Click here to read the interview in Dutch.
Brian Tevreden may be named one of the most successful Surinamese in sports management. At the age of 35, he is Director of Football (technical director) of Reading FC, playing in the Championship, the second highest level of professional football in England.
On invitation of The big boss, Natiosuriname.sr traveled to Reading FC to have an interview with him about several subjects like his relationship with Suriname, his past as a youth coach at Ajax and the success story of Reading FC under his leadership.
Attending the game against championship candidate Newcastle United made this trip complete.
Uploaded by Natio Suriname on 2017-03-18.
After the Reading FC – Newcastle United game, we were taken to a room by one of the security guards where the interview with Brian Tevreden was going to be held. The reception was very cordial. There stood a man who has done his business well; The proud Director of Football of Reading FC. We were also introduced to his lovely wife. The basis for a good interview was set immediately.
The coaching career of Brian Tevreden has a past, but may also have a future. He has been a youth coach at Ajax and Almere City.
Why didn’t you continue as a youth coach?
I ended up here after some internal difficulties at Ajax. I started here as head of youth football . That was the ultimate opportunity for me. They actually wanted a liaison between the youth and the first team. Of course I miss the fieldwork, but this was a great opportunity. You never know what the future may bring, I might work as a coach again.
Can you name a few talents you had coached?
‘As a youth coach at Ajax I worked with players like Timothy Fosu Mensah (Manchester United), Javairo Dilsorun (Manchester City), Sheraldo Becker (ADO Den Haag), Jairo Riedewald (Ajax), Justin Kluivert (Ajax) and Mathijs de Ligt (Ajax).’
We’ve read a lot of positive things about you on the internet. You especially have guided the younger players with fewer opportunities.
‘Especially at Ajax, Ajax has always been a club with stable families etc. etc. The recession has changed everything, because the parents put more pressure on the children. They see them as a future source of income. In my opinion coaches, not only at Ajax, should be more involved with youth players. I always missed that from my own coaches and I’ve always said that if I would become a coach, I would involve myself more. You can scream a lot, but that will take you nowhere. You can scream but as long as you can justify to them how they can improve themselves, you are doing it right. You are occupied with the kids 24 hours a day. They see you more often than their own parents. You have to immerse yourself in a father role for the children. That’s not for the disadvantaged children only, but for the children in general.’
And have you ever thought of being a head coach?
‘I am only 35 years old so I’m still very young. I certainly have those ambitions. But for now it’s a great opportunity to develop my skills as a director. I am in the possession of the TC-1 (Trainer Coach 1) license and my goal is to obtain the Pro License. I will attend this course very soon.’
The match between Reading FC – Newcastle United ended up in 0-0 but this match was certainly not boring. Both teams wanted to play football and both went for the win. The passionate coaching of Jaap Stam was a relief to see. Jaap Stam? Yes, the power defender of the Dutch national team between 1996 – 2004 and PSV, Manchester United and AC Milan. He is currently the head coach of The Royals. Stam was brought to Reading FC by Tevreden.
How did you get to Reading FC?
‘Through an old youth friend from Amsterdam, Adnan Barakat (former player from NAC Breda and Cambuur Leeuwarden, ed.). He had played in Thailand for a long time. By coincidence he came across one of the shareholders. This shareholder had just bought Reading FC and wanted to do something with the Academy. Adnan dropped my name. They had chased me for two years. The first time I said no. When they heard that I had resigned at Ajax, they immediately got in touch with me again. That’s how I got here.’
How is the cooperation with head coach Jaap Stam?
‘From the start as the Director of Football, I immediately wanted to implement a philosophy that I had inherited from Ajax. What could be better than selecting someone who knows this philosophy. Jaap could make this transition to the pitch. He wanted to leave Ajax and is a big name in the Netherlands. The collaboration is fine. He’s a very nice guy to work with. You can also see it back on the pitch. The previous head coach loved the English kick & rush football. Upon my appointment, I immediately said that I wanted to abandon this way of playing. Of course I had to prove myself, but eventually I got the free hand.’
Last season Reading FC finished 17th in The Championship. Currently, your club is 4th and will perhaps promote to The Premiership at the end of the season. What is the strength of this metamorphosis?
‘Me … no I’m kidding, but it’s all about structure and clarity. A clear plan. And that’s really top down. Because I also involve the Academy. I’ve implemented this transition also. There is a clear strategy in buying and selling players. One should look at the overall package. From day one I got back-up from the owners. In the beginning, people were thinking: here’s a nobody who is going to tell us how everything needs to be run. But you have to give respect to receive respect. I delved into the culture of Reading FC and made a clear plan. You’ll experience in every way that there is stability within the club.’
If Reading FC promotes to the premier league. Will there be panic and do you think you can avoid relegation with this team?
‘Either way I won’t panic. An example: Newcastle United has invested 55 million pounds in the selection. I spent 3 million pounds. If we promote to the premier league there will be a clear plan and there will be specific purchases. We will absolutely won’t be throwing money down the drain. I have a whole team of young players with an average age of 24.’
We get to the subject Suriname. We are mostly interested in how Tevreden looks at improvements that can be applied on the organizational level, his contribution and his personal connection with Suriname.
Are there on the organizational level issues that can be improved in Suriname?
‘There are always things to improve. I’ve already stated earlier in an interview that I regret that we as Suriname have so many good players and have developed so many good players, but haven’t taken advantage of that. We need to think about the education of the youth. Extremely important for the future of the Surinamese football.’
To what extent can you and do you want to contribute to a positive development of the Surinamese football?
‘We’ve been talking about what to do for underprivileged children. At the moment, I provide through Berto and my brother Phill Tevreden, football jackets, balls, bats, tennisballs and cones for schools in Suriname. Berto is a good friend who lives in Suriname. He will guide me there. And I would like to think along on the organizational level and in developing and training players. Being of added value to the national team by means of helping them? That could be possible.’
Can you describe your relationship with Suriname?
‘Warm. It feels like my home. I have a lot of family there. The last time I was there was in 2015. Last year I wanted to go again, but something came in between.’
At the age of 27 Tevreden made the choice to quit professional football. A difficult choice, but it had been alright. He then continued as a top amateur and finished his career at the amateurs of Ajax.
Was it difficult to finally make the step to the amateurs: Amateurs of Ajax, FC Lisse and SV Huizen?
‘Yes, very difficult. I missed the commitment. Giving 100% every day. But it was playing a game and that’s’ it. But I was too focused and could not find the commitment at some point. ”
In his professional career, the former defender played between 2002 and 2008 for successively FC Volendam, FC Emmen, Panthratikos (Greece), Fostiras (Greece) and FC Dordrecht.
After the interview we were requested to visit the Hogwood Park Training Ground the next morning, at the training complex of Reading FC. The whole morning was surreal. We had lunch with the first squad and we got a personal tour by Mr Tevreden through the training fields where we saw the first squad and the youth of Reading FC training on a very high level.
Around 12:00 GMT we got in the car to London Luton to take the plane back to Schiphol. A wonderful experience with a leading role for The big boss. We knew one thing for sure: we will be back again.