After a settlement with the tax authorities, Peter Maes starts his first foreign adventure: “I fell asleep for a few years”

Peter Maes (59) was officially introduced as the new coach of Willem II on Monday afternoon. The ex-coach of STVV, Lommel SK and KRC Genk must bring the ambitious second division team from Tilburg back to the Eredivisie this season.

“I have already studied the club in recent days, but I still have to get to know a lot of the guys here,” Maes opens his first chat with the press. “So I still have to be careful that I don’t bash the wrong player during training (laughs). No. Things will get wild here quickly. Even though we are getting a year older, we are more likely to forget something.”

Amicable settlement

Maes clearly immediately feels good about himself in North Brabant. There he will return to work in football for the first time since he was fired from Beerschot after seven games two years ago. “It takes some getting used to standing in front of a group of players again,” the trainer admits. “I fell asleep for a few years, then that’s it heavy to get back into that high rhythm.”

© Karel Hemerijckx

“I have missed being on that field in recent years,” continues Maes, who signed a contract until the end of this season with the seventh team in the Kitchen Champion Division. “If your whole life revolves around football and circumstances take it away from you, you have to switch things up. ”

Maes would rather not return to those circumstances. He was accused of having earned 2.3 million euros in the black, but reached an amicable settlement with the tax authorities and the public prosecutor at the end of June. “The matter has been completely resolved, my hands are free again,” says the coach.

It has now been five years since Maes was mentioned in the Clean Hands file. “But that certainly didn’t make me feel bad about football,” the former goalkeeper notes. “That’s not possible if this is your lifelong passion. I enjoy playing the game, everything else is waste. That is a life lesson that I learned from Johan Boskamp.”

First foreign adventure

Maes asked our in-house analyst for advice before signing in Tilburg. “It wasn’t that I was urgently looking for a new club. But this team is a great start for me. I find myself here in a very popular atmosphere, which suits me as a family man. So I knew I would immediately feel at home here, so I can see myself staying here longer.”

© Karel Hemerijckx

For the Lommel resident, Willem II is his first club abroad, after a twenty-year career as a trainer in Belgium. “I am now 59 years old, but I feel that my career is not over yet. This is a completely new challenge, to which I will be fully committed.”

“If this club were in the balance with a Belgian team of the same level, I would also have signed here,” Maes concludes. “It is not that I have seen everything in Belgium, but it was my ambition to work in another competition. I don’t see the fact that I am now starting to work here as a second chance for myself. I’ve had far too good a career for that. I will now continue that here.”

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