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Dutch coaches honour Adriaanse

Co Adriaanse has been voted Dutch coach of the season after guiding AZ Alkmaar into the UEFA Cup.

Co Adriaanse's achievement in guiding AZ Alkmaar into the UEFA Cup for the first time in 22 years has been recognised by his peers, who today named him the best coach in the Netherlands for the 2003/04 season.

Financial difficulties
Alkmaar suffered numerous financial difficulties last summer and only secured a playing licence after chairman Dirk Scheringa put together a €4m rescue package. However, Adriaanse put the off-field troubles behind him to steer the club to fifth place in the Eredivisie. The 56-year-old was short listed for the Rinus Michels award along with eleven other Dutch coaches, including Ronald Koeman who led AFC Ajax to the championship.

'Successful tactics'
However, what separated Adriaanse from the other ten hopefuls was the way he got his team playing "well organised and attacking football". A statement from the national coaching committee, which includes Michels - the founder of 'total football' in the 1970s - and Louis van Gaal, continued: "After years of failed attempts Co Adriaanse was the man to lead AZ into Europe, with successful tactics playing a significant part."

Rijvers honoured
Adriaanse, who played for FC Utrecht and previously coached ADO Den Haag, Willem II and Ajax, was not the only person honoured at an annual gathering of coaches in Tilburg. Kees Rijvers, 77, received a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his spells in charge of FC Twente, PSV Eindhoven and the Netherlands, while Ajax were honoured for having the best youth academy.