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Dirk Nicolaas "Dick" Advocaat (born 27 September 1947 in The Haguemarker) is a Dutch football former player and current coach of the Belgian national football team.

During his career he has been coach of his native Dutch national football team, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. His nickname is "The Little General", a reference to his mentor Rinus Michels' sobriquet "The General".

Playing career

Advocaat was a defensive midfielder during his playing days. His career began as an 18-year-old with with Hague club ADO Den Haag, and in 1967 the San Francisco Golden Gate Gales franchise imported the ADO Den Haag team, which included Advocaat, to play for six weeks in the United Soccer Association as part of an effort to make the sport more popular in the United States. It was with ADO Den Haag that Advocaat won his only honour as a player, the Dutch Cup in 1968.

Other clubs he played for include: VVV-Venlo, Roda JC, Sparta Rotterdam, and FC Utrecht in the Netherlands, K. Berchem Sport in Belgium and Chicago Sting in the United States.

Coaching career

Early coaching in the Netherlands

As well as playing football Advocaat was a PE teacher and became involved in coaching in 1981 (aged 32) when his older brother, Jaap, was offered a job running amateur Saturday football side Door Samenwerking Verkregen Pijnacker (DSVP). Jaap did not take the role but recommended Dick for the job. Advocaat coached this side during the final four years of his playing career with Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht.

In 1984, Advocaat was unexpectedly appointed as assistant to Dutch national team coach Rinus Michels. Advocaat became a protégé of Michels, who's sobriquet was "The General". In reference to this, Advocaat acquired the nickname "The Little General". In 1987, Advocaat became manager of his first professional club, HFC Haarlem. He stayed at Haarlem for two years before moving to Schiedamse Voetbal Vereniging (SVV) as manager. At SVV, alongside technical director Wim Jansen, Advocaat led the team to become Eerste Divisie champions in the 1989–90 season winning promotion to the Eredivisie. In 1991, SVV merged with neighbouring club Dordrecht '90, who failed to win promotion to the 1990–91 play-offs. SVV had finished 16th the previous season, but remained in the Eredivisie after winning their relegation play-off. The two teams competed as SVV/Dordrecht '90 during the 1991–92 season and became FC Dordrecht the following season, after Advocaat had left. Despite success at both clubs, Advocaat was criticised in his initial coaching years for playing defensive football.

National team

In 1990, Advocaat once more became an assistant to Michels, who was having his fourth spell as coach of the Dutch national team and looking to qualify for Euro 1992. During UEFA Euro 1992, it became apparent it would be Michels last job and following the tournament Advocaat took over as national coach. Advocaat lost his first two matches in charge, a friendly against Italy and a World Cup qualifier against Norway. During the qualifying campaign Advocaat and Ruud Gullit fell out; Gullit was unhappy with Advocaat's tactics in the World Cup qualifier against England and was eventually substituted. Following this Gullit retired from international football, but was widely expected to return with a change of administration in the summer. Advocaat qualified for the World Cup, following a crucial win against qualification rivals England. Despite the result, Advocaat was scheduled to lose his job to Johan Cruyff for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. However, talks between Cruyff and the KNVB broke down at the last minute and Advocaat retained his position, causing Gullit to remain in retirement. At the World Cup, Advocaat led the Dutch to the quater-finals where they lost 3–2 to eventual winners Brazil. in the quarter-finals. Following the World Cup, Advocaat returned to manage at club level in 1995.


Advocaat returned to coaching at club level with PSV Eindhoven in 1995, taking over from interim manager Kees Rijvers; PSV finished third that season. Coming to the club, Advocaat coached existing players Ronaldo and Luc Nilis, and in 1995–96, Advocaat's first full season with the club, he led PSV to second place in the Eredivisie. They also won that years KNVB Cup which qualified them for the following years UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Over the summer Advocaat signed Jaap Stam, and that year PSV won the Eredivisie and qualified for the UEFA Champions League the following year. In June 1998, Advocaat left the club.


In 1998 Advocaat accepted the invitation from Rangers chairman David Murray to become the Scottish Premier League team's new manager.

He successfully reclaimed the Scottish Premier League crown, with his first season in charge culminating with a spectacular treble achievement (two cup victories, as well as the league). Under his tutelage, Rangers played regular bursts of brilliant one-touch football - with recruitments from the Netherlands such as Arthur Numan and Ronald de Boer to the fore. A season later he again won the Scottish League championship and guided Rangers into the Champions League having beaten the UEFA Cup winners Parma in the 3rd round qualifier. However, the arrival of Martin O'Neill at Celtic put pressure on Advocaat as Celtic won a domestic treble in season 2000-01. Marcus Gayle, Paul Ritchie, and Tore Andre Flo transferred to Ibrox - the latter for a record £12 million - and players such as Jörg Albertz moved to different clubs. Celtic looked like they might retain the league championship half way through the next season and as a result Advocaat was moved upstairs from the manager's position. Alex McLeish was appointed as his successor with Advocaat moving to the position of General Manager. After ensuring that Rangers built the first-rate, multi-million pound training facility Murray Parkmarker, Dick Advocaat left Rangers for Netherlands national team as McLeish went on to have a successful run as Rangers' manager.

Return to Netherlands

He rejoined the national team set-up following Louis van Gaal's failure to take the national team to the 2002 World Cup in January 2002 and presided over the Netherlands qualification for Euro 2004 via the playoffs.Oranje had finished second in their group behind the Czech Republic and therefore went into a playoff in order to qualify for Euro 2004. They managed to achieve this after a 6-1 aggregate win over Scotland but not before surviving a harrowing encounter: losing 1-0 in the first leg in Scotland. Advocaat was criticised by the Dutch media, so much so that several of the team's players refused to speak to the media even after the comfortable and inspired 6-0 victory in the return leg at the Amsterdam ArenAmarker.

Despite taking Netherlands to the semi-final stage of UEFA Euro 2004, the Dutch media were critical of Advocaat. Netherlands were beaten 2-1 by Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2004 after a dismal performance. The team also made several criticisms of his tactics, especially those in the team's shock loss to the Czech Republic in the second game of the first round of the tournament. In that game, after the Netherlands lost their two goal lead against the Czechs, Advocaat made a tactical change that shocked even his own players as he brought on the aging Paul Bosvelt in the midfield position replacing crowd favorite Arjen Robben who had been contributing immensely throughout the match. The Czechs seized the opportunity to capitalize on it and scored the decisive goal. Shortly after the tournament, with mounting pressure and even death threats, Advocaat quit his job as head coach on 6 July 2004. He then went briefly back into club management with German club Borussia Mönchengladbach, however he resigned on 18 April 2005 after less than six months at the helm.

Korea Republic

In July 2005, Advocaat signed a one-year contract to become coach of United Arab Emirates, but he terminated this contract in September to become manager of South Korea's national team from 1 October 2005 until the end of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Expectations were high after the Koreans' achievements on home soil in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The 2006 edition saw Korea get its first win on away soil in the FIFA World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Togo. They also scored a late equalizer to draw 1-1 against veterans France, and the results of the two games put them in a position to qualify from Group G. However, Korea failed to make it into the round of 16 after a 2-0 loss against Switzerland, while France had defeated Togo 2-0 to advance; a disappointing end to what had been a promising start for the Koreans.

Zenit St. Petersburg

Since July 2006, Advocaat has been working with Zenit Saint Petersburg in Saint Petersburgmarker, Russiamarker, assisted by his compatriot Cor Pot. In 2006, he led his team to 4th place in the Russian Premier league, earning a place in the 07–08 UEFA Cup. The next year, his team succeeded in winning the Russian Premier League for the first time in the team's history playing in the Russian Premier League, becoming the first foreign coach to win the Russian championship and enabling him to land a $4 million-a-year extension from the team, despite the fact he had already agreed on a deal to manage the Australian National Team. With Advocaat, Zenit reached the final of the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history after beating Bayern Munich (1:1 in Munich and 4:0 in St. Petersburg) in the semifinals.

On 14 May 2008, at the City of Manchester Stadiummarker, Advocaat's Zenit defeated his former side Rangers 2-0 to claim the 2008 UEFA Cup. Later that same year, Zenit won the 2008 UEFA Super Cup, winning 2–1 against the 2008 Champions League winners Manchester United. In May 2009, Advocaat agreed to become manager of the Belgium national football team when his contract with Zenit expired on 1 January 2010. However, on 10 August 2009 after run of poor results he was sacked by his club Zenit St. Petersburg . At Advocaat's departure to the Netherlands from St Petersburg's airport on 13 August 2009 local fans organized a warm and touching ceremony to praise Dick Advocaat for his contribution to Zenit's success during his tenure as Zenit manager.


Before his dismissal from Zenit, Advocaat had already agreed a two-year contract as manager of the Belgium national football team which would start in 2010, but after Franky Vercauteren stepped down as Belgium coach, Advocaat's contract was brought forward and commenced on 1 October 2009.The team won their first match against Turkeymarker with 2-0. Also, Belgium wins over Hungary 3-0. This meant a new beginning in Belgian football.

Managerial statistics

Performance by club

Team From To Record
P W L D Win %
Rangers 1 July 1998 12 December 2001

Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 July 2004 18 April 2005

United Arab Emirates 17 July 2005 13 September 2005

South Korea 1 October 2005 9 July 2006

Zenit St Petersburg June 2006 9 August 2009

Belgium 1 October 2009 Present

Managerial honours




Zenit Saint Petersburg

  • The 2008 UEFA Cup success earned Advocaat the Honorary Citizen of St Petersburg award making him the city's first foreign honorary citizen since 1866

See also


External links

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