Henk ten Cate

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Henk ten Cate (born 9 December 1954 in Amsterdam, Holland) is a Dutch football manager of Surinamese descent, and a former professional player. He was recently manager of Panathinaikos FC, 13 June 2008 - 8 December 2009.[1]

In the 2005-06 season, he was the assistant of Frank Rijkaard at FC Barcelona that guided the team to a Champions League Trophy and La Liga title. He then served as manager of AFC Ajax until October 2007, when he was released by mutual consent, allowing him to begin talks with Chelsea F.C. Ten Cate joined the London club on 11 October 2007, as assistant manager[2] but was sacked on 29 May 2008 just 5 days after the departure of manager Avram Grant.


Playing career

Henk ten Cate started his football career at amateur side FC Rheden before signing his first professional contract at Go Ahead Eagles. He made his Eredivisie debut in the 1979-80 season and earned himself 27 appearances throughout the season in which he scored 4 goals. These performances earned him a transfer to NASL side Edmonton Drillers in Canada.

After the North American season he returned to Go Ahead Eagles and continued his Eredivisie campaign. He became however unsure of his position and was sent on loan to Eerste Divisie side Telstar where he was one of their key players. After the season at Telstar he returned to Deventer and became a first team regular for Go Ahead Eagles again for three more seasons. In 1985 he switched to SC Heracles where he ended his professional career as a player.

Managerial career

After his playing career Ten Cate became assistant manager of Fritz Korbach at Go Ahead Eagles, playing in the Eerste Divisie. When Korbach moved to SC Heerenveen in February 1990 Ten Cate took over as a manager. He managed to win period title, which earned an Eerste Divisie side a place in the promotion play-offs at the end of the season. In these play-offs Go Ahead Eagles placed equal with Korbach's SC Heerenveen, but Heerenveen promoted to the Eredivisie on goal difference.

Ten Cate left Go Ahead Eagles and returned to one of the other teams he was active at during his playing career, SC Heracles where he became the assistant of manager Henk van Brussel. When Van Brussel was unable to finish the season due to health problems in November 1990 Ten Cate became the first team manager and led SC Heracles until 1992, when he was told his contract was no longer extended. He moved to the club where his football career started, amateur side FC Rheden and managed them for one year.

In 1993 Go Ahead Eagles appointed Ten Cate yet again as their manager, this time to replace Jan Versleijen who left the club to manage De Graafschap. In his first year he did well, but when Go Ahead Eagles was at the bottom of the Eerste Divisie during the winter break of the 1994-95 season he was fired. Eredivisie side Sparta Rotterdam offered him a contract and he led the team to a sixth position in the Eredivisie in 1996, they also reached the final of the KNVB Cup that year, which was lost to PSV Eindhoven 5-2.

In the 1997-98 winter break Ten Cate switched to manage Vitesse, which he led to their best Eredivisie ranking in their history, a third position with records in both the number of points won as the number of scored goals. After a disappointing start in the following season he left Vitesse and led KFC Uerdingen 05 until March 1999 without success. In the 1999-00 season he managed Hungarian side MTK Hungária FC to win the Hungarian Cup and a runners-up place in the PNB League. He returned to the Netherlands and became manager of NAC Breda which he led until 2003 earning them a spot in the UEFA Cup for the 2003-04 season.

He joined Frank Rijkaard at FC Barcelona and became his assistant manager. Together they managed Barça to a Champions League Trophy and two La Liga titles. In 2006 he replaced Danny Blind as manager at Ajax, where he won the Johan Cruijff-schaal in 2006 and 2007 and the KNVB Cup in 2007. Ajax finished equal on points with PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie in 2006, only to be denied the championship by a single goal in goal difference.

In early October 2007, Ten Cate was strongly linked to taking over as assistant manager to Avram Grant at Chelsea. On 8 October 2007 Ajax announced on their website to have reached an agreement with Chelsea about ten Cate's immediate transfer to the London side, noting also the deal was still to be finalized.[2] Ten Cate officially joined Chelsea on 11 October 2007 as assistant first team coach.[3] He was appointed assistant manager alongside club and fan favourite Steve Clarke.

Following the [[2008 UEFA Champions League Final, Ten Cate expressed his disappointment with Didier Drogba for his sending-off (if Drogba had not been sent off, he would have taken the fifth penalty). Drogba's expulsion led to John Terry taking Chelsea's fifth penalty, which he failed to convert as he slipped on the rain-soaked turf. Had he scored, Chelsea may have secured their first Champions League Title.[4]

Ten Cate was sacked from his role at Chelsea on 29 May 2008,[5] two days after being told the sacking of Avram Grant would not affect his position.

On the 13th of June 2008 Ten Cate signed a two-year deal with a Greek Superleague team, Panathinaikos FC[6] Ten Cate gave the following statement on his appointment.

"Panathinaikos' history, ambition and attitude towards football in general match those of the greatest football clubs in Europe.

"I've been used to working at the highest level and that's why I consider this a great challenge."

Ten Cate's Panathinaikos managed to qualify to the Group Phase of UEFA Champions' League in 2008-2009 season. However, the start in the Greek Superleague has not been encouraging too and ten Cate has been criticised for excesive use of rotation and constant change of the starting XI. Despite the criticism and some bad results from minor teams, ten Cate insisted on an attacking style of play based on possession, direct game, and the use of full backs in 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-2-1 formations and his team produced some impressive displays in Europe already.

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