Wim Jansen, the Dutch midfielder of the 1970s who won the European Champion Clubs’ Cup and UEFA Cup with Feyenoord and played for the Netherlands in two World Cup finals, has died at the age of 75.
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Jansen joined Feyenoord at the age of 10 and made his first-team debut eight years later. His career with the Rotterdam side spanned 15 years and 476 official games.
The undoubted highpoint was in 1970, when he helped Feyenoord win both the European Champion Clubs' Cup and the Intercontinental Cup – the first Dutch club to capture either honour.
“Wim Jansen is one of the greatest footballers ever to play for Feyenoord,” said the official club website. “He served as a player, youth-, assistant- and head coach, technical director and advisor, and was also integral to the most successful Feyenoord teams of all time.”
"I left Feyenoord a few times, but always came back," said Jansen in his biography. "You could call it a blood tie."
World Cup finals
Jansen also played 65 times for the Netherlands, which is still a record for a Feyenoord player. His international career included two World Cup final defeats: to West Germany (1-2) in 1974 and Argentina (1-3) four years later, both against the host nations.
“The born Rotterdammer was a master at making football seem simple,” the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) said in tribute. “He leaned on his good technique and masterful tactical insight. He could read the game quickly. He was an indispensable link in the successful Oranje generation of the 1970s.”
A man of football vision
Jansen's football vision was widely respected. Fellow Dutch legend Johan Cruyff called him: “One of only four men in the world worth listening to when they talk about football." Jansen, according to his biographer Yoeri van den Busken, "was like Cruyff's hard drive. What Cruyff had in his head, Jansen wrote down. They were like two souls with a single thought.”
After retiring as a player, Jansen had spells as head coach at SK Lokeren, Feyenoord, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Celtic, where he ended his coaching career by winning the Scottish league and League Cup "double" in his first season in 1997/98.
"Forever remembered as the man who delivered [Swedish striking star] Henrik Larsson to the club," Celtic wrote on their website, "it should also be remembered that Wim rebuilt the team that term...setting the wheels in motion for continued success at the advent of the following decade."