Henk ten Cate

This is a Dutch name; the family name is ten Cate, not Cate.
Henk ten Cate

ten Cate with Al Jazira in 2016
Personal information
Date of birth (1954-12-09) 9 December 1954
Place of birth Amsterdam, Netherlands
Playing position Left winger
Club information
Current team
Al Jazira (head coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1985 Go Ahead Eagles 132 (21)
1980Edmonton Drillers (loan) 21 (5)
1981–1982Telstar (loan) 30 (7)
1985–1986 SC Heracles 19 (1)
Total 202 (34)
Teams managed
1990 Go Ahead Eagles
1990–1992 SC Heracles
1992–1993 vv Rheden
1993–1995 Go Ahead Eagles
1995–1997 Sparta Rotterdam
1997–1998 Vitesse Arnhem
1998–1999 KFC Uerdingen 05
1999–2000 MTK Hungária FC
2000–2003 NAC Breda
2003–2006 Barcelona (assistant)
2006–2007 Ajax
2007–2008 Chelsea (assistant)
2008–2009 Panathinaikos
2010 Al-Ahli Dubai
2010–2011 Umm Salal
2012–2013 Shandong Luneng
2013 Sparta Rotterdam (caretaker)
2016– Al Jazira

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Henk ten Cate (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɛŋk tɛn ˈkaː.tə], born 9 December 1954 in Amsterdam, North Holland) is a Dutch football manager and a former professional player, current coach of Al Jazira.

In the 2005–06 season, he was the assistant of Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona that guided the team to a Champions League Trophy and La Liga title. He then served as manager of Ajax until October 2007 and got three trophies for the Dutch club. Ten Cate joined Chelsea on 11 October 2007, as assistant manager[1] but stepped down after the defeat of the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final on 29 May 2008 just 5 days after the departure of manager Avram Grant. He is well known for a precise tactician who inherits the football systems and tactics of Ajax and Barcelona


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 Arnhem, 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.

In June 2003, Ajax gave him an offer as a manager, however, he decided to join Frank Rijkaard at FC Barcelona and became his assistant manager because Frank Rijkaard had the lack of experience as a top manager at that time. Thus, Frank Rijkaard believed that Ten Cate was able to compensate for his weak points as a manager. Rijkaard explained that "I was a motivator, Henk (Ten Cate) was a strategist for the team". Indeed, Ten Cate was responsible for strategies and tactics of FC Barcelona during its training sessions. Together they managed Barça to a Champions League Trophy and two La Liga titles. In 2006 he replaced Danny Blind as a 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.

Ten Cate with Chelsea.

In early October 2007, Ten Cate was strongly linked to taking over as assistant manager to Avram Grant at Chelsea because owner of the English club, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had a high opinion of Ten Cate as a great tactician. On 8 October 2007, Ajax announced on their website they had reached an agreement with Chelsea about Ten Cate's immediate transfer to the London side, noting also the deal was still to be finalized.[1] Ten Cate officially joined Chelsea on 11 October 2007 as assistant first team coach.[2]

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 would have secured their first Champions League Title.[3]

Ten Cate was sacked from his role at Chelsea on 29 May 2008,[4] two days after being told the sacking of Avram Grant would not affect his position.

On 13 June 2008, Ten Cate signed a two-year deal with a Greek Superleague team, Panathinaikos FC.[5] 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 for the last "16" Phase of UEFA Champions' League in the 2008–2009 season, where Panathinaikos were eliminated by Villarreal CF. However, they won the Europe Cup Play Offs, winning the second seed for the next year's Champions League Play offs. In his first year to the club, Ten Cate built Panathinaikos to play an attacking style of play based on possession in 4–2–3–1 and 4–3–2–1 formations, and they scored the most goals in the league.

The Panathinaikos board kept Ten Cate in his position for a second year, in which the club managed to achieve its best start in the League since 1996, with 9 wins and 2 draws in 11 matches. However, the Greek club suddenly got worth of their financial situation because of the financial crisis in Greece and was revealed unpaid wages (€4 millions) of Ten Cate. Afterwards, Ten Cate decided to step down as its manager on 8 December 2009.

On 6 February 2010, it was announced that Ten Cate signed a 6-month contract with the UAE champions Al-Ahli Club (Dubai). Only one month later he quit Al-Ahli, after a 5-0 defeat against Al-Sadd.

In April 2010, Umm Salal hired the Dutch coach as a replacement of Gerard Gili. Henk ten Cate worked as a manager of Umm Salal until February 2011. [6]

On 5 January 2012, Henk ten Cate became the manager of Shandong Luneng Taishan in China.[7] However, as Shandong Luneng Taishan spent most of the season struggling at the edge of relegation, ten Cate resigned on 6 September.[8]

On 4 April 2013, he replaced the sacked Michel Vonk as manager of Sparta Rotterdam on a contract running until the end of the season.[9]


Season Club Competition Apps Goals
1979/80 Go Ahead Eagles Netherlands Eredivisie 27 4
1980 Edmonton Drillers Canada United States North American Soccer League 21 5
1980/81 Go Ahead Eagles Netherlands Eredivisie 19 3
1981/82 Go Ahead Eagles Netherlands Eredivisie 1 0
1981/82 Telstar Netherlands Eerste Divisie 30 7
1982/83 Go Ahead Eagles Netherlands Eredivisie 31 10
1983/84 Go Ahead Eagles Netherlands Eredivisie 24 2
1984/85 Go Ahead Eagles Netherlands Eredivisie 30 2
1985/86 SC Heracles Netherlands Eredivisie 19 1
Total 202 34


As manager

With MTK Budapest
With AFC Ajax


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