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Brentford look like they are on the verge of appointing Excelsior’s Marinus Dijkhuizen as their new head coach to succeed Mark Warburton in the hot seat at Griffin Park.

The 43 yr old Dutch manager guided Excelsior to 15th in Dutch Eredivisie this season – the top Dutch league – after gaining promotion last season from the Jupiler League (or 2nd tier Eerste Divisie).

The appointment is very much in line with Matthew Benham’s last two appointments – Uwe Rosler and Mark Warburton – preferring to choose a more left-field relatively unknown candidate who fits the ethos of the club rather than go for a more high profile candidate.

Dijkhuizen had little experience as a head coach when he was employed by Excelsior in 2014. He did manage to win promotion with his amateur side VV De Meern for three consecutive years before getting Excelsior to the Div 2 play-offs the following season – securing promotion to the Eredivisie after two thrilling games against RKC Waalwijk.

With a 14 yr playing career in and around the Eredivise, 6 ft 6 in Marinus Dijkhuizen used to play striker for Excelsior. However, he will upset Brentford’s Falkirk contingent for having also played for Dunfermline Fifers back in the early naughties () – as heinous a crime in that part of Scotland as playing for F*lham back in TW8.

His preferred tactical formation is a traditional 4-3-3 system with with an emphasis on fast breaking attacks and strong defense.

Dijkhuizen emphasises the success of his Excelsior team in one sentence:

“You just don’t win easily against Excelsior”.

Excelsior are the smallest team in the Dutch Eredivise with a stadium holding less than 4,000 people. They sit in the shadow of local rivals Feyenoord and Sparta Rotterdam and were promoted to the top league with a tiny playing budget.

They then defeated the odds by surviving their 1st season back in the Eredivisie with the second smallest playing budget in the division – finishing one spot above the relegation zone.

The club has boasted a partnership with Feyenoord for years which has seen a number of it’s local rivals’ players being loaned to them over the years including Salomon Kalou, David Connolly (now at AFC Wimbledon but scored 42 goals in 48 appearances while on loan to Exelsior before moving to Wimbledon) and Glenn Loovens (now at Sheffield Wednesday).

The parallels between Brentford and Excelsior are uncanny. The team is one of the smallest in the league, unfashionable being dwarfed by its rivals Feyenoord and Sparta Rotterdam in both size and playing budget.

But they have a reputation for developing and finding good young players, playing entertaining football and finding relatively inexperienced managers who fit in with the club ethos.

Dijkhuisen is believed to be the number one choice of the final four candidates interviewed.
Billy Grant