Menno Willems

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Menno Willems
Personal information
Full name Menno Willems
Date of birth (1977-03-10) 10 March 1977 (age 40)
Place of birth Amsterdam, Netherlands
Height 6 ft 00 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Left Back
Youth career
1995–1996 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1997 Ajax 2 (0)
1997–1999 Vitesse Arnhem 12 (1)
1999–2000 FC Den Bosch (loan) 24 (0)
2000–2001 Vitesse Arnhem 0 (0)
2000–2001 Grimsby Town (loan) 14 (1)
2001–2002 Grimsby Town 40 (1)
2002–2004 HFC Haarlem 47 (3)
2004–2005 Sparta Rotterdam 32 (0)
2005–2006 Go Ahead Eagles 6 (0)
Total 177 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Menno Willems (born 10 March 1977 in Amsterdam) is a former Dutch professional footballer who played as a defender but could also play as a midfielder between 1996 and 2006 notably for Vitesse Arnhem, Ajax and Grimsby Town. He also played for FC Den Bosch, HFC Haarlem, Sparta Rotterdam and Go Ahead Eagles before being forced to retire.


Originally Willems was scouted by Dutch giants Ajax and he signed to the Amsterdam based giants when he was a youngster and took the step up to the first team in 1996. After one season of limited chances or football action, Willems left Ajax bound for fellow Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem where he would remain until 1999.

He then spent a season playing with FC Den Bosch before returning to Vitesse a year later. In November 2001, Menno signed a three month loan deal with English club Grimsby Town as Mariners boss Lennie Lawrence brought in a wave of foreign talent following the dismissal of Alan Buckley. Willems along with David Nielsen, Knut Anders Fostervold and Zhang Enhua linked up with the club on loan.

After the end of his three month loan deal Grimsby paid Vitesse £160,000 for Menno, and made him one of the most highly paid players at the club.[1] He played out the final few months of the 2000/2001 season and was the only foreign loan star too sign a permanent deal. In the new season, slight injury problems coupled with performances of other players saw Willems fall out of favour at the club under new manager Paul Groves. In May 2002, Willems left the club on a free transfer.

He soon returned to the Netherlands, playing for HFC Haarlem for two seasons, before playing out the next two seasons with Sparta Rotterdam and Go Ahead Eagles.


Menno Willems called time on his professional football career at the end of the 2005/2006 season. Because of wear and tear to the cartilage in his knee, he was advised to end his football career.

Personal life[edit]

Willems is related to fellow footballer and former Derby County midfielder Ron Willems.


  1. ^ "Menno's The Man For Lennie". Sky Sports. 2 March 2001. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 

External links[edit]