Architect of total football dies (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
Dutch Legend Michels Passes Away
3/3/2005 11:09:00 AM
Holland legend Rinus Michels has died at the age of 77.
The coach is known as the architect of "total football" and was in charge of the Dutch side that won the European Championships in 1988 and reached the World Cup final in 1974.

Michels also coached Ajax and Barcelona in a distinguished career.

Buy on
Dec 27, 2003
Oh man, that's sad.

I liked Michels a lot : he was quite the charismatic character. His biggest achievement to me remains his beating ze Germans on their soil in the Euro 88 semi (with the decisive goal scored by HM the Swan of Utrecht, who else?). After that feat, winning the final almost became a formality.

And then of course he coached that spectacular attacking machine that was the Netherlands of the 70's, which was twice unlucky enough to meet the hosts and a malign ref in the final.

A great coach no doubt, but there's one point on which I don't fully agree : that he is the "inventor of Total Football". Although the term was only coined in the years of Cruyff's Ajax/Holland, one can argue that Puskas' Hungary in the 50's or Austria's Wunderteam in the 30's already played that sort of game.

But Michels had the merit of reviving it and perfecting it in an era where such a vision of football was considered suicidal. Eventually it proved to be devastating, but not exactly revolutionary if you put things into perspective.

The fact that "Total Football" was then buried for ten years only to be ressuscitated by Sacchi's Milan in the late 80's demonstrates that in football too there are cycles, and that history repeats itself.

Nevertheless, RIP Rinus


Bedpan racing champion
Jul 25, 2001
Rinus Michels is, to me, the greatest personality Dutch football ever had the pleasure of serving.

He will never be forgotten. :strong:


Bedpan racing champion
Jul 25, 2001

Rinus Michels, the Dutch coach who invented the concept of "total football", died on Thursday aged 77. He led the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final and the 1988 European Championship title. Michels, who had recently undergone heart surgery, died at around 0400 GMT in a Belgian hospital.

Nicknamed "The General," Michels famously compared football to war and was renowned for his no-nonsense coaching style during a career at clubs including Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona, FC Cologne and Bayer Leverkusen.

He won the 1971 European Cup with Ajax and the Spanish title with Barcelona in 1974.

"He was one of the best coaches we had in history," KNVB spokesman Frank Huizinga said.

Michels will be best remembered as the architect of "total football" -- in which every outfield player felt comfortable anywhere on the pitch, creating an attractive brand of play which captured the imagination of fans around the world.

In 1974, Michels led a Dutch team built around Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens to the World Cup final, where they lost 2-1 to hosts West Germany in Munich.

"He was the man, who together with Johan Cruyff, made Dutch football big," Dutch state secretary for health, welfare and sport Clemence Ross-van Dorp told Dutch news agency ANP.


Michels, named coach of the century by world governing body FIFA in 1999, always retained the bearing of a military man. He was stocky, kept his hair cropped short and had a square jaw. His manner was decisive, straightforward and down-to-earth.

Michels played 269 matches as a centre forward for Ajax in the 1940s and 1950s and won five caps for the Netherlands. He scored 121 goals in all.

After his army service he became a sports teacher before embarking on a career as a coach.

He started coaching Ajax in 1965 and by 1971 they were European champions for the first time, beating Panathinaikos of Greece in the final at Wembley.

At the heart of that side was Cruyff, and after Michels left for Barcelona later in 1971 he returned to Amsterdam to sign the great forward for the Catalan club.

After further stints at Ajax and Barcelona, he moved to the Los Angeles Aztecs, then on to Cologne before finishing his club coaching career with Bayer Leverkusen in Germany in 1989.

He lived for soccer and even at an advanced age still went to matches.

He was born Marinus Hendrikus Jacobus Michels on February 9, 1928, in Amsterdam near the Olympic Stadium in the year of the Olympic Games there.

He started his career as a player for Ajax aged 18 against ADO of the Hague, scoring five times in a match which the Amsterdam club won 8-3.



Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter #7
    Its a shame that one of the greatest ever coaches gets only 6 replies...


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