AMSTERDAM: Raymond Verheijen, former assistant to the late Wales manager Gary Speed, has laid into the standard of English football and described its senior football figures as dinosaurs.
Verheijen, out of the British game for a year subsequent to Speed’s suicide in late 2011, launched a bitter diatribe against the Premier League and also against the Football Association of Wales in an interview on the BBC World Service.
He said: “The reason why the Premier League is the biggest league is because they have the most money and attract the top foreign managers and players but if you take them away then what’s left is one of the worst leagues . . . where people kick the ball long or kick it in the stand and then everyone is applauding.”
Verheijen insisted that coaches and manager who knew better needed to speak out but he believed that “nobody has the courage.”
He added: “A lot of people stick their heads in the ground and this is the country where they make political correctness an art . . . they are not used to other people speaking their mind.”
The World Cup history of Dutch history suggests that too much mind-speaking does not make for good morale or achievement but Verheijen described Dutch culture as far superior to the British island mentality.
He said: “When you live on an island you live in relative isolation so the influences of other countries are less than, say, when you live in Holland so on the continent there is an easier exchange of experiences.”
Verheijen praised the facilities at the St George’s Park national training centre “but what they need first is a clear football philosophy.” He added: “They have this facility but they do not have the pe0ple, all they have is dinosaurs. It’s like putting dinosaurs ins a spaceship – it doesnt matter, it’s not going to work.”
The same prehistoric allusion suited Verheijen when he was asked about the legacy of Speed’s work with the Wales national team.
Verheijen saw this at first hand, indeed he made no secret of his interest in taking over as manager but was overlooked in favour of Chris Coleman under whom Wales have have lost five of their six matches.
Verheijen said: “The dinosaurs of the Welsh FA have, at least on the pitch, destroyed Gary’s legacy but it will be in the hearts of his players and staff members.
“His players will one day become managers and will start working on the inspiration Gary gave so, in 10 years, we will see Gary’s legacy at different levels in different countries.
“But in the short term, unfortunately, his legacy has been destroyed.”
# # # #