Former Celtic manager and Dutch legend Wim Jansen passes away

By Euan Davidson

January 25, 2022

Former Celtic manager, and European Cup winner with Feyenoord, Wim Jansen has passed away at the age of 75.

Feyenoord, his beloved club, announced the news today on their website [Feyenoord].

For Celtic, Wim Jansen helped to turn the tide. He left an indelible mark on Celtic Football Club, in just one year.

Not only did Jansen lead Celtic to the 97-98 title, stopping Rangers’ march to 10 in a Row, Jansen brought in players including Henrik Larsson, who became a legend in his own right in the Hoops.

Photo by Stu Forster /Allsport

Jansen admitted he was struggling with dementia in an autobiography last year. For Celtic fans of a certain vintage, Jansen’s wild, curly hair and kind demeanour are an unforgettable part of the dramatic 1990s. A steadfast tactician, the Dutchman was an excellent hire by the club.

Feyenoord said in their press release [Feyenoord]: “Feyenoord loses an icon and child of the club with Wim Jansen. 

“He became a member of Feijenoord at the age of ten, after which he played in the first team for no less than fifteen years and won many prizes. Even after his playing career, Jansen remained loyal to the club and was, among other things, assistant and head coach, technical director and advisor. “I left Feyenoord a few times, but always came back. You could call it a blood tie,” he said in his biography.

“In his time as a player, Jansen was part of the most successful Feyenoord teams ever. The midfielder was a permanent fixture in the team that in 1970 was the first Dutch club to win the European Cup I and the World Cup. Four years later, Jansen also lifted the UEFA Cup as captain. Three national titles and a KNVB Cup complete the impressive honors [sic] list of his period as a player in De Kuip.”

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Wim Jansen left his mark on Feyenoord, Celtic and the European game

There were already links between Feyenoord and Celtic. A shared political outlook, something of an underdog status and the shared history of the 1970 European Cup Final.

Jansen was on the winning side that night. But when he came to Celtic, 27 years later, he had an even more gargantuan task on his hands; putting together a Hoops squad cohesive enough to wrestle back our title from the south of Glasgow.

He did just that.

For Celtic, it was a huge turning point in our modern history. The drama of the early 90s had been left behind, and we emerged from the shadows of near-misses and what-ifs from campaigns before. Through players like Paul Lambert and Henrik Larsson, Celtic formed a unit capable of winning the title in stylish fashion.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It was a remarkable achievement as a coach, a manager and as a man. Wim had the pressure on his shoulders at that time, but he never seemed to show it. Certainly, his players played without pressure from their manager, or at least that’s how it looked.

This really is another brutally sad loss to not just Celtic fans and Feyenoord fans, but to European football. Jansen was in some incredible Holland and Feyenoord teams, and his legacy extends across the continent.

We’ll miss you, Wim.