Tag: AZ

Oranje’s Future


Oranje U17 – Kosovo U17. Final score: 1-1

The last two squads of Oranje U17 won the European championship and Wednesday, a new campaign will start. Team coach Mischa Visser, taking over from Peter van der Veen temporarily, started the qualification with a match vs Kosovo, and they do so with 20 new names. These talents practiced twice against France and won both matches. This Kosovo also seemed to be prey for the Dutch talents, in particular when PSV midfielder Jimenez scored within 10 minutes with a shot from distance.

After that quick goal, Oranje has extreme possession, close to 90%, but they can’t create more chances. Kosovo plays terribly defensive. When Oranje fails to clear a ball, it’s a freak goal by a Kosovarian: 1-1. The home team can’t believe it. Visser immediately brings Xavi Simons on to the pitch.

Circus Xavi can start, although it already started when the midfielder exits the players bus. It’s unreal to see how popular the 16 year old is. This squad is full of talented young lads, but we don’t know any of their names. With Simons, it’s different. In the 100 meters from players bus to the dressing room, dozens of fans raced to Xavi for an autograph and when he starts his warming up, the excitement can be sensed on the stands.

Once Simons is on the pitch, Simons demands the ball continuously and is close to scoring, twice. First with a tremendous free kick and later with a shot that flies over the bar. After the game is over, no one talks about the strange stats. Possession 90-10. Attempts on goal: 21-1. Goals 1-1. The fans who are present all chase Simons as if he’s a Beatle. He patiently joins in on the selfies and joins his family once he can. After this Circus Xavi performance, one has to feel for the 16 year old who probably feels the pressure from the extreme hype to perform conform to expectations in the coming years.


Oranje U18 – Belgium U18. Final score: 3-2

In two weeks, the Dutch NT U18 will participate in the World Cup in Brazil. This might well be a historical tournament for us, as this group oozes talent! Peter van de Veen won the European title twice with one hand tied to their back. And against Belgium, in this friendly, at times it’s just sumptuous to watch these lads play. In particular, the combinations between  Naci Ünüvar and Mohamed Taabouni (see main photo) are of exceptional quality. Taabouni scores early after a trademark outside foot pass by Ünüvar, who repeats that feat once more later on. This team has so much football in it, that at times it all goes a tad too easily.

Belgium, with Wesley Sonck as the team manager, benefit from the this complacency and score twice from a counter. Jayden Braaf comes on as a sub and rectifies it all with two identical goals. Coming inside and placing the ball with his right into the far corner. The left winger started his season at Man City strong and it says a lot about the strength of this team that he started on the bench. Braaf gets the spotlight with his two goals, but man of the match is Taabouni. The 17 year old playmaker constantly draws the game towards him and always finds the right solution. AZ has another gem in their midst.



Oranje U19 – Lithuania U19. Final score: 8-2

NT manager Maarten Stekelenburg’s team is a week in Lithuania for the Euro qualification tournament and plays top drawer football. First, it’s Moldavia with 5-0 and last Friday they won 8-2 vs Lithuania. It’s the role of the Feyenoord players in particular that catches the eye. Seven of the eight goals were scored by players who are signed with Feyenoord. Cry Summerville, on loan with ADO Den Haag, scored four goals, while Azarkan and Burger also scored.

It offers hope for Feyenoord, whose youth academy has had some lean times recently. Five years in a row, the Feyenoord Academy was considered the best of the country, but the last seasons, AZ and Ajax is topping the bill. Of all the youth teams’ players, 55 in total, 13 are from Ajax and 13 from AZ. Feyenoord offers 5 players and PSV a mere 2.

A talented generation is coming through for Feyenoord, and it’s exciting to watch Cry Summerville play for ADO Den Haag, who can use some goalscoring capabilities.



Oranje U20 – Portugal U20. Final Score: 1-1.

In theory, Bert Konterman could well be the most fortunate coach at Oranje U20, with the ability to play Mathijs de Ligt and Donyell Malen, but both players have moved to the big Oranje and most likely foregood. Young Oranje has players who could also play for this team. Tahith Chong and Mitchell van Bergen are two more experienced players of repute but both players were not able to play due to slight injuries.

Konterman had to change his team on three spots and the lack of flow was noticeable. The Portuguese do all they can to stop Oranje playing and to suck the oxygen out of the game. The Dutch goal is the result of a dead ball set play. Ekkelenkamp is first to react when the Portuguese goalie spills the free kick of Obispo.

This Under20 team is a sort of inbetween-team. Players who can’t play for Young Oranje anymore can still play here and make minutes. The interest in the matches of this team is much less than with other teams. The time this team plays, for instance, is at the same time as the big Oranje, vs Northern Ireland.



Young Oranje closes the international week with a strong 4-2- win over Portugal and a 0-4 win over Norway. The matches resulted in one big AZ show. Five AZ players are in the starting line up and three claimed a key role. Koopmeiners, Stengs and Boadu showed what was clearly visible in other rep teams: AZ has gold in their hands.


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Ridge Haps wants to be Oranje’s left back

It seems we are doing nicely now, developing defenders and defensive minded players…. Some while back, it seemed we were great at developing wingers, strikers and playmakers… We always complained about the defensive strength of Oranje. Since the 1970s (Israel, Laseroms, Suurbier, Krol, Rijsbergen, Mansveld, Drost, Hulshof) we were never able to develop world class defenders. Frank de Boer, Danny Blind, Reiziger, Wijnstekers…all former attackers. The only real defender with world class capabilities was Jaap Stam. Now, with all that focus from the past decade on “better defenders”, we seem to have a list of potential world class players, from Van Dijk and De Vrij to Strootman and De Roon. From Rick Karsdorp to Riedewald, from Tete to Kongolo and Nathan Ake.

A player who escaped the spying eyes of most big club scouts but who is regularly touted as the coming man for Oranje by analysts in Holland, is called Ridgeciano Haps. Which I will call Ridge Haps from now on :-).

gijp haps

He’s the 23 year old left back of AZ Alkmaar, playing under the guidance of experienced defenders like Ron Vlaar and Stijn Wuytens and part of the weekly core group of players discussing football and tactics with coach John van den Brom.

His Roots

“I was born in Utrecht, like my sister. My parents are from Suriname, but they studied in Holland. My dad used to play football in Suriname but not at a high level. My mom was a very good basketball player. She did play high up, as a playmaker. Fierce and quick. I’m probably more like her, to be honest. She’s a very industrious type. Worked for Abn Amro for 40 years and always giving me advice.”

Early Start

“I didn’t play at a club or anything. My parents didn’t want me to. But I played school football and after one game a guy walked up to my parents and asked where I played. He was gobsmacked I didn’t play for a club. So my parents decided to give me a go, with the Zwaluwen in Utrecht (Swallows). After three weeks, Feyenoord came! I did a six week period there, with Karim Rekik and Annas Achahbar. They were allowed to stay, I wasn’t. I didn’t care, I think I was too young to really care. I went back to the Zwaluwen, I liked it there.”



“A year later, Ajax and PSV wanted me. I was delighted! I picked Ajax, as it’s closer to Utrecht. Every day, my dad drove me to Amsterdam and my first season was great. But I think my second season disappointed as Ajax let me go. This time, I was shattered. I felt like a failure. I thought my future as a pro player was gone. My parents helped me a lot. They said “stick the course, keep believing…” They were convinced there were other avenues to the top. That helped.”


“With my Ajax background, Elinkwijk wanted me. That is one of the best amateur clubs in Utrecht, with good youth development. I went there and the funny thing was that I was playing in a competition with AZ and Ajax as opponents. AZ immediately asked me for a test period. They had this tournament and I went along and played that with AZ. I was voted as player of the tournament and made a move to Alkmaar. By then, my parents decided to relocate to Amsterdam to support my life as a player. I played left winger and I was really good at that age. But after a couple of years, they moved me back, first to midfield, then to left full back. I was pissed off! I didn’t wanna play defender! I was a winger. Everyone started to explain it to me and all that, but I would not listen. Were they crazy ? I would not play in defence. I was horrified. Insulted. I needed to force myself to go to practice and decided to leave.”

u20 haps

AZ Again

“When I left, I got several calls from pro clubs but I had had it with them. I wanted to regain the fun of playing football. AFC called and I decided to go there. A top amateur club, playing against pro club youth teams. Still a good level. But I said: I will come, only if I am allowed to play left winger! And they said: sure. So I did and had great fun there. And at the end of that season, we played a friendly, against… AZ. It ended 4-4. I scored three goals and had one assist. The next day, the AZ Academy director calls me up. “Do you want to come back?”. And I did…  I missed the pressure of a pro club. I wanted to reach for the top. So I went back and 7 months later I was offered my first real contract. I made it. I was a pro player. I played for Young AZ as a left winger which means you train with the full senior squad.”

Gert Jan Verbeek

“After half a season, first team coach Verbeek wants a meeting. He said: “I like how you are developing, but I think there is a wonderful future for you as left back!”. Bam! No, not again… I had to process this. But Verbeek explained why he saw it like that. How left wing backs are the new wingers. How modern wingers play on their wrong foot and move inside. How I would have the ability to go for glory 10 times per 45 minutes. Running, crossing, dribbling… I took some time, and learned from games, focusing on Alba, Lahm, Zabaleta, that sort of players… Dani Alvez… And I saw that Verbeek was right. I realised that position allowed me to do what I want. I have a lot of energy that I need to get out of my system. You can do that on the back spot. I was 19 years old when I made my debut for AZ 1, versus PSV Eindhoven. I knew it then and there: I am a left back!”


The Future

“I’m a lucky guy. I have a good friendship with Max Huiberts (technical director of AZ) as he was my youth coach, years ago. And he was a creative left winger of course. He has a good relationship with my manager as well, I’m with Raiola’s cousin. And the plan is to make a move when the time is right. I’m ambitious. My contract runs till 2019 and I think by then I’d like to move to a Dutch top club, if they want me. And after that, when I prove myself there, maybe something in a bigger competition… But if the top 3 isn’t interested, well… I might make the move away earlier. Money is not my motivator. I want to reach as high as possible. But, the Championship in England these days is also interesting. I do think my game fits a bigger competition. And who knows where my ceiling is…”

haps run


“Am I the left back for the future in Oranje? Well, I don’t know but I sure hope so, hahaha. Oranje is one of my personal goals. I haven’t progressed past Oranje under 20. But, I think it’s realistic to think I’m close. Playing for AZ means you are on the radar, I’m sure. Schaars of Heerenveen, Vlaar who’s with me at AZ… I think I’m playing well this season, but as a team it’s not consistent enough. That doesn’t help of course. A step up will help me with my chances in Oranje as well of course. I think I’m close but not good enough yet. Btw, I’m happy Terence Kongolo is in the squad. He’s a good friend, we played together in the U20s and I think he’s doing really well. I told him, you’re doing so well. And he’s a lovely guy. He said: so are you hahaha. I really like it for him and wish him all the best. But, I’m ambitious and I will go for the left back spot in Oranje!”

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Jan's Predictions for Season 2013/14

Do you feel the tickling sensation already?

The competitions has started already….

Time for predictions.

I will offer up mine here.

Dutch Competition

If Ajax will keep Eriksen, they will be a strong contender for the title again, but I don’t think they will hang on to him.

And therefore, I believe Ajax’ hegemony will be broken. By PSV. I think PSV have bought the right players and I think with Cocu they will be able to snatch the title. We will see Wijnaldum and Depay shine and I hope Park will sign soon as he and Schaars will rule midfield. I am not a big PSV fan as you all know, but hey…Narsingh, Depay, Maher, Wijnaldum, Rekik, Willems… pfff…


Ajax will lose Eriksen before Sept 2 is my believe. Once Suarez is gone from Liverpool (he will go to Arsenal) Eriksen will go to Merseyside. Ajax will have a good year in CL but no prolongation of the title.

Feyenoord will be number 3, but will win the National Cup. AZ will establish itself high in the ranking, as will Vitesse. FC Utrecht will not sustain their level of last season.

The Dutch internationals in the Eredivisie will all do well. Janmaat, Blind, Maher, Clasie…no problems.

English Competition

Man United will not extend their victories. Robin van Persie will have a good season, but not phenomenal as Man U will struggle to find it’s rhythm under Moyes. Man City will not have a great season either. I expect Arsenal to win the title and Chelsea will be the fiercest opponent. Spurs will do very well as well, as will Liverpool. Swansea, Norwich and Newcastle will be favorites due to the presence of the Dutch players there. I see Arsenal win the title, Chelsea second, Man City United third, Spurs fourth and Man City will be fifth. Fulham will have a decent season with Stekelenburg in fine form. Pieters impresses at Stoke as does Vlaar at Villa. Pieters plays center back for the Potters. Heitinga stays at Everton but doesn’t get a look in.

Leroy Fer will have a cracker season at Norwich, as will De Guzman and Vorm in Wales. Anita will still struggle as will Van Wolfswinkel. Krul will have a great season too. I think Van Ginkel will see some action in the beginning but he will warm the bench in the business end of the season as such a move from Holland to the EPL is a lot to handle.

fer uk

I think Fer will take Van Ginkel’s spot in the WC squad.

Stijnis created a fantasy premier league for us on the barclays premier league website


Bleed Oranje classic league code: 355721-91979

Bleed Oranje head to head league: 355721-92311

with all the latest group off Dutchies moving in to the premier league v.Ginkel, Fer, v.Wolfswikel, Steks, Pieters

sure to be a great season and great way to keep tabs on there progress

German Competition

Bayern will win it again. Pep will have a tremendous season again, with Robben again in a main role.

Werder, Schalke, Leverkusen and Dortmund to challenge. Elia will resurrect his career and Huntelaar will simply do what he always does: score. Dost and De Jong will also impress. I can see Van der Vaart having a decent season at Hamburg but he will have a serious injury. Helping him to be fit for the World Cup.

Italian Competition

Ola John will move to AC Milan and have a cracker of a season for Milan, alongside Nigel de Jong. Milan misses the title, which will again go to Juventus. AS Roma will have a decent season but Strootman will not excel as he drowns a bit in the Italian fighting style of midfield football. Strootman doesn’t have the time he needs in Italy and it takes time for him to get adjusted.


Spanish Competition

Barcelona disappoints this coming season and the new coach will leave after this season. It’s too loose, not disciplined enough. Ancelotti on the other hand, wins the title and the CL with Real Madrid playing result football. Ozil loses his spot as Ancelotti goes for 4-4-2 and Modric gets a key position with Gareth Bale as free man on midfield.

World Cup Preparation

Van Gaal will pick Vermeer, Krul and Vorm as his goalies. Stekelenburg doesn’t convince him.

Van Gaal picks Blind as left back (knowing he has Pieters and Martins Indi as understudies) and Janmaat and Van Rhijn as right backs. For the centerback positions he picks Pieters, Martins Indi, De Vrij and Vlaar.

For midfield he picks Nigel de Jong and De Guzman for the holding mid spot, and Leroy Fer and Strootman as box-to-box players. Maher and Sneijder are selected for the playmaker role.

Robben and John are the left wingers, RVP and Huntelaar the central strikers and Narsingh for the right wing (knowing John and Robben can play there too). Van Gaal picks Van der Vaart as the wild card.

No Clasie, no Lens, no Willems, no Douglas, no Kuyt

clasie ginke

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De Zeeuw's career got kicked in the face

The most famous “foul” in the World Cup campaign was most likely Nigel de Jong’s karate kick in the finals. Why? Because it was in the finals, and because it was Nigel de Jong ( the Animal) against the princely Spanish…

But in the semi finals, a more horrific foul was committed. And this was an intentional one as well. And like De Jong, the guilty party was not punished with a red card. Uruguayan player Careces could finish the game, while De Zeeuw was subbed at half time.

Unfortunately, I can’t publish more than one picture on this post, but google “Demy de Zeeuw kick in face” and you can see pics of the aftermath, of his teeth, and of his confused look after the hit.

What was supposed to be the high light of the Ajax’ midfielder’s career, became a turning point.

Demy de Zeeuw never really recovered. The former AZ midfielder left for Russia, only to be signed by John van de Brom for Anderlecht, where he plays his football now.

It was Louis van Gaal who discovered De Zeeuw at Go Ahead Eagles. The AZ coach was scouting another player but picked up on the little midfielder, who – like Sneijder before him and Clasie after him – can be seen as a game accelerator. Van Gaal: “Whenever De Zeeuw gets the ball, he speeds up the game with a very smart through ball. Things happen once he is involved.”

AZ signed the midfielder and he had four great years there, until Ajax snatched him up. The midfielder made it to skipper at Ajax and impressed with important goals and good play. He made it into Van Marwijk’s Oranje squad and was moving up in the world, until that dramatic injury against Uruguay.

He still smiles a huge white smile, which he attributes to Caceres’ bycicle kick. “My teeth got better from that kick, haha, but my career suffered. My front teeth are all fakes now, crowns.”

The whole world saw that clash. The pictures were published all over the place and Mike Hutchings won the World Press Photo in the sports category. De Zeeuw: “I don’t mind the pic, but I can’t see the video of the kick. I can’t handle that. As I can’t stand watching players break things in general.”

The starting spot in the semis was supposed to be his high point. He himself looks back on it differently. “I think I only really played 24 minutes. That is when it happened. I was actually kicked out of the game. I can’t imagine now how I managed to play till the half time break. I can’t remember a thing. A disgrace they let me back in. My teeth were all pointing inwards. I think I played purely on adrenaline but can’t remember a thing. In the half time break, I went to lie down and I couldn’t get up… I blacked out totally….”

Once De Zeeuw returned to Ajax, things changed. “It took a while for me to get fit. The dental work had an effect on my overall fitness. I had all sorts of inflamations and I felt sick. I did play but I never played on my normal level. The game simply went past me and I ended up on the bench.”

This was the first time he had to deal with a setback. “My career was going well. From Eagles to AZ, then to Ajax, Oranje…. I did hope on a big club in a good league after Ajax but it wasn’t to be.”

He never heard back from Caceres. “But why would he? I don’t blame him. He was about to score a world class goal and I got in there and headed the ball away. He was entitled to go for it. I don’t think he was out to kick me in the face…”

But, more strangely, he never heard from the KNVB either. Ask him about the insurance… “Please don’t ask… I am in talks with the KNVB but I can’t see anything coming out of that. The federation hasn’t dealt properly with it. It’s weird though right? But that is football for ya. The biggest sports in the world but really amateuristic.”

The KNVB however, claims the insurance obligation is with the clubs. “The FIFA is very clear. The players need to be insured via the clubs. The first care was done by us and paid for by us, back in South Africa, but all the other treatments needed to be paid for by Ajax’ insurance.”

The medical cost are paid by the player himself. “These teeth cost 1000s of euros. That is the reason why I laugh a lot, hahaha.”

De Zeeuw went to Spartak Moscow in 2011 but failed to make an impact there. He never felt at home in Russia and was relieved when fellow country man John van de Brom signed him on a loan deal for Anderlecht. De Zeeuw didn’t start in the starting line up. “I was simply not 100% fit. I needed some work. But now, I am really happy in Brussels and would love to stay here. First win the title, than talk about a contract.”

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Who is Adam Maher? Meet Oranje's future no. 10

Adam Maher was on the radar of big clubs for years now. But the youngster decided to stick with AZ. He dazzles clubs every week and two weeks back he showed Pirlo and De Rossi what he can do too.

The midfielder is probably playing his last season in the AZ jersey. Ajax or PSV is the next station. “The bigger competitions will have to wait. I’m not ready to leave Holland yet.”

The story of a focused lad, who adores his parents.

“If I ever go abroad then my parents will come with me.”

Till death do them part, they will stay together, father Ider, mother Latifa and son Adam Maher. They still live in an apartment in Diemen, but soon they will move to the house Adam bought for the three of them. If everything goes well, they will to stay together for the rest of their lives.

Father Ider Maher: “I come from a place called Tinghir, situated in the south of Marocco. When I became 20, I moved from Morocco to France, but after a few months I moved on towards the Netherlands. That was in 1970. I lived with a friend in the Beilmer and was able to get a job with “Luycks Tafelzuren”, a factory in Diemen, where we produced mustard’s, different oils, pickles and mayonnaise. I even lived for a short time next to the factory. On Saturday we got Dutch language lessons, but in the evening hours I took extra lessons. The language was the most difficult. I understood little of this new society, did not read any papers, did not watch Dutch television and did not understand people on the street. It was some kind of jungle for me. Many Moroccans came with the idea of working in the Netherlands, making money and going back. I never had that idea. I just went with where life took me. In Morocco there was very little opportunity to work. That’s why I stayed here, to make something from my life. 10 years later I married with Latifa, who lived 50 kilometers from Tinghir.”

Mother Latifa Maher: “December 1980 I saw Ider for the first time, on the day we married. After the marriage I went with him to Diemen. It was tough at first, I had a lot of adjusting to do. That took a year. Then I got a job in a hotel and luckily Ider knew the way in society. Unfortunately there is no family from us over here, only friends and acquaintances.”

Adam Maher: “Until I was 16 I went every year to “our” second house in Tinghir. The last 3 years unfortunately I wasn’t able to go anymore as a result of short vacation periods in football. That won’t change the next 2 years hopefully. If we don’t have long vacations, we always go to our third house in Rabat, which takes far less traveling hours. It is always a pleasure to go to Morocco. Then I am with family, beaches, always nice weather, everything tip top.”

Ider: “It sounds like a lot: 3 houses. However here in Diemen we rent an apartment and the house in Tinhir is from my father. In 1985 we bought our house in Rabat for a couple of thousands of Euro’s. As a factory worker one does not get a big salary, so a house in the Netherlands was not affordable without a mortgage. The idea to have an own house when going on vacation and where we could invite family was important for us. That way we were no trouble for anyone and at the same time did not have to sleep in a hotel.”

Adam: “Tough my father and mother lived in Diemen for over a decade, I was still born in Morocco at Julie the 20th 1993. That is what my parents wanted. I don’t know if I would do the same in case I get children. For my parents it was different, because they came to the Netherlands. I could celebrate something like that in Diemen with my parents now.”

Ider: “If everything goes well, the plan is to stay together forever. Diemen is our base, whatever happens. If Adam stops with working, he will go back to Diemen and so will we.”

Adam: “I do plan to live on my own, but for now we are happy with the three of us. If I go abroad, then they will come with me. No doubt about that. They have always supported me. However we always want to be able to come back to the neighborhood. That’s why we are busy to buy a house in Diemen.”

Ider: “We are so proud that Adam does this for us. We could never have dreamed of it.”

Ider: “When he was young he practiced 3 sports: Judo, swimming and football. I picked him up after school time and brought him everywhere for 2 years. However football was really his thing. When we put a big basket with toys in it in front of him, he always picked something round which he could kick away. When he became 4 years old, we brought him to SV Diemen. Though he was too young to play games, he was allowed to participate in training. They immediately recognized him as somebody with special talent.”

Adam: “The moment I became member of the club FC Diemen, everything in life was build around football. My parents did everything for me, brought me everywhere. My father still watches every training of me. I still don’t have a drivers license, so he brings and picks me up everywhere. If we have played in Kerkrade, they drive back with the 2 of them to Alkmaar and then we go with the 3 of us back home. In the car we recap what went right and what went wrong. My parents are critical and that only makes me better. When I went from SV Diemen to Zeeburgia it became all more serious. I got into a team with the son of Sigi Lens, now my agent, and he saw my potential immediately. I think it was then that my parents started to believe into a professional career as well. However there is a big gap between hearing compliments and becoming a professional player. It’s not something you achieve from one day to the other. I believed in myself, but I am raised with idea, that after hearing a compliment you don’t become full of yourself. My parents told me that I played a good game, but also that I was not there yet if I wanted to become a professional football player. “You are at base level and you still have to go up”.”

Latifa: “We always go to every game of Adam: home, away, abroad, always. I don’t think we ever missed 1 game of Adam.”

Ider: “When he went from Zeeburgia to the AZ youth, the intensive years came along. I brought him often as the bus of AZ did not travel on the good hours for Adam. From 7.30 AM to 10 AM I traveled between home, school and AZ before I could return home. I worked the night shift with TNT. That was a choice, as then I could be there for Adam at day time. However Adam was busy as well! When he was part of the AZ second team, he was also often a bench player for the AZ first team. Then he traveled in the weekends with the first team, to play on a Monday with the second team and there were times he did not have a free day between 3 matchdays.
However he never complains, that’s the way Adam is. We live for the happiness and future of Adam. We never got the feeling it was all too much or that he should quit, as we saw him grow and become stronger. My only thought was: As long as he has a nice future and stays away from trouble on the street. At the moment I don’t do night shift anymore at TNT, that is no longer necessary.”

Adam: “I have the names of my parents on my shoes. My mother left and my father on the right shoe. That’s not very common, as most footballers put the names of their children or wife on their shoes. I have also shoe’s with my own name and number on them, but I loved the idea to put my parents name on it. It is my way of expressing that I am so proud of them and that I accomplished all this thanks to them.”

Adam: “When I turned 15, Lyon, Inter, AC MIlan and Barcelona wanted me. I had a 4 country tournament with Oranje under 16 in Paris and there were a lot of international scouts.”

Latifa: “The scouts of Lyon came to us when we sat in the stadium and asked us if we were the parents of Adam Maher. My husband also speaks French so he did the talking. When we traveled back to the Netherlands, the scout already called back, to check if the number was correct. That was after midnight… ”

Ider: “Adam was not 16 years old and as a result of that, he had no contract with AZ. In other country’s players are allowed to sign a contract at a younger age. It happened to us for the first time and we had no idea what to say. We did not realize exactly what was happening. We gave our number and said we would think about it.”

Ider: “In the car we took the decision he would not go abroad as long as he was still too young. It is for young boys very hard to succeed in foreign country’s. He would have start to all over again, prove himself again, go to a new school and learn a new language and culture. We talked about it with football friends, but almost none of them thought it was a wise thing to let Adam move abroad. We wanted him first to become strong in the Netherlands.”

Adam: “Once we were in the Netherlands I heard from the interest and we have talked with multiple people, also the clubs. Of course it were magnificent clubs, but in the Netherlands I could develop myself in a better way and that was the most important thing. If you come to a new club, then people should come to you to introduce themselves, not the other way around. No foreign adventure we concluded and as a reward I could sign a contract with AZ when I turned 16.”

Ider: “Of course it was a lot of money those clubs offered, but his development was more important. If everything would go well, money and top clubs would come in time automatically. If you choose fame, you will run a bigger risk.”

Adam: “Last season I started out on the bench and after 7 games I became a starter. From that moment on, I always remained a starter, I was often a decisive factor, became talent of the year in the Netherlands and became part of the Dutch national team. At the end of the last season I have made an ambition statement towards the club. If a big Dutch club would come, I would like to make the step up. When journalists asked me about it, I have been open and answered their questions in a straight way. I am not someone who starts lying about his intentions. I still stand for the way I have dealt with the situation and I think I am ready for a next step.”

Ider: “We have always told Adam, whatever you choose, we support you. If you think you can make the next step, then we stand behind you. In the end, Adam is the one who has to do it.”

Adam: “I have experienced this year a lot. Also when I decided to choose for the Dutch National team. I have taken the decision with my parents and have followed my hart. It is really beautiful to represent Morocco, but representing the Netherlands is best for my development. With them you play beautiful tournaments. Apart from that, there is the possibility of top clubs doubting to take me as a result of the Africa Cup period. Not everybody in the Moroccan community agreed with that decision. Everybody had his own opinion, while I think that many people would have taken the same decision in my position. But because they were not, they could burn me to the ground.”

Ider: “We have discussed it of course, but he wanted to go for the most ambitious option. And if that is your aim, the Netherlands is the choice.”

Adam: “I am Moroccan, I have been born in Morocco, but I have lived my whole life in the Netherlands and I also think about my career.”

Latifa: “I think the same way. For me it is about his future. He had to take this decision himself. At first, the family did not understand it, but at a certain moment they accepted the decision.”

Ider: “If he does well in the Netherlands or where else in the world, they are proud as well. That decision was a difficult moment, but after that, it was over. Our close family understood the decision, but the outsiders did not. If I have a discussion with these people and I see them getting angry, I just walk away.”

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The Big LVG Interview – Pt 2

This is where we proceed with the Big Louis van Gaal piece, from De Voetbaltrainer.

Still no pictures (other than the main one) and no way to augment fonts :-(.

So, after all those staffing steps, it was time to select the first squad?

LVG: “No. I first went and looked at our regular hotel. The one where we have been putting up our camp for years now (Oranje Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk). I felt the players were dispersed too much. Across several floors and all that. I want the whole squad together on the same floor. I also wanted a central room on that floor for the medical staff. And I wanted a bigger room for the players to hang in. You know, for entertainment. Or to just sit and talk and be sociable. Players love to play table tennis or air hockey or pool or play cards. Now, after the renovations, we find approx 15 players there at all times. In the past, players went to their rooms to play games or play cards… Call it a player home. I also heard that the players got agitated with the internet speed for their online gaming. So we went to the hotel management and told them about their wishes and they promptly executed all of it. We needed fast internet for our video analysis too, by the way. Not just for gaming, but in general. Webstreaming, etc.”

Ok, so then finally the first squqd for the Belgium game?

“Yes, and it was not hard. Bruno Martins Indi played very strong in Feyenoord’s CL qualification game against Kiev and I was happy to select him. I took the core of Bert’s group and Danny came up with most of the other youngsters. We didn’t spend too much time on this. Was quite easy, actually. We spend more time on the planning of our first get together. Every step, I thought through. What will I say? When will I say it. Where will I say it, etc. What is the best tone of voice. How do I create the right mood? When do I talk and when do I let my assistants take center stage. Which order of individual talks. How do we pick the new skipper. How do I manage the media attention? Which video clips do I want to show them?”

Can you tell us the program?

“We knew there were some issues after the Euros. The KNVB had issues they wanted clarity on, so did I and obviously the players had their own issues. Some of the relationships had turned sour. I normally would have started with a group talk. But in this case I didn’t. I wanted to ask the question: Why do players keep coming back when called up to Oranje, even after such an abysmal Euros tournament? The answer: because they all want to play at the highest level. They want to win trophies at the highest level. So, for me, it was logical with fantastic videos from the last 40 years. All the top notch games, the classic moments…. Then we followed this up with a video in which I presented my football vision, which is not unlike the way Barcelona plays. This is the hardest style of playing and most people say “you can do that at club level, not at national team level”. I don’t agree. We used to play like this. Spain plays like this. In Holland, we do think a bit differently about attractive football. We do not like all the extensive passing and passing that Spain does. We want to do business. Score goals. Be more direct. So we will not “copy” Spain, that is not my intention. We want to play Dutch. And we can. I explained what I want to do with our tactics and I explained the move back to 4-3-3. After that, I sent the players to their rooms. To rest. I wanted them to have it all sink in. Lying on their beds and visualising what this would mean for them.”

And then the group talk?

“No, then we did a media-genic training session, led by Blind and Kluivert. Lots of fun, lots of rondos, lots of playing with the ball. Good for the media. The media got some time to question the players and they were keen to hear about all the problems. But the players couldn’t say more than “we spoke about the football vision and we watched videos and put our objectives out there”. Then we had dinner and after dinner, we had the group talk. I didn’t want all of the players in it. Only the ones who had played at the Euros. I’m sure I would get all the insights from that group and it would have been manageable to do it with 23 players. So, with the fact that some players were missing, we ended up doing this with 13 players.”

So, what room did you use for it?

“A cosy room. Like a cigar bar, but without the cigars. Open fire, soft chairs, lights a bit dimmed. We were in half a circle. No one could escape it. Everyone could see the other ones in the eye. And I had a table at the head of the circle for myself and my notes. I started with video clips, again. The documentary about the Oranje 1996 campaign, under Hiddink. Lots of trouble. And 2 years later, he almost wins the World Cup with the same players. And funnily enough, Pat Kluivert was in that doco and also in the room with us. Which helped. Then we looked at the tremendous WC2010 campaign. And I had an interview with Wesley Sneijder, right before the 2012 Euros, in which he says “With this squad, we need to go for gold”. And then I said: How is it possible that this squad got sent home with zero points? I also asked them if they wanted us in the room (the staff- Jan) and I’m happy to say that they were fine with us there. We talked for two hours. After the talk, I handed out my manifest. The new rules. I have added a couple of rules but also deleted some of my predecessor. I supported our new rules with video images again. One rule is “no more headphones when you are in a public area”. In the bus? Fine. When you walk from bus to dressing room, not fine. It doesn’t look good, is my opinion. After all of that, we asked Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt to come and talk individually, to discuss the captaincy. They both accepted their roles after talking about it and we concluded Day 1.”

On to Day 2…

“We woke up at 9.15 am. That is standard. I don’t like different schedules. I don’t want players to have to look on pieces of paper all the time. We also have the matra: “slow down, take it easy, haste is not good”. That second day we had two individual meetings. One with Robin van Persie, as he wouldn’t start against Belgium and one with Arjen Robben, as he would have to play on the left, and not on the right. I figured those two could have been intense and difficult meetings but they were both very positive. I explained my motives and they accepted it. Both players can talk very intelligently about football, so they were both very pleasant talks.”

And then you do something extraordinary. You are the first team manager to rotate intensively between the two games in a double match weekend. Andorra and Romania. Totally different squads.

“Well, if you consider that both games will be different, you can utilise different types of players. Huntelaar is a different striker than Van Persie. Huntelaar is the best killer in the box. Van Persie is the better football player, who can also create. You can look at all positions and utilise the best player for that game. Some players have more skills in a narrow space, others do better with space ahead of them. I can explain all my decisions to the group and they seem to accept my motives. And I am very clear. And I am also sharp at training. If I tell a player I pick him for a reason and at training he doesn’t prove to the squad that I was right in my decision, I have a go at him. I say “I picked you because you hardly ever lose possession and now you start giving the ball away?”. I coach very personally. Up close and personal. In their face. I try to reach inside of them.”

But are you motivating or criticising?

“Everything I do and say is to motivate. To make them better. More aware. Every time I see the players, I give them an evaluation moment. I tell them where they stand, in my book. And so do Patrick and Danny. I need to make them better. Or I need to make sure they perform better. And I tell them: I am giving you tools to become a better player. It’s not personal. I am not angry or negative. I see that there is room for improvement. I explain all players how I want to use them. Last time, Gertjan Verbeek of AZ was annoyed that we told Adam Maher we see him as a number 10. In Verbeek’s system, Maher plays right midfield. So what? Verbeek has different players at his disposal and has a different vision. I say it like I see it. In our midfield, we have one more static defensive midfielder, who is the anchor, we have a more penetrating player who can go from box to box and we have a creative shadow striker. I see Maher as that player. Verbeek uses his midfield differently.”

But what if Alex Ferguson decides to use Van Persie as a leftwinger? Will you then do the same?

“It depends of course, but theoretically: yes. If Robin would play a whole season in that role, we’d have to put him in the left winger category and he would have to compete with the Arjen Robbens of this world. But…it’s silly speculation. Which I normally don’t engage in. I leave that to the media.”

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And finally we can start the competitions…

I said it before, for me the competitions haven’t really started when everyone is still trying to sign or sell players… It’s so weird… You can’t expect players to commit fully when they know their clubs want to offload them or when you know you might be packing your bags for another country…

It definitely ruins my football pleasure. And in the meantime, some of the biggest games of the season are being played. Before September started, Feyenoord was already kicked out of the CL qualifications AND the Europa League. Theoretically, they could have signed Messi, Rooney, Van Persie and Pirlo on the last day of the transfer window but that wouldn’t have helped them in Europe… Weird.

I repeat (ad nauseum, I know and I apologise 🙂 ) please, either shorten the transfer window (less time to play games) or start the competitions at Sept 1.

So, to give you a brief overview of all relevant (as far as I’m concerned) transfers of this last transfer period.

Raf van der Vaart returns to HSV. The playmaker cost Spurs 3 Mio Euros if I’m not mistaken (or 5?) and is sold now for 12M. Dembele and Sigurdsson will compete for his spot.

Nigel de Jong is off to join AC Milan, like many Dutchies before him. The Man City destroyer looks happy when he visits the fashion capital of Italy.

Ibi Afellay joins Schalke 04 on loan, and is reunited with former PSV chief Huub Stevens.

Gertjan impressed with Hiddink’s work

Greg van der Wiel is off to Paris. Wealthy PSG will pay a healthy 6 Mio euros for the player who would have walked out of the Arena for free in a year’s time. Well done Ajax. Ajax makes more money this period, as they can claim 700k for Nigel de Jong’s and Raf van der Vaart’s moves.

Funnily enough, Feyenoord will not get any euro from Van Persie’s move from the Gunners to Man United. Only international moves count, which obviously is stupid. The multi million deal for Van Persie would have netted Feyenoord a cool million euros, which they would have gotten if Robin would have gone to Juventus, for instance.

Ajax has done very good business, as they will sign the transfer free Ryan Babel for one year, allowing him a opportunity to shine and make himself attractive again. Frank de Boer already lamented the physical frailty of Boerrigter and Sighthursson and with Babel has a powerhouse upfront. Ajax also signed a number of high potential talents from Denmark and Eastern Europe.

Feyenoord did a deal with FC Twente. Jerson Cabral was on his way to Swansea but decided against the EPL and goes to Twente instead. His mate Leroy Fer interfered. Twente has offered winger Wesley Verhoek to Feyenoord. The stockey ex ADO player could well become a cult hero in De Kuip. Former AZ striker Pelle will also join Feyenoord on a one year loan from Parma. The Italian striker could never impress at AZ but does have good memories of working with Ronald Koeman.

All this came too late for Feyenoord’s European return. No CL and no EL groups stage football for the former Giants. Despite a courageous game in Prague, Spartak simply was too strong and a cheap penalty signed Feyenoord’s fate. AZ was simply taken to the cleaners by Hiddink’ Anzhi in an open game in Alkmaar: 0-5.

Ronald Koeman: “We are simply not good enough. We play along nicely at this level and we do create opportunities but we lack quality and experience to kill off games like this. It is how it is. Small steps forward.”

Gertjan Verbeek: “Last week they gave us the impression we could maybe get something against them… But tonight they showed their real class. They are 3 levels better than us at any aspect of the game. Every opportunity is a goal with them, today. As opposed to us. We have nothing to expect against an opponent like them.”

Heerenveen was totally toothless at home against Molde. Not really highflyers, but Marco van Basten’s side could have used San Marco as a striker instead of a coach. And without the hosts scoring, the visitors decided to take the initiative and executed the Friese pride. Marco van Basten was livid. But not towards his players. Towards the club management. “I feel let down and screwed over. We sold our top forwards for quite some good fees and I was promised half of that money to invest. Instead I only got players on loan deals and free transfers. You can’t expect to maintain a sub top spot like this. I feel let down. I don’t blame the players. They did what they could. But I won’t throw the towel. We’ll simply do what we can, but a subtop spot in the Eredivisie is too much to ask for this season.”

Leroy impresses at Twente

PSV had no problem whatsoever. The second tier team (Engelaar, Manolev and youngster Depay, Wijnaldum and prospects Van Ooijen (scoring two) and Zanka) won 9-0 against Zeta, making it 14-0 on aggregate.

FC Twente had to dig really deep to get through, after losing 3-1 in Turkey. In the “Hell of Enschede” the game went into extra time and a very late goal by Leroy Fer, always important in big games scoring big goals, Twente was able to progress.

Oranje coach Louis van Gaal must have liked Fer’s development over the last weeks, as the Twente midfielder is in the Oranje squad for the Turkey game, along with Feyenoord debutants Clasie and right back Darryl Janmaat. Twente defender Douglas has been left out of the squad (although he was on the prelim list)… Van der Vaart, De Jong, Afellay and Gregory van der Wiel (all focused on getting to a new club) are off the definite list. Vurnon Anita, Khalid Boulahrouz, Ola John, Luuk de Jong, Siem de Jong, Adam Maher, Stijn Schaars and Ruben Schaken are also dropped.

This is Van Gaal’s elite:
Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Bas Dost (VfL Wolfsburg), Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (FC Twente), John Heitinga (Everton), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahçe), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Luciano Narsingh (PSV), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Arjen Robben (Bayern München), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Kevin Strootman (PSV), Nick Viergever (AZ), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Jetro Willems (PSV).

And lastly, some more positive news (….wink wink…). The CL draw.

Ajax is in the group of Death. Why not? After all the drama this summer at the Euros and the demise of AZ, Heerenveen and Feyenoord, why give Ajax a break, right?

Real Madrid, Man City and Borussia Dortmund. Three champions. Spain, England and Germany. And Holland of course. Can this draw get any tougher? Why didn’t they add Juventus too?

Poor Frank de Boer. Poor Ajax. Another anonymous season in Europe…


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Let's take Europe seriously!

This midweek saw our top clubs – sans Ajax of course, as they are qualified to play CL – compete for a spot in the Europa League group stages.

And bar PSV, they all disappointed.

Heerenveen played away against Molde in Denmark and lost 2-0, playing tremendously lacklustre. Coach Van Basten was furious after the game and needs to make sure his team starts to respond to his coaching.

FC Twente, so successful in the EL in recent years, lost away against Bursaspor with 3-1 despite being 0-1 up at half time. AZ, impressive last season, lost in Moscow to Hiddink’s Anzhi.

PSV had no problems “owning” Montenegro’s Zeta, winning 0-5 away. A record score for PSV in Europe, but hardliner Dick Advocaat was not impressed: “If you look at the chances we had, we should have won this 0-8, at least. We are too easily satisfied.”

Feyenoord played Sparta Prague, a strong opponent, and the visitors were 0-2 up at half time after an insecure and spineless first half of the hosts. Playmaker Jordy Clasie was man marked during the game and it took center half Martins Indi – yet again – to lead the comeback of the Rotterdam team in the second half, with Nelom scoring with a distance strike and sub Anass Achahbar scoring in the dying seconds with a sweet backheel flick. The Kuip stadium exploded, with Feyenoord at least having a chance to progress.

And Feyenoord is the last team in Holland to win a European cup. Led by Bert van Marwijk and skippered by Paul Bosvelt. Feyenoord beat PSV, Glasgow Rangers, Freiburg and Inter Milan until defeating Borussia Dortmund in the finals.

But it appears that the Europa League doesn’t hold any priority for PSV, AZ, Feyenoord and Twente, who will all rest certain players for the Eredivisie games, as these clubs focus on a position in the top 2 ( giving them a chance to play CL football). Paul Bosvelt has difficulty stomaching this position.

“Last year, with Twente vs Schalke 04, Mc Claren rested 5 starters for this game. Twente was focused on winning the title and didn’t want to give it all for the EL. Unbelievable. This strategy led to nothing. I never understood this “resting” tactics.”

“I think it’s naive, to do that. We are the only nationality to think in those terms. You need to be able to focus on more than one goal. It’s not “either or” but “and and”. This is how the big teams and the big players think. I never wanted to rest. I wanted to play! Players need to be fit, so they can play 50 games. If you play European games midweek, train less. And give it your all. If you fail, too bad. There’s always next year. But you have to go for it. You have to believe in it.”

Bosvelt was the last skipper to hold up a European cup for a Dutch club. “We didn’t start out that season thinking we’d win it. Of course not. Our group was fairly strong. When we came out we knew we had to play at least 4 massive opponents. But Rangers was doable. PSV always is doable. And Inter Milan is normally too strong for us, but once in a series of 10 games, you can win it. And you need to make sure you play that one unique game. And if you reach the finals, anything goes…”

Do you believe Feyenoord didn’t have the faith against Kiev. “I didn’t like the mentality I saw. They played as if Kiev was Barcelona or Chelsea. All that respect. Why? They didn’t need to lose against Kiev. But they want to be the underdog in Rotterdam. Always moaning about lack of funds or needing a striker. If you talk like that, lack of confidence will enter the picture. And you saw it: two players free before the goalie and they miss. It’s a mental thing. You need to be able to be 100% in the game, in Europe. We seem to lose games on mental grounds. You saw it at the Euros too. It’s part of our game. Twente lost many games in the last minutes. That is not a coincidence. This is where we need to work on.”


“By realising it. By discussing it. By using these examples and making them debatable. And by adapting to the rhythm. If you play on Wednesday, you simply train less but you use the top name players. You need to take the European competition seriously. Sometimes it seems like we are too weak, too junior. If Feyenoord plays Kiev, we have a lad like De Vrij in the back four, they have four night club bouncers. I don’t think money is an issue. I think preparation, mental coaching, focus, those things are key. Wanting it more than the others.”

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The Dust is settling….

With Oranje’s and Louis’ first defeat behind us, the most important competitions have started… Eredivisie had weekend #2, the EPL has started (it takes time for me to get used to this…) and the Bundesliga and La Liga as well.

Game on!

Bring it on!

Breaking news: Alexander Buttner, the man who could have been Oranje’s left back at the Euros (ex-Ajax, now Vitesse), signed a 5 year deal with Man United!! Obviously, Robin van Persie’s signature overpowered the news of Buttner talking to the Mancunians, but Sir Alex (and Rene Meulensteen) believe Buttner is one of the best left backs in Europe. I’m sure he’ll be nicknamed Nicky ( after Nicky Butt).

The other BIG Dutch signing by Sir Alex: Buttner…

Interesting developments in Eindhoven, where PSV coach Dick Advocaat lost his first game, as a result of a lacklustre performance, and drilled a thunderous response from his team in the second game. But PSV might lose two key players before the end of the month, as Toivonen is put in the shop window and striker Matavz might go to Benfica. Good news for Wijnaldum if this happens, as the ex-Feyenoord talent will claim the number 10 position.

Ajax had an easy afternoon away at NEC, with the hosts gifting three goals in the first 30 minutes of the game. Impressive performances by some youngsters in the Ajax’ team (Ricardo van Rhijn, Mitchell Dijks’ debut) and a brace by new Swedish forward Sana.

Feyenoord and Joris Mathijsen look back at a disappointing debut together. Against Heerenveen, the ex-Hamburg defender got red-carded after a tackle in the area on the Heerenveen center forward. Despite Mathijsen playing the ball, the ref judged it to be a tackle on the legs of the opponent and gave Heerenveen a spot kick (and Joris a red). Earlier on in the game, the ref should have given Feyenoord a penalty kick for a blatant hand ball but didn’t. Ruben Schaken bulldozered his way through the Heerenveen defence in the last minutes and equalised so the match between mates Koeman – Van Basten ended in 1-1.

To quote my late friend Finnster: “A football player called Anita…??”

With PSV, Ajax, AZ and now Feyenoord dropping points, FC Twente leads the way as the only club with 6 points after two games. I saw all the top teams play this weekend and have to say: AZ looks REALLY good… They could won their game 9-0, with ease (only won 3-1 as it was). Altidore is a decent striker, he scores goals ( a brace this time) but misses a lot of opportunities as well. But so did Martens and Maher, to name two.

In Spain, excitement on day 1. Barca winning with Villa and Messi on target while Real Madrid ( sans Modric still) couldn’t get past Valencia. It’s game on there!

In Germany, Dutch goals. Luuk de Jong scoring against his own club in the European game vs Kiev… And Elia scoring for Werder Bremen last weekend.

In England, the first weekend is behind us and it does take some time for me to get used to Spurs without Modric, Van Persie in a ManU jersey and Liverpool without Kuyt. Everton doesn’t seem to miss Cahill and Drenthe, but I do… NY Red Bulls benefitted from Cahill’s goalscoring already and West Ham United apparently is out to sign Royston Drenthe.

Martin Jol’s Fulham and Newcastle (the new club of Vernon Anita) want to sign Twente’s Douglas while Assaidi received jersey number 11 at Liverpool.

All these movements will turn out for the best. Elia, Anita, Drenthe, Buttner…

I’m sure Oranje will benefit from all of this…

Elia in Bremen

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Billion $$ for Dutch Eredivisie!!

While the maligned Dutch hockey men are giving the Brits a severe beating at the Olympics ( 9-2, well done!) I am writing this post on what might well be a turning point in Dutch football.

The big news, only days before the Eredivisie starts, is not about a transfer or Louis van Gaal or about Feyenoord missing out on the CL. It’s about a multibillion dollar man from Australia putting his money where his mouth is. And sadly, this guy isn’t me. (yet)

Through my football contacts in Holland I was aware something was brewing, but since yesterday we know it’s about former Aussie Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network who pay 1 Billion euros for the right to broadcast the Eredivisie for the next 12 seasons.

Keith Rupert Murdoch (81) is seen as one of the most influential media tycoon on the planet. He is currently the number 106 on the Forbes list of most wealthy people on the planet and he’s the major sharegolder of News Corporation. The media tycoon was born in Melbourne but became a US citizen in 1985.

Murdoch made a name for himself in Australia first and become a global name when he bought the infamous News of the World and later on The Sun and The Times.

In 1985 he acquired the Twentieth Century Fox film studio and this deal forced him to become a US citizen. Fox is currently one of the biggest tv networks and BSkyB is also part of the Fox family.

His image got a dent last year/this year when it was made known that reporters of his News of the World hacked into computers to obtain private records and to manipulate the news in order to sell more advertising and editions.

Murdoch now acquired the Eredivisie Live channel and will expand this – most likely – into an American-type show with entertainment and all.

Murdoch will have the rights to live and high light footage but as he did in other countries, he will most likely make the time gap between both broadcast wider (time-slicing) in order to force more people to get a subscription to the live games. The highlights will also be seen on the free-to-air network, as decreed by the Dutch government.

Currently, the high lights are with the NOS ( Studio Sport) but the NOS CEO already spoke of a media revolution and admitted it will be tough for the NOS to hang on to the rights for high lights.

Jan de Jong, NOS CEO: “It’s like someone bought Rembrand’s De Nachtwacht and will take it out of the Rijksmuseum, where you can see it for free, and who will show it now in his private collection for a hefty fee. We do like to show the high lights of course, but we can not compete with Murdoch and we don’t want to.”

Dutch sports marketing guru Frank van den Wall Bake: “Murdoch will most likely use this sports channel to add more sports. In terms of pay tv, Holland is a toddler. The consumer will be happy to pay more for great broadcasts. The 7 pm high lights will most likely shift to 9 pm. If you pay a bit more, you can get the live games, plus a juice game at 6 pm and the high lights at 9 pm. I don’t think this will result in too much commotion.”

Most sports experts in Holland see this deal as the saviour for Dutch football. Media expert Anton Lippold comments on the unexpected deal: “The competitive position of the big clubs will become much stronger. Finally, tv income will make a huge jump and the clubs will be enabled to compete better. Murdoch has big plans for Dutch sports and it won’t stop with football. Fox wants to own most international football competitions and believes the Dutch competition is really interesting in quality for the viewer.”

As an example, today Ajax receives 3 Mio euro tv money every season, in the new situation, clubs like Ajax will get close to 8 or 9 million euro.

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