A fifth warning will not survive Hoefkens

A day at Bever Castle brought some advice. At the Bart Verhaeghe house, the board came to the conclusion after extensive consultation, including with Carl Hoefkens himself, that the coach retains confidence. They took into account the difficult World Cup break and the record of Hoefkens, who made Club Brugge flourish in the Champions League earlier this season like never before.

As usual, Blauw-zwart did not want to make a hasty decision. No matter how big the blow and the dissatisfaction among the supporters after Wednesday’s 1-4 defeat against STVV was. CEO Vincent Mannaert therefore sat around the table yesterday afternoon with the best of intentions.

After a constructive conversation, Hoefkens is on the training field as usual this morning. After three consecutive national titles and an ongoing success story in Europe, Club hopes to restore peace in this way. There were enough signals from both the staff and the group of players to continue with Hoefkens. Mignolet and co. rallied behind their coach, as the conversations showed. Hoefkens can carry on after what must have been a grueling day for him.

Quiet in Bruges

Back to Wednesday evening, around ten o’clock. While Hoefkens gave his press conference in the south stand, slightly shaken, the board entered the dressing room. The message was that Thursday’s training and all other activities in the Belfius Basecamp would be cancelled. The players therefore did not have to go to Westkapelle, where it remained eerily quiet all day yesterday, except for the recovering Dedryck Boyata and a few members of Hoefkens’ staff. Until Hoefkens returned with good news in the early evening.

Instead of the morning training, the board planned a series of talks yesterday, which should show whether Hoefkens still has a future as T1 of Club. Some strongholds were consulted, including Simon Mignolet and Hans Vanaken. While Hoefkens is no longer in the top drawer with the supporters, that has always been the case in the dressing room. Because of his no-nonsense mentality, but also because of his qualities as a coach.

Simon Mignolet, among others, was consulted.  Picture Photo News

Simon Mignolet, among others, was consulted.Picture Photo News

Blauw-zwart eventually continues with Hoefkens, who was not accountable for the first time yesterday. Although Club was not as deep as after that zeperd against STVV for a long time, the board already sounded the alarm three times earlier this season. Not always with the same number of words or in the same tone, but always with an unmistakable message. Hoefkens was under pressure early in the season before the match in Leuven, after which a good series of results followed. This was again the case for the top match against Antwerp, this time not with the desired result. And also at the resumption this week it was clear that victories against STVV and OH Leuven were a requirement.

Club Brugge is going through a bumpy season, with outliers in the Champions League and extremely volatile performances in competition. For Hoefkens it is all a bit ungrateful: the busy schedule before the break, the many absences during the same break and the decompression after reaching the eighth finals in the Champions League. And that in his debut season as head coach, at a club where the pressure is always immense.

Like Schreuder

For the time being, the last coaching dismissal at Club still dates from 2013, when Juan Carlos Garrido was fired as the third coach in a span of two seasons after Adrie Koster and Georges Leekens. Since then, the board has never had to discard a trainer. Even more, European sub-top players such as AS Monaco and Ajax came to Philippe Clement and Alfred Schreuder. The latter flirted with a dismissal a year ago, but then blue-black successfully saw through the poor results.

Hoefkens finally gets another chance to get his group on the right track. While the board still believes in the T1 and its staff, the reservations and angry looks also go out to the group of players, who have hardly done anything since qualifying for the second round in the Champions League at the beginning of October. Just like Hoefkens, they will also be under immense pressure against OH Leuven next Monday. Although a new debacle will ultimately only have real consequences for one person.

Finally, there was also good news on the margins of the crisis. Although he remained in the dressing room at halftime with a hamstring pain on Wednesday, Noa Lang is ready for the arrival of OHL. The Dutchman grabbed the buttock just before half time in front of the dug-out. The coaching staff decided to take Lang to the side as a precaution. A day later the pain turned out to be not too bad. Long was able to resume training, his employability against OHL is not compromised.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *