Celtic have paid tribute to Wim Jansen, the man who will be “forever remembered” for signing Henrik Larsson and securing a crucial title victory, following his death at the age of 75.
Feyenoord, where Jansen spent the vast majority of his career, earlier confirmed the news, several months after it emerged their former player and coach was living with dementia.
Jansen spent just one year in Glasgow and left within 48 hours of preserving Celtic’s joint-record of nine consecutive Scottish titles, after a breakdown in his relationship with the club hierarchy.
Celtic said: “Wim, of course, will forever be remembered as the manager who arrived to stop the 10 in season 1997-98 by lifting the championship on the never-to-be-forgotten day of May 9, 1998 when goals from Henrik Larsson and Harald Brattbakk defeated St Johnstone 2-0.
“That came after the Dutchman, who had played against Celtic for Feyenoord in the 1970 European Cup final, had earlier also led the Hoops to League Cup glory by beating Dundee United in that season’s Ibrox final.
“Also forever remembered as the man who delivered Henrik Larsson to the club, it should also be remembered that Wim rebuilt the team that term with other signings such as the aforementioned Brattbakk, Paul Lambert, Marc Rieper, Craig Burley and Jonathan Gould among others, not only stopping the 10, but setting the wheels in motion for continued success at the advent of the following decade.
“All at Celtic Park offer their most sincere thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Wim Jansen at this sad time.”
🗨️ "If you go to a club especially in the first year and you win the league, that’s the best you can have." 🏆🍀— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 25, 2022
Former Celtic players added to the tributes including Burley, who wrote on Twitter: “It was a privilege to play for you boss with this group of players at this club. A most magnificent time that can never be taken away from the memories.”
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said: “I’ve often said that we get the privilege of coming through these clubs and I guess our ultimate ambition is to leave some sort of mark or some sort of legacy, and he did that in 12 months. The impact he had in just one year at this football club is fantastic.
“Obviously a similar journey to mine, from Japan to here, way back then, and he has left an indelible mark.”
Rangers sent their condolences to Jansen’s family and friends and their manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, was particularly saddened.
The former Feyenoord player and manager said: “I’m very sad to hear that Wim Jansen has gone. I have known the family for many years and I had Wim as an assistant when I was a player and a coach.
“He was the first coach when I was a youth player to let me train with players who were two or three years older than I was. He saw my potential when I was young and really helped me in my development as a player. I have really good memories of Wim Jansen.”
Feyenoord had earlier confirmed the news about “one of the greatest football players who has ever played for the club”.
Herinneringen voor altijd… 🎞️— Feyenoord Rotterdam (@Feyenoord) January 25, 2022
“Although the intense sadness of course predominates, Jansen’s family is at the same time relieved that he has been spared a long agony,” a statement added.
“The family is pleased that their Wim has been able to keep control until the last moment, they have informed the club.”
Jansen’s association with the Rotterdam club started when he joined their youth set-up as a 10-year-old. He was the youngest player in the team that won the European Cup, the first Dutch team to do so, and captained Feyenoord to the UEFA Cup in 1974.
He made his Holland debut at the age of 20 and played in the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals.
Rest in peace, Wim Jansen (75), good friend and teammate.— Johan Cruyff (@JohanCruyff) January 25, 2022
After ending his playing career with stints at Washington Diplomats and Ajax, he returned to Feyenoord as a coach and, after a spell away in charge of Lokeren, took over as manager in 1990. He sparked a revival of Feyenoord’s fortunes, winning two KNVB Cups before stepping up to become technical director before they won the league in 1993.
Jansen coached in Japan either side of his spell at Celtic before again returning to Feyenoord as technical director, then as an advisor to the youth coaches.
Johan Cruyff, his close friend and former team-mate with Holland, Washington and Ajax, once said of Jansen: “Wim is one of only four men in the world who are worth listening to when they talk about football.”
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