He was mostly at home in recent months. Working a bit in the garden, spending a lot of time with family and maybe going to the beach every now and then. Far away from the busy football life.

Alex Pastoor may have needed it for a while. After he was fired from the Austrian SCR Altach in early February 2021, he deliberately took a sabbatical. A period to reflect. Since January 1, he has been the trainer of the ambitious Almere City, which, remarkably enough, is penultimate in the first division.

“Such a handshake and a farewell also immediately give you a new start and the chance to reinvent yourself,” says Pastoor at Langs de Lijn En Omstreken on NPO Radio 1. “The first days you are still in that work flow, but after one or three weeks that weakens. I have worked intensively for three or four years. Then rest is nice for a while.”

Looking in the mirror, Pastoor wondered aloud whether he still wanted to be a football coach. “I’ve categorized what I like and don’t like. I’ve been in football my entire working life. It makes sense to continue in this, of course. It’s also my passion. But you are on 24 hours a day and if you can’t put things into perspective, it can work badly.”

For two years he lived and worked in small Altach, bordering the Swiss border. His wife and son were with him, but his two daughters stayed behind in the Netherlands. “I’ve barely seen them for two years and that’s why I was very homesick.”

Pastor sure likes the adventure. “But you sometimes have to ask yourself what it’s worth. At the beginning of your coaching career, ambition makes you blind. As you get older, the ambition doesn’t diminish, but it is no longer in your field of view. You learn to appreciate it .”

He was home for eight months. But as he began to determine how the dishwasher should be set up, Pastor realized – a thought supported by his wife – that he wanted to get back to work.

“Almere had already called in April, but I thought it was still too early.” After the dismissal of Gertjan Verbeek at the end of November, a new attempt was made from the polder. Pastor agreed and can be found on the Dutch fields for the first time in four years.

“The club wants to root itself in the youngest province and has clear ambitions that suit me. The facilities and staff also appealed to me. I work with a good team here.”

Eredivisie

“People want to be promoted to the Eredivisie and then stay in it. That is the club’s wish. I have a plan in which we will hopefully win structurally. Hopefully it will work out in the year and a half for which I signed. But I’m just a passer-by.”

For the time being, Almere City only keeps FC Dordrecht under its control and Pastoor lost 5-1 on his debut at Jong PSV. “That was a bit of a shock and a stark contrast to how we had trained. That looked good.”

“I am also sure that we can achieve our ambitions with this material.” A trick he used to pull off with Sparta and Excelsior. “I can’t do much, but I can organize well and make connections between people to believe in something.”

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