theyflysohigh : Steve Marsh

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Dutch Master ...

West Ham fans searching for a club connection in this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship should look beyond the England camp.  There is another West Ham connection known only to staunch Hammers supporters.


The Netherlands manager, Bert van Marwijk, is an Ex-Hammer! On Monday 7th August 1978 West Ham United played Colchester United at Layer Road in an evening pre-season friendly. Wearing the number six shirt for the Hammers was Bert.  The Dutchman, 26 at the time, was over for a trial with the Hammers.    


Bert was close to leaving the Dutch club AZ Alkmaar 67 and seeking a new club for season 1978-79. The Colchester United friendly was his only appearance in claret and blue. The Newham Recorder (10th August 1978) reported “he displayed some neat touches, good positional sense and shrewd distribution but having not played since the Dutch season ended three months ago, was clearly well short of match fitness”.


by Roger Hillier

Bert van Marwijk Visited West Ham for Lesson

Colchester United v. WHU

John Lyall wanted to see Bert in further trials to help make a full assessment and decide whether or not he was worth a reported £100,000 transfer fee. Unfortunately, Bert could not be persuaded back for a further trial and subsequently joined the Dutch club, MVV Maastrich.  


He spent another 12 years playing before embarking on his managerial career with Herderen. His most notable managerial achievement at club level was leading Feyenoord to victory in the 2002 UEFA Cup Final.


As for Bert’s playing career, The Daily Telegraph (10th July 2010) summed it up as “unfulfilled” and explained “Van Marwijk was a flaky winger, often injured who picked up a lone Holland cap in 1975. He was substituted.”  Considering Bert’s Dutch scoring record in season 1977-78 this sounds a little harsh. He scored nine goals in 20 games to help AZ Alkmaar finish 3rd in the league.


For the record 2,720 witnessed West Ham United and Colchester United draw 2-2 courtesy of two Trevor Brooking goals. Brooking opened the scoring in the 28th minute and scored an equaliser with 15 minutes to go.


West Ham fielded the following strong team:

Mervyn Day, Frank Lampard, Paul Brush, Billy Bonds, Tommy Taylor, Bert van Marwijk, Alan Devonshire (Alan Curbishley), Pat Holland, Geoff Pike (Alan Taylor), Trevor Brooking, Bryan Robson.


Pre-Season Challenge match

Layer Road

2 - 2 (Brooking 2)

7th August 1978

Report 01
Report 02

Since taking over as head coach of the national team in 2008 Bert has successfully steered the team to the 2010 World Cup final and now to Euro 2012.  In recognition of this success he has recently had his head coach contract extended to 2016. So where does Bert van Marwijk go from there?  Perhaps when his contract with the Dutch national team expires we will hear more of him if he is touted for a managerial position in the English Premiership. Who knows the Ex-Hammer could return to East London.

Bert Van Marwijk absent from the

programme printed line-up

Marwijk in Action

Triallist Bert van Marwijk of AZ Alkmaar shows three Colchester United defenders (one hidden) how the Dutch do it.


Group Stage


9th June   : Netherlands 0 - 1 Denmark

13th June : Netherlands 1 - 2 Germany

17th June : Portugal 2-1 Netherlands

Marwijk head coach Netherlands