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Dennis Van Wijk

Dennis Van Wijk
Norwich Career: 1982-1986 (155 appearances, 4 goals)
Current Club:
Date of Birth: 16/12/1962 (Ooste
Nationality: Dutch


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.

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