AMSTERDAM: Feyenoord coach Dick Advocaat has had longer than he planned to think about his next step: Does he retire yet again or stay for another season as manager of the Eredivisie side?
The suspension of the league in the Netherlands because of the COVID-19 pandemic means the 72-year-old can ponder a little longer.
"There would have been clarity at the end of March whether I would stay or not but now that decision will take a few months longer," he told Dutch media, having turned around the fortunes of the former European champions.
Advocaat took over from previous coach Jaap Stam who quit in October following a 4-0 loss at arch rivals Ajax Amsterdam that left them floundering in the bottom half of the Dutch league table.
The turnaround kept up Advocaat's reputation for successfully stepping in to a crisis situation, just as he did at Sunderland in 2015, when taking over from Gus Poyet, and guiding the club to Premier League safety.
He then retired to keep a promise to his wife to finally quit the game. That was five years and six jobs ago.
Advocaat's retirement lasted less than a month as he changed his mind and stayed on at Sunderland, only to resign four months later.
Since, he has worked at Fenerbahce in Turkey, the Dutch national team for a third time, and at Sparta Rotterdam, Utrecht and Feyenoord.
Advocaat is a beloved figure in Dutch football. His three spells in charge of the national team produced 37 victories – more than any other coach – and he has lost only one game in 21 since taking over at Feyenoord.
The secret, he told the Dutch media earlier this year, was his bluntness.
"I restrict myself to the basics, to the point. I'm then very clear in my instructions, what I want to see from them when in possession or when not in possession, and after that it's up to the players to do what's expected of them," he said.
Advocaat also confirmed Feyenoord would be his last job. "That is definite," he added.
His contract runs out at the end of June and an extension is likely to be offered, media reports said.
But Advocaat has given no hint as to his intentions.
"It's not clear how next season is going to turn out. What will the financial situation will be, how much money there will be for transfers? It is a difficult and unclear story," he said.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)