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Jaap Stam: I know what it takes…

‘I know what it takes to get to where you want to end,’ says Jaap Stam, speaking of how his experience playing at the very top level, can help in his latest venture into management.

Currently back where it all began in Kampen at PEC Zwolle, Stam has agreed to take over at Feyenoord next season, with the aim being to take Rotterdam’s biggest club back to where it belongs…

Words by Gabriela Petralia, photos by Desiré van den Berg

For the full interview with Jaap Stam, order the latest issue of Life After Football.

The Rock of Kampen is back in Kampen again. What does it feel like to live with the family again after all these years?

Jaap Stam: “That gives a special feeling. We only came back this year because I was a trainer in England for the previous two years. Before that, I was still playing and I also lived in the Netherlands in between, but I was often abroad. The family is therefore used to being dependent on themselves.”

Does it take getting used to working in Dutch football again?

“That difference is clearly noticeable. Just how people look at football, how they think, is different. Because of this it sometimes feels like I have to adjust, but at the same time, I really like it. Here you often have to deal with relatively young players, while abroad you generally work with players who are older. That requires a different approach. ”


Does that have to do with a difference in mentality?

‘I think so. In England, players see football more as their work, while I think footballers in the Netherlands play more often with the intention: just play nice balls and have fun. Of course, this does not apply to everyone. But when I look at countries like England and Italy, I think footballers want to get more out of it, be more results-oriented and want to make sure trainers can’t get around them.”

At Manchester United you played under Alex Ferguson. Does he have an influence on your coaching style?

“When I played there, I didn’t think about it. But now that I am a trainer myself, I have looked back on all my coaches to see what their qualities were. Ferguson is a man with a lot of experience. He himself was not often in the field. He was more the manager who controlled everything. He found players who did not yet have a big name, like me at the time, and integrated them into a team to achieve results. I find that inspiring. ”

Which period did you remember most from your time abroad?

“Actually my entire period. I remembered my three years at Manchester United because I won many trophies there. After that, I played in Italy for five years, three of them at Lazio and two at AC Milan. We were a little less successful there when it came to winning prizes, but I think I played better there than in England. I have such a good feeling when I think back. Life in Italy was great and so was the way football was played at those clubs.”

To read the rest of our interview with Jaap Stam, order our latest issue here.