Football, here we come….

Above: PSV skipper Mark van Bommel celebrates with Mr PSV, Willy van der Kuylen

The Olympics are on the last stretch, towards the finish. As ever, I highly enjoyed all that sports on telly. My goodness…. After the disappointment that was the Euros and the Tour I got tears in my eyes watching Marianne Vos win gold, seeing Ranomi slicing through the pool, Dorian humiliating his competition and Epke Zonderland win the first gymnastics gold for Holland ever!!

Wonderful sports… And the hockey boys and girls are in it too, still….

But….I am ready for the football to begin!

And with the JC Plate game of last Sunday and Feyenoord’s CL qualification game yesterday, it does feel that we are back in business. So expect the frequency of posts to go up soon :-).

So lets start with Feyenoord. My team. But my oh my, how they fumbled it. They played well. Good enough, at least. Creating massive opportunities. A ball on the post, a free header (should have been a goal) and most shockingly, two players (Cisse and Guyon) going towards goal after a dramatic throw in… If Feyenoord was ever going to beat Kiev it was yesterday. With the 2-1 from the away game, 1-0 at home would be enough. But Feyenoord simply didn’t score. Immers had a close range effort, straight to the goalie in the second half. And of course, Dynamo would chuck salt in Feyenoord’s wound by scoring a late goal themselves.

And having witnessed Koeman’s young team play, one has to say that the CL is probably a couple of levels too high. Sure, the money is great but the team will be butchered by any conceivable opponent and maybe, just maybe, it’s better for the talented youngsters to play Europa League.

Ajax and PSV played their JC plate game, last weekend. The first prize of the season. And taken seriously, at least by PSV. With Dick Advocaat at the reigns and Mark van Bommel back in the jersey, it seems PSV wanted to show Ajax that it means business this season. 2-0 up after 12 minutes, against an Ajax not ready to compete. PSV seems to be eager to start, having signed all the key players they wanted ( Narsingh, Van Bommel) while Frank de Boer of Ajax is still uncertain what will happen with Van der Wiel, Anita and Theo Janssen. The latter is flirting heavily with Vitesse and expects De Boer to really want him to stay, while the EPL is chasing Anita and Van der Wiel. Christian Eriksen was not fit yet so he missed the JC Plate game (and it showed) but all in all, Ajax simply didn’t want it that badly.

It will turn into a massive battle this season, between Frank de Boer’s youngsters and PSV. Dico Kopper, Van Rhijn, Fischer, Eriksen, Blind, Ozbilic… It might take a while, but I love to see them play.

Obviously, PSV is interesting too with Willems (played well!), Wijnaldum, Narsingh and Strootman. And Mark van Bommel of course…

The Eredivisie can start as far as I am concerned.

I will give you my predictions for the Title:

I see PSV win it this time. I think Ajax will lose some players before August 31 and Frank will have to struggle a bit to make it all work, the national competition and the CL.

I do see Ajax finish second and do well in the CL this season.

Feyenoord finishes 5th, as they can’t replace Guidetti and Vlaar and have a decent but not spectacular season.

AZ and Twente occupy 3 and 4 and Heerenveen is knocking on the door still, to enter the top 6.

I think the season will be key for Feyenoord’s future. Do they pay off more debt and get more cash in from sponsors, so they can build on the current talent pool… Or will they have to sell the next lot of talent (Clasie, De Vrij, Leerdam, Martins Indi) to make ends meet?

Share your thoughts with me, good people and let’s prepare for an amazing new season…

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  1. For Dutch clubs, to perform well in CL or EL group stage means your club will obtain more real benefit. However, this may be done at the expense of some poor results in Eredivisie. It is a dilemma.

    In the first half of last season AZ did amazingly well. They were not only No.1 in Eredivisie but reached EL’s round of 32. But in the second half Alkmaar crashed. Ajax should have advanced to the second stage of CL and was eliminated by Man U in EL in Febuary. After that setback they won 14 consecutive matches in Eredivisie.

    Do hope PSV will be No.1 in Eredivisie and will finish TOP4 in EL this season.

    When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

  2. It is not Football but everyone should see the amazing performance of Epke Zonderland. The whole high bar event was great,the best gymnastic event I saw at this olympics.
    Congratulations to Netherlands!

    As for football,I watched Feyenoord and Clasie was good,De Vrij also maybe,but the rest was pretty bad.
    PSV looks very strong,strongest in Eredivisie,but I thought so last year also,and they ended only third with not so great football. They have many important players for the future National team,from Strootman to Willems over Narsingh and Lens(he does look very good in attack!)
    Can not wait to see what Van Gaal will do in the friendly against Belgium.

  3. Petrovic – you are soooooo right I was totally flabbergasted by the audacity of Epke – even all his competitors and coaches were in awe of this performance…. applauding him when he finished (when have u ever seen that ?)if you get a chance – try and catch it.

  4. @Carlos,
    The TV deal will mean more money for Dutch clubs. I assume it’s a better deal than the one currently in place. 12 years seems a bit long. Eredivisie coverage will probably become more expensive for viewers if more games are shown on pay-per-view or subscription-only channels.

    Just for comparison, BT and Sky paid £3bn over three years for the Premier League. When you add another £1.4B in overseas TV rights, you can see the stark difference in financial standing.

    I think a Benelux league would be a great idea to increase the quality of the league which will increase the marketability and ultimately club revenues. Unless Dutch clubs are able to invest more in player development and retention, we’ll be relegated to crashing out of the Champions League and stay in the Europa League for the foreseeable future. That means losing prestige and a key source of income.

    I’m not sure if FIFA or UEFA rules would allow the creation of a Benelux league. It could start a trend where countries create their own regional league competitions with a lot of unforeseen consequences.

    Hopefully, the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules bring more accountability and fairness. It’s unclear how clubs will adapt to it and how strongly it will be enforced to have a meaningful impact.

    1. but please explain to me how the benelux league would be a more challenging league…

      i understand it might allow for more CL spots but would it be more competitive?

  5. “Dico Kopper, Van Rhijn, Fischer, Eriksen, Blind, Ozbilic”

    Isn’t Ozbiliz off to Kaban? Agree with the rest though, especially Ricardo who has a Dutch call up.


    Has anyone created an EPL Fantasy for us yet?
    If not, I can create both the classic and head-to-head leagues.

    So far it seems like it has not been done…
    I will do it later today.

      1. i will be creating another EPL fantasy league too on that site very soon.

        stay tuned… and please keep reposting your league names and codes in the upcoming articles before the season starts next weekend to ensure everyone sees them!

  7. Hi Jan! Thanks for the update. I actually put in an order for a replica shirt in the KNVB store today. I also got some orange pants to go with it, so I’ll be all kited out for next week.

    Now I need to ask you, or anyone else knowledgeable and important question.
    What channel broadcasts Oranje’s games on Dutch TV. And do they show them as a good quality webcast. I’m planning on getting a Dutch based VPN service so country restrictions wouldn’t be a problem.

    I just need to know that there is a reliable, preferably high quality webcast available inside the Netherlands.

    Thanks in advance:
    Hup Holland Hup!

    1. I don’t mean to spam, but can someone please enlighten me about this.
      So far I know NOS has the rights to the EK and WK games, but nothing more. Do the qualifiers and friendlies count?

  8. PSV is the team to beat this season. They have a nice combination of superb young talents (Strootman, Narsingh, Willems, Mertens) and experiences (Van Bommel, Toivonen, Lens, Pieters, Marcelo, etc). But I think what makes PSV much better than the past two seasons is Dick Advocaat. “The Little General” is not only tactically sound, but he also takes in charge of the dressing room (unlike Fred Rutten). If there’s any doubt on PSV, it would probably on central striker role. Matavz is an okay choice, he hasn’t really lit up. Lens is not a bad choice, either, but hard to imagine he could load up 20+ goals per season.

    2nd spot in my book goes to Twente. I am positive “The Umbrella Man” has learnt a lot from Twente mini crash the second half of last season. Expectation is high now, despite losing key players like Luuk De Jong and Ola John. I think the new players they’ve brought in as replacements are very decent and more than capable to make noise. Tadic is one of the most underrated players in Eredivisie, exciting talent with plenty of attacking flair. Bjelland is/will be soon one of the most sought-after CD’s in Europe. The player to watch is Chadli, last season he was pretty quiet to his standard, mainly because of the injuries. When he’s fit, he is very dangerous. However, I think what will make or break for Twente is Leroy Fer. I have a very strong feeling this will be a break out season for Fer. He’s got a year under his belt learning the system, and will take a whole lot more responsibilities. And I am willing to wager that Fer will become a regular call-up for Oranje pretty soon. He is a unique breed, combative midfielder who has an equally-balanced attack/defense, and can go up and down the field with pace. He is the anchor of the team, so to speak. I think of him as poor man’s Alex Song in Arsenal, or Yaya Toure in Man City.

    Third place is Ajax. I am surprised De Boer has been pretty conservative in the transfer market. This might change soon, though, if they decide to spend money on Aissadi (which will make Ajax immediately a close contender for the 2nd spot). The key for Ajax is keeping their best talents in house, namely Eriksen and Anita. If one of them is gone, well, Ajax will be backpedaling a lot.

    4th and 5th places are between Feyenoord and AZ. Both teams lost key players, and I have not been impressed with the quality of the replacements they’ve got so far. I think Mathijsen to Feyenoord will be a welcoming news as the young team can certainly use a veteran presence. Elm is a big loss for AZ, a bit more they can handle methinks.

  9. PSV is a favourite, but I think Ajax will compete hard. I still think it is down to these 2 teams and Ajax still has a good chance. It is a long season.
    Perhaps Van Gaal and Oranje can learn the PK mentality from the women hockey team.
    Demi, thanks for the link. You guy should watch the 2 women football semifinal. They are excellent games.

  10. Thanks for the post Jan…

    The main pic is hilarious, look at Willems face.

    Aissaidi looks set to join Ajax, finally some signings for De Godenzonen..

  11. Netherlands Women’s Field Hockey team will play in the Gold medal game Friday Aug. 10th (20:00 GMT) vs. Argentina.
    (Yep, the same ones whose picture Jan posted on the previous thread.)

    Men’s Field Hockey team plays Great Britain in the 2nd Semi-final game later today (20:00 GMT). Final will be Saturday Aug. 11th (20:00 GMT)

  12. I said a few weeks ago that Dickie really assembled a nice team. Man can he deliver when he wants to, sadly not for oranje:P

    I still think ajax will be a threat in the league. If they manage to go far in CL (fingers crossed) they might slip up domestically.

    Anyone have any news on the coming belgium friendly? Lineups, tactics, formations? i know the initial 30 man list but that hardly helps me.

    Dirkie scored 2 for his new club, guess justyfing why he was selected.

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