#3 – Manager Backstory; Jeroen ‘Heubach Hooligan’

Welcome back to Enschede where we have taken over the reins of FC Twente. Today I am writing something different than the usual stuff I do here on the blog. I have written a little backstory on the manager to make the story a bit more immersive. In this post, you will meet the new manager of FC Twente for the 2020/21 season. 

I have been searching for the right kind of persona for quite a while but did find someone who fits the club’s vision. I wrote about implementing the mentioned vision into my save in my last post, but here’s a summary:

  • Invest in the academy yearly
  • Focus on the individual
  • High-intensity training
  • Players need to show their commitment
  • Strong personalities
  • Able to play in different styles and systems
  • Develop hard-working players able to play at the Dutch Eredivisie level

The new manager does not only support this vision but is a prime example of what Twente’s ideas stand for! Meet Jeroen Heubach. The Twente supporters gave him the nickname ‘Heubach Hooligan’, which says it all! 

This post is part of the ‘Twente’s got Talent’ series, other posts in this series are: 

Jeroen Heubach was born on the 24th of September 1974 in the former textile city of Enschede. Heubach inherited his character from his father, who was a hard-working construction worker. It was his personality that got him where he wanted to be as a youngster; a professional footballer. The Twente supporters love the implacable left-back because of his local origin, his love for the club and always leading the fight. 

Jeroen experienced a lot during his time at the club. But the highlight of his career would be winning the Dutch Cup in 2001. He played European football with Twente and retired, including his stint at MVV, after 334 appearances (7 goals) and after his loan spell at NEC in 2010. 

“FC Twente treated me with disrespect”, according to Heubach when he was cast aside by his (!) club in 2015. It’s distinctly Jeroen; his heart on his sleeve, a man of the people who even got tattoos of his face. Popular with the die-hard fans because of his tenacity and never-ending rushes down the sideline. He once ran to the section with Twente supporters and showed them his bent elbow and the clenched fist after he scored a penalty. The mob sang “Heubach, Hooligan“! And his nickname was born.

Footballing Career

Heubach started his career at amateur club VOSTA. He became a Twente youth player at the age of sixteen. He quickly entered various national youth teams in which he played together with Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf. 

The Tukker (people born in Twente are being called Tukkers) was initially a midfielder with good technique, a solid pass and ditto running ability until national coach Dick Advocaat presented him as a left-back during a tournament in the Canary Islands. He never played another position on the pitch again.

He made his debut on the 11th of December 1994 for FC Twente, at home against MVV. He came into play as a substitution at the start of the second half, replacing Wilfried Elzinga. FC Twente had a good team with players like Hoogma, Bosvelt, Bruggink, Oude Kamphuis and Ter Avest that even finished third under manager Hans Meyer. After three seasons, Heubach had only played seventeen games because of that and decided to move to MVV on a free transfer to get more match experience.  

MVV just entered the Eredivisie after gaining promotion the year before. Heubach conquered a starting spot, played 56 games and even managed to find the net once. His former manager Meyer noticed his growth and brought him back to Twente in 2000 only to get the sack two months later. Heubach ended on the bench once again after the appointment of André Karnebeek as the new manager.

Then Heubach’s intransigence came to the fore. He trained and fought for what he was worth and played in the starting lin-up from the 2002/03 season. He was a regular starter until 2008, after which he lost the competition to Edson Braafheid and had to make do with a few raids. 

The 2007/08 season was a terrific one for Heubach and his teammates. They achieved to qualify for the preliminary rounds of the Champions Cup by ending second in the league. On the 18th of May 2008, Heubach was therefore legendarily sung by teammate Rob Wielaert during the ceremony at the Oude Markt in Enschede with “Ronaldinho, Heubach is coming!”. 

During the 2009/10 season, the left-back did not feature any league appearances for FC Twente. He came within the lines for the last time during the KNVB Cup match against Helmond Sport on the 23rd of December 2009. Heubach played for Twente during fourteen seasons, came to 273 appearances and scored six goals in the process for the club. 

During the winter break, Jeroen went on loan to NEC, so he missed the championship with FC Twente. At NEC Heubach, also plagued with a few injuries, only got to nine games. Jeroen Heubach put an end to his professional career in 2010, after almost sixteen years of active service. He then became part of the FC Twente U19’s coaching staff and maintained contacts with the supporters and sponsors on behalf of the club. 

The club icon of Twente was fired in 2015 after 22 years of loyal service at the club. This after the club ran out of money, much to the disappointment of Heubach. Nowadays he coaches troubled youngsters in Enschede. He helps those young people to structure their lives and build an independent existence. 

Here’s a summary of why I think Jeroen ‘Heubach Hooligan’ is the right kind of manger for my youth development save:

  • His personality fits the club’s vision: hard-working, determined, professional, implacable.
  • He is a club icon: played almost 300 games for the club and is a fan-favourite.
  • Focus on youth: he worked for the club’s academy before and coached troubled youngsters after he was sacked by Twente in 2015
Heubach celebrating Twente’s league win in front of Ajax fans after the last match of his career. He was an NEC player at that time!

“I was on the bench on May 2, 2010, and received very little from the NEC game. I was only concerned with FC Twente and the standings in Breda. Just before the end of the game I put on the FC Twente champion shirt and went to the field with it. No, the fans of Ajax did not appreciate that.”

– Jeroen Heubach

There you have it, a little backstory on the manager who is taking over the reins at FC Twente. It is a bit different from the usual stuff I write, and I enjoyed writing it! I hope you liked it as much as I did writing it. As always, thanks for reading!

Make sure you follow me on Twitter, and if you need anything, my DM’s are open.

Hope to see you next time!


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