team and sparked his interest in the game and his mother would provide him with peanut butter sandwiches when he was out kicking the ball around as a young boy. She later penned letters defending him to a Dutch football magazine if they ever criticised him. The married father of three and his elder brother Erwin were part of the 1988 Euro-winning side and the latter has been his assistant at Southampton. They are so close they can read each others thoughts, according to Erwin. "We do not have to speak to each other about football. We look at each other and we know what we want to do - or not," he told the Daily Mail in March.