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Is Guus Hiddink the safe pair of hands to replace Martinez at Everton?

The Dutchman has been there and done it in management, so does than make him the ideal man to take over at Goodison Park?

Alex Morton/Getty Images

Roberto Martinez’s position at Everton is looking increasingly untenable after last week's pair of losses. The Merseyside derby humiliation followed by the FA Cup semi final exit look to have sealed the sack for Martinez, as far as the fans are concerned.

So if the phenomenal Spaniard is on his way out, who should replace him?

Marcelo BielsaEddie HoweJose MourinhoManuel Pellegrini and even David Moyes have been assessed in our prospective manager series. But what about the experienced and wily Guus Hiddink?


Experience is something the 69-year-old Hiddink has in spades, with more than 30 years coaching experience.

His career began 1983 with the assistant’s job at PSV before becoming manager in 1987. He would go on to win three successive Eredivisie titles, three successive Dutch Cups and the European Cup during his three years in charge, including the treble in 1988, establishing PSV as one of the giants of Dutch football alongside Ajax and Feyenoord.

A short spell at Fenerbahce would follow before a four-year spell at Valencia that, although did not produce honours, did earn him widespread praise for introducing a brand of attacking football only previously associated with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In 1995 he took his first step into international management with the Netherlands. He guided his countrymen to the quarter-finals at Euro 96 and semi-finals at France 1998, often having to deal with the notorious internal politics that has fractured Dutch dressing rooms across the years.

Hiddink would then endure two difficult years in Spain, where he was sacked by both Real Madrid and Real Betis, before returning to international management with South Korea.

He would guide South Korea to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil, earning him cult status as well as a string of honours including honorary South Korean citizenship, free flights for life, a villa on a South Korean Island and a stadium named in his honour.

After his Asian adventure Hiddink returned to PSV, winning a further three Eredivisie titles, the 2005 Dutch Cup and the 2003 Dutch Super Cup to become the most successful Dutch manager ever. He also guided PSV to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2005, the first time they had reached that stage since the competition’s revamp in 1993.

He returned to the international arena again in 2005 guiding Australia to the second round of the 2006 World Cup, the Socceroos’ finest performance to date. That performance in Germany earned him cult status Down Under on a par with his reputation on South Korea.

His four-year spell with Russia would not be as successful, though he did reach the last four at Euro 2008. In early 2009 he combined his international job with the interim manager's position at Chelsea, where he would famously win the FA Cup by beating Everton in the final.

Hiddink has lived something of a nomadic managerial existence since, failing to qualify for Euro 2012 with Turkey, an ill-fated spell during Anzhi Makhachkala’s billionaire years and 18-months back with the Netherlands, where he was sacked with the Dutch struggling – and ultimately failing – to qualify for Euro 2016.

He is currently back with Chelsea, helping out his old pal Roman Abramovich. He has managed to lift the Londoners away from the bottom of the Premier League but a mid-table finish is inevitable before Hiddink hands over the reigns to Antonio Conte.

Transfer Market

Given his last significant club job was a decade ago it is hard to judge Hiddink’s ability in the transfer market. Though throughout his career has earned a reputation for developing young players. This is especially so at PSV, where the likes of Johann Vogel, Mark van Bommell and a certain Brazilian striker called Romario all flourished under his stewardship. In his current role as Chelsea interim boss he is using his final weeks at Stamford Bridge to bring through academy graduates and give them valuable first team experience.


Berry van Aerle, who played for Hiddink’s 1988 European Cup winning PSV side, said of Hiddink: "This is his big strength, to create a strong unity amongst a group of players. It's something you must have in you. Hiddink is a real master of that and has proven it over and over again."

The adulation afforded to Hiddink from South Korea and Australia highlights his skill at uniting a team and a nation behind him. That perhaps explains why his greatest successes have been with sides often considered underdogs, producing a side greater than the sum of its parts. While his 2009 FA Cup win at Chelsea highlighted his skill at uniting a fractured dressing room full of bulging egos and fashioned them into a cohesive trophy-winning unit.


Hiddink will be unemployed come May so there will be no issue with regards to compensation. And his skill at uniting dressing room and encouraging players to work and fight for each other is something desperately needed at Goodison, with the current side looking a disorganised, dispirited set of individuals pursuing their own ends rather than the team’s.

However, at 69 it’s hard not to feel like his best managerial days are behind him.

He comes across as a knowledgeable, decent and honourable man but the chance to have him manage our great football club is 10 years too late. If we are to try and push for a big name manager it should be someone entering their peak years rather than someone with one eye on retirement.