Vitesse coach Cocu happy that it’s about soccer again: ‘Does something to players’

Vitesse coach Cocu happy that it’s about soccer again: ‘Does something to players’

NOS Football

At Vitesse, it’s finally about (relegation) soccer again: ‘Never doubted’

Of course it was a relief for Vitesse coach Phillip Cocu. “I always had the feeling that it would work out. But it did take a little longer than expected.”

Thursday brought an end to the endless tug-of-war between his club and stadium owner Michael van de Kuit over the lease of Gelredome. The Arnhemmers will rent the stadium at least until 2030.

This secures the professional license, but at a high price. How high exactly has not been disclosed, but according to intended new owner and lender Coley Parry a few weeks ago, Vitesse is not going to pay much less than the disputed two million euros.

But in the meantime, general manager Pascal van Wijk and rvc member Henk Parren had to step down. Moreover, the takeover by Parry’s American Common Group has still not been approved by the KNVB.

Intended new owner Coley Parry and the departed Pascal van Wijk, September last year

A takeover that may have become even more complex after documents held by British newspaper The Guardian appear to provide evidence of direct financial involvement by then Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich with Vitesse since 2010.

Involvement of players very large

“The things that played out did get to the players,” Cocu said, speaking to Omroep Gelderland.

“Sometimes there is some doubt about the commitment of players to the club. At moments like that, you see that it is actually very big, because it matters to them. That we were able to tick off a file gives a good feeling. We try to detach ourselves from that sort of thing. Sometimes that works, sometimes a little less so.”

And then Vitesse is also embroiled in the relegation battle on the pitch. “We sent the boys home at the weekend to take a break from all the Vitesse vicissitudes,” Cocu says. “Everyone came back with fresh energy. And then you go into the last eight games.”

In those eight matches, Vitesse will meet seven clubs from the right-hand row of the premier league. “Our last game is Feyenoord away. The rest are against teams close to us. Those are exciting weeks, in which a bit of good news could help.”

Much will depend on Norwegian Sondre Tronstad, midfield leader for the Arnheimers. When asked about the influence of all the negative news, he replied delicately, “To be honest, I haven’t followed it at all. This is not my business, I have no influence on it. I have to perform on the field.”

That, then, must happen Saturday night in Waalwijk. RKC awaits then.

Kayleigh Williams