Ajax graduate Dennis Van Wijk never made the Dutch side's league
team but competed for their youth side at the Montlaire tournament
in France in 1982. He impressed the Norwich side who were also
participating in the tournament and travelled back to Norwich
to join them.
Originally signed on a non-contract basis, Dennis made his first
team debut against Everton on 18th September 1982 as substitute.
In October 1982, he signed the first of four one year contracts
with the club. Over the next four years, he would play in the
full back and left wing positions for Norwich on 155 occasions
scoring 4 goals. He was a member of the City side that won the
1985 Milk Cup final against
Sunderland at Wembley.
In August 1986, having helped the side win the Division Two championship,
he departed Norwich to experience pastures new. Belgian side Club
Brugge KV was his first stop where he won both the Belgian League
and Cup, and played in Europe. Greek side PAS Yanniana was his
destination in 1990 before returning to Belgium with KSV Cercle
Brugge (loan) and a second spell with Club Brugge. A broken leg
ended his career and he then ran a bar in Bruges.
According to Mike Davage's article "Canaries Flown From The Nest"
in the 1998/99 club handbook, Dennis was coaching at Knokke and
then with kV Oostende. He was then appointed technical director
at Cercle Brugge. In
June 2001, Dennis was linked with a move to FC Antwerp to take
over as their manager. Cercle Brugge released Dennis, along with
the rest of their coaching staff, in the early summer of 2002
At the end of November 2002, I was kindly informed via email
that Dennis had been appointed manager of struggling Belgian Second
Division side KSV Roeselare who had sacked Raoul Peters. The side
from West Vlaanderen (the same province as Bruges) were one place
off the bottom of the table when they appointed Van Wijk. Dennis
turned things around at Roeselare winning them promotion via the
play-offs into the Belgian first division in 2004/5. The following
season saw new developments for the club. With an average attendance
of 5500 (previously never more than 2000) it played an excellent
maiden season in the Jupiler League. It ended 12th, and through
the fair play competition it even qualified for the first qualifying
round of the UEFA Cup.
Towards the end of 2005/6 Dennis announced he was leaving to
join the Dutch club Willem II Tilburg.
On November 4th 2007, he left the club due to bad performances
of the team; most notably a 2-1 home defeat to lowly VVV Venlo
when the fans called for his sacking and one attacked defender
Frank Van der Struijk, punching him in the head.
After a brief spell with Sint-Truden, Dennis was re-appointed
manager of Belgian side KSV Roeselare on 29 October 2008
Dennis moved to become coach of Belgian side R.A.E.C. Mons in
January 2011. Van Wijk led the team to winning the Tour Final
in the Belgian 2nd division (Exqi League) and thus being promoted
to the Belgian Pro League for the 2011-2012 season.
He was replaced as coach of Mons by former Belgian international
Enzo Scifo. He then took charge of Charleroi. He led them to the
Belgian Second Division title in 2012 before joining Belgium's
oldest club Antwerp as manager.
On 1st May 2013, he took charge of Belgian side Westerlo. He
led them until early 2015 when he was sacked. In March 2015, he
was placed in charge of Cercle Brugge but could not prevent relegation
from the top flight. On 17th June 2015, he was appointed manager
of Belgian second tier side Deinze.
In 2016 he moved to become the coach of Beerschot Wilrijk in the Belgian Third Division. He joined OH Leuven in 2017 and then moved back to Roeselare in October 2017. In January 2018, he took charge of struggling top flight Belgian side Mechelen. He was sacked in August 2018.
On 31st December 2019 Van Wijk returned to Oostende as manager as the successor of Kare Ingebrigtsen who had left for Cyprus. However he was sacked on 2nd March 2020. The club said "we were also convinced that his approach would be the right one for this group of players. Someone who focused on hard work and discipline. During the internship in Spain, the foundation was laid for what should be a good end to the season. However, we now have to conclude that the mayonnaise with the group of players did not quite pick up and that we only achieved 4 out of 21. Then we had two choices: continue working and hope that in the last two games we would grab points or intervene to turn the tide. We opted for the last option. I cannot blame Dennis for his dedication and workforce and we are also grateful to him for accepting this assignment. But if the results and the game are not what we expected, then you have to dare to make a choice and we have done that. It is now up to the group of players to make every effort in the last two matches to ensure that they are retained. We are already counting on the support of the supporters to ensure a swirling atmosphere on Saturday. All together we have to go for it one hundred percent. "
At the time of writing, Dennis has the second most number of
appearances amongst Norwich's foreign players. Only former goalkeeper
Sandy Kennon (South Africa) has more appearances.