Coaching legend Eugène Gerards passed away on Tuesday aged 77.
The Dutch-born soccer manager leaves behind a special legacy in Greece, where he spent years coaching local teams, namely OFI Crete where he spent 15 unrivalled, consecutive seasons from 1985-2000.
The coach started off on the field as a player in the Netherlands for Fortuna Sittard and Limburgia.
As a coach he saw great success, helping lead OFI to win the Greek Cup in 1987 and to qualify for Europe’s Cup Winner’s Cup in 1993 before going on to work with AEK, Iraklis and Panachaiki.
He also worked in Cyprus with APOEL and back home in the Netherlands with Roda Kerkrade.
When the news of his passing became public, all of Greece’s major clubs released tributes expressing their sorrow over the loss and acknowledged Gerards’ impact on the world game in Greece.
Thankfully his beloved club, OFI had the opportunity to honour the coach while he was still alive with a moving testimonial at Iraklio last November where a number of Greek football legends gathered.
In a frail condition, he attended in a wheelchair and was welcomed by a crowd chanting “Dutchman, we shall never forget you”.