The word ‘journeyman’ is a well-known term in the Football Manager community. The dictionary defines a journeyman as ‘a worker or sports player who is reliable but not outstanding’ yet the word is more commonly known as a person who has played for / managed multiple clubs in their career. Marcus Bent, Nicolas Anelka, Christian Vieri and Jari Litmanen are some of the most memorable journeymen to have graced football in recent years. Rivaldo, too, played for 14 clubs in his career. Erwin van Dijk is another name to add to this list.
Erwin van Dijk
Erwin van Dijk was born in Groningen, the Netherlands to a Dutch father and Australian mother. Soon after his birth, the van Dijk’s emigrated to Australia where Erwin was to have his childhood. Fast forward 18 years and young Erwin was identified by the now-defunct FFA COE as having good potential to progress in football. This potential was supported by then Sydney FC manager Waisale Sivivatu who signed Erwin from the FFA COE. The Fijian born manager spoke calmly upon signing Erwin, stating “Erwin will lead this club to glory and I’m confident it will be a massive boost to the team”. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Erwin was part of the Sydney side that won the Asian Champions League. In fact, it was his winning goal that created the bond between himself and Sivivatu that meant that wherever Sivivatu went, Erwin followed. Sivivatu left Sydney for Swansea City and his first act in the EPL club was to sign van Dijk. The same happened when Sivivatu joined Dundee in Scotland.
Van Dijk’s big move came (coincidentally) when Sivivatu left Dundee to join Manchester United. However it was also here that first-team opportunities began to dry up. In fact, since leaving Sydney, van Dijk only appeared in 7 games under Sivivatu’s leadership. As a gesture of the friendship between manager and player, van Dijk was allowed to leave the club on loan. 16 times. Yes, van Dijk had 16 loan spells away from Man Utd before returning to Australia after Sivivatu’s retirement.
Having ended his playing career with Newcastle Jets, Erwin van Dijk knew that he had more to give back on English shores. A career in coaching, but specifically management, was his aspiration and as such van Dijk moved back to England to pursue it.
Largely thanks to his presence in English football (he played for 13 different English clubs in total), van Dijk found a role in management rather easily, albeit a tad lower down the divisions than he’d hoped.
Erwin van Dijk has taken charge at Eastbourne Borough.
The English side currently play in the Vanarama National South, five divisions below the Premier League.
Van Dijk will be hoping for quick progress as he looks to climb the managerial ladder.
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Thanks for reading the introduction to my new Football Manager 2019 save. As I mentioned in my previous post this will be part of the Achievement Hunter challenge that I am taking part in with several other bloggers. Go and read this post by NewgenFM that explains how it will all work: https://newgenfm2018.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/my-fm19-plans/