Covid-19 impact and more news…

Eric Gudde, the KNVB GM on the photo. Symbol of Chaos.

Hi guys, hope you are all staying safe and sane without live football?

I was planning to make the Johan Cruyff 1990 post now, but the Covid situation deserves some attention – as commented on by some of you – and we had the news of Ronald Koeman’s hospitalisation as well.

To start with that, it is not clear what he has, exactly. Probably needs to have a vein clearance situation, as Ronald is known to enjoy the good life (wine, food).

He is given all the space to recover by the Federation and with our football agenda empty, he will get that time easily. People like his brother Erwin and Dick Advocaat already mentioned publicly that they expect him to return to his job, no worries.

The impact on the Dutch football scene of the Covid-19 situation is huge. As you will appreciate: most Dutch clubs are not wealthy and in the second tier – Keuken Kampioen Divisie – it is tough going.

Even a rich club like Ajax will get hurt, if this goes on too long and if we indeed have to play without fans for a long spell, it will everyone badly.

So the Dutch Federation decided to end the competition and as they believe there would have been time for the two relegation candidates to play themselves safe… So, in their infinite wisdom, they have decided not to relegate anyone and not to promote any club from the 2nd tier to the first.

As the UEFA does want to hear how the competition ended re: European spots, Ajax is the #1 (but not the champion) and goes straight into the CL. AZ will play CL qualification football with Feyenoord straight to the Europa League and PSV playing Europa League qualification, just like… Willem II. The Play Offs have been canceled and there is a fair chance that the Dutch Cup final  ( Feyenoord – FC Utrecht) will also be canceled.

There is a lot of anger about this amongst the clubs. Feyenoord probably the only club without any hang ups. Ajax wanted the title. AZ wanted a way to challenge Ajax for the title. PSV wanted the coefficient ratios over the last 5 seasons to be counted, so PSV would get the Feyenoord spot.

Cambuur coach Henk de Jong called this the “Blackest Day in Sports History” and that got him an interview on the BBC

FC Utrecht has the most reasons to complain, of them all. They had 1 game in hand, and 1 point behind Willem II. Their goal difference was better than that of Willem II. Based on this and on the coefficient ratios, FC Utrecht would have been the better choice to play European. Also, because they made it to the National Cup final.

RKC and ADO Den Haag ended up not being relegated. Good news for them. But both Cambuur and De Graafschap were miles ahead in the 2nd tier and would have been promoted in any other situation.

So, these clubs (Cambuur and De Graafschap) along with FC Utrecht are making their way to the courts.

People like Marco van Basten – independent as ever – have slammed the KNVB for their way of working: the outcome but also about the process used.

At some point, the KNVB wanted the clubs to vote for relegation of clubs or no relegation.

From the top of my head: 15 clubs said “YES” to relegation. 9 clubs said “NO” and the rest refused to vote (PSV, Ajax, Feyenoord, Groningen, Vitesse and others), as they “didn’t want to have a say in relegating their colleagues”.

FC Utrecht sad. RKC happy.

This tells you, that the non-voters actually did want the two bottom clubs to get relegated but they refused to say it. If not, they would have picked “NO”. Right?

But for some reason, the KNVB added the non-votes to the NO! Meaning that the majority allegedly voted NO to relegation. Which is just plain stupid.

I think the court cases are being held today/tomorrow.

The KNVB was capable of cancelling the competition because – as opposed to the situation in Spain, Germany and England – the tv money has been paid out in full, by Fox Sports, which is a good thing in a way.

So, in France (where they ended the competition as well) and Holland, the result of all this is anger, frustration and court cases.

Dutch consultants Hypercube have come up with an alternative plan, which would mean that all competitions will be played out after all!

They have pointed towards the World Cup in Qatar, which is being played in the Winter of 2022. So why not use this calendar year to finish the competition and start the new competition at the start of 2021. So use Calendar year as a season, instead of August till May.

Gini using the off-time to find out how his tools work…

Then, the Football Federations have the option to go back to the broken-calendar structure for football seasons after the World Cup 2022.

“This takes a lot of strain and pressure away from the clubs and the federations. The English and Germans want to finish the season whatever the cost, due to the tv money they need. The number of seasons remains intact. Every competition will have a winner, a champion and all decisions are made on the pitch and not in a board room or a court house”, so says Managing Director Pieter Nieuwenhuis. And the oft criticised winter World Cup in Qatar can suddenly be the solution we hoped for.

Nieuwenhuis: “This is way more sensible. Otherwise they’d have to plan competition games, European games and national team games from September onwards in a very full season, and if something goes wrong, we are all in deep doodoo again!”

Virgil van Dijk posted this

Hypercube also claimed that in 2023, the clubs/federations could decide to start with a short competition until the summer of 2023, and then go back to the normal structure, of August – May. “We calculated this through, as the clubs will suffer financially from this plan in the first months. We believe for Europe, there is a need for 8 Billion Euros to finance this. This is a lot, but if you take into account that the turnover of Football Europe is 30 Billion Euros, it’s not that bad. Surely, playing half a season in empty stadiums is even more costly.”

The UEFA and FIFA together have 3 Billion Euros in cash and could be guarantors. This would require zero subsidy money. Call it the Marshall Plan for football. “What we need now is a long term plan with solid financials, because if we just rush into this, certain clubs are at risk of going bankrupt.”

The big question though: what to do with players’ contracts, who now go from July till June.

“We don’t have all the answers. There are options, you could say: all players’ contracts will be shifted to the Jan – Dec format. Or, you could decide to keep the contract terms as is, meaning players will suddenly finish the season with another club. I think the international Players’ Unions will need to weigh in on this.

Memphis wants the cup in 2021

As for the Covid-19 impact on our lads… I don’t think there is any. Players like Memphis and Malen will have more time to get fit, and apart from Babel and Strootman, all our players will benefit from the additional time to get ready for the Euros. Blind can deal with his heart issue (we hope), as will Koeman. Zirkzee, Wijndal, Stengs, Boadu, Kluivert, Karsdorp, Bijlow and others will have a bit more time to build on their strength, while Marco van Ginkel might be joining in again as well?

A fit Koeman, a super motivated Memphis, Malen in form and Frenkie with a strong Barca season in his back pocket, why wouldn’t we win the Euros this time?

How are you guys doing? Share your stories below.



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  1. Thank you Jan, nice articles as usual 🙂

    Well here I am in Detroit, I a pharmacist in a hospital so I have to go to work and the area here is hit very bad!!!

    First few weeks I was ok without football, but recently I’ve been experiencing crazy football withdrawal symptoms I rewatched all ajax and oranje games for the last two years !!!

    March 2019 I was in Amsterdam and I watched Netherlands Germany in the arena , Netherlands lost 2-3 but still I loved the arena and the atmosphere there so yesterday night I rewatched the full match on footballia!!! I don’t know how long this will take but I know that I wanna go back to Amsterdam and watch either Ajax or oranje !!! This generation of Dutch players is too exciting to get wasted without football like this 😏😏

    1. Darn, Alaa, that sounds a little scary. I’d heard that Detroit got hit with a bad wave. I have alot of admiration for you guys working in the hospitals and in healthcare right now. Please stay safe.

  2. Thanks for this Alaa, wow. It is really interesting to read about your experiences.

    I am in Australia, and in a rural part on the coast, so there is hardly any lock down here. The beaches are open, cafes are open (not terraces, but you can get take away stuff) and life seems normal.

    THere are also so many rumours on line about how all the emergency hospitals in the US are empty and the death toll is exaggerated and this is all about Fauci and Gates pushing for forced vaccinations.

    Your view?

    1. Don’t fall for the loony conspiracy theories, Jan.

      COVID is a real pandemic. The death toll is vastly undercounted. Hospitals are jammed in waves as the virus spreads, so there are lulls… and these are the product of most people being smart enough to believe scientists like Dr. Fauci.

      During the Spanish Flu of 1918, things were much the same. And the same sort of bullshit was floated among the gullible and uneducated.

      Follow the science, not the conspiracy theories. The anti-vaxers are crazy.

      Mask up.

  3. @Jan,

    Those rumors are not accurate. That is the kindest way to describe them.

    The death toll here (77,000 as of today in the US) is real. There may be hospitals that don’t have many Covid 19 cases, and the occupancy rate in the hospitals and the ICU’s may be down where the waves have crested, but there are plenty of places, especially urban areas, where the hospitals are stretched, or as Alaa describes, “hammered.”

    Neither Dr. Fauci nor Bill Gate has suggested “forced” vaccines, and, based upon their histories and service, such attribution to them would be slanderous, except that the idea that they would do so is so ridiculous that it wouldn’t meet the legal definition of slander. Furthermore, there is no vaccine to be forced upon anyone. Any vaccines are a fair to long ways off.

    Some medical ethicists have written about the ethics of introducing the virus into otherwise healthy people to test the efficacy of vaccines in development. It has never been done, but the discussion was raised. If we get that far, and such trials actually did take place I am certain that anyone who participated would be a volunteer …Perhaps the pinheads who are floating such rumors read that story and have decided to extrapolate per their own paranoia/agenda.

  4. @ Jan, @ Andrew,

    the number of deaths is really high, and we are losing so many lives everyday!! now when it comes to forcing a vaccine I really do believe they are trying to push for a non safe vaccine!!! I agree with Andrew that Faucci is a guy with amazing history of research and expertise and I do trust him. But I feel there is this ‘hidden’ pressure for any kind of vaccine even without studying it enough to know if it is safe or not! vaccines take years usually or even decades to get approved, but now they are already talking about an “emergency” vaccine for this coming fall? something does not make sense!!

    1. trust me on this one. the vaccine is already there. there are just waiting for it to become a real pandemic. I mean the death toll raise to significant number so that when they release the vaccine,the demand will be at its highest. this is how it works in the Pharma tech industries operate.

    2. Hi Alaa! First, thank you for being in the front lines and I hope you stay safe. My question is: are all deaths regardless of cause considered Covid related? It feels like it. This is not a pandemic. Close to 300000 deaths worldwide in a population of nearly 9 billion is not a pandemic.They (whoever they are) want a vaccine out there so bad and they will get their wish. They have scared the shit out people, they want people to beg for it come fall. We are all guinea pigs and just part of the experiment. I feel terribly sad for my kid not to be able to have a decent graduation from HS and into college. This will be one of the saddest summers ever. All locked down. I am in NJ but I wish I was in a forgotten corner of Australia and away from this bullshit.

  5. Tete and Depay both are rumored to be on their way out of lyon.tete is confirmed and depay if the the decision to end Ligue 1 still stands with lyon not qualifying for CL.

    Surprisingly Roma has also put kluivert up for sale.

    Napoli also looking to scoop karsdorp.

  6. If you go down the memory line then the 98 squad will arguably go down in the history books as the greatest NT and also the greatest golden generation of all time.its a pity they missed out on the final other wise there is no doubt what so ever that they would have beaten the french in the final, which they eventually did in 2000 euros.

    My projection for NT winning on the big stage is based on that squad bearing in mind the depth, and the overall quality the team had including on and off the bench. There is no two ways about it and building the team around a handful of key players present day will not surpass expectation either but more feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by falling short at the tape.

    I have said this earlier only the midfield is the puzzle otherwise other departments are flourishing with upcoming talents who have the potential to replicate the greatness of the 98s. This is what my projection is minus midfield.

    Groeneveld,Dirosun and Bobby adekanye on the left wing.

    Boadu,Malen and Depay up front with lammers most probably as pinch hitter. Zivkovic coming in as last blossomer

    Stengs,Ihattarren and kluivert on the right wing

    CBs Van dijk, De ligt and questions asked.

    Wijndal,Bakker and sinkgraven at LB

    Tete,Dumfries and karsdorp on the right

    Cillessen, Bijlow, Bizot in the guard.

    There are few players who havent hit the ground rolling in NT but are active at competitive club level and have proven they just need that one break/call up with the current trajectory which will eventually come like Groeneveld,Malen,Boadu and stengs, who put in a big impression on their debut.I just hope who ever the coach will be is able to put in a perfect touch and mould a formiddable team like the 98s.

    For the midfield, they need a pure general for starters. Wijnaldum and VDBeek are good but lack the overall craftmanship of true AM like to that of sneijder,Vaart and Bergkamp. If you consider this guys to be untouchable, then present day midfielders like coutinho, De Bryne,Houssem Aouar,Nabil Fekir etc. Runners and who can keep the ball at feet for long.torpedo hitters etc. I cant see anyone right now who can fit this bill.xavi simons is a long way out and most probably in future it will be a battle between him and Unuvar.

    Secondly either frenkie’s duplicate or a course like davids.again as mentioned earlier Matusiwa is showing great trajectory but still needs to play at top level. Also lets not forget about Anita here who just faded away and failed to reach the intended expectations.

    So midfield it is folks. Hoping to see changes come with more options being experimented with some up and coming midfielders


    “How Sinkgraven became left back through Cruijffian thinking”

    Through Pieter Black Pieter Black
    In the new VI, Peter Bosz explains in detail how he, as a coach, draws inspiration from the Dream Team of Barcelona, ​​the team of Johan Cruijff who made a big impression in the early 1990s by linking attractive play to excellent results.

    The current trainer of Bayer Leverkusen comes with an example of Cruyffian thinking. At Ajax, Daley Sinkgraven – originally a midfielder – suddenly ended up in the left back position under Bosz . ‘The fact that Sinkgraven ended up there is directly related to Cruijff. When I was a trainer at Ajax, I had Tonny Bruins Slot as an analyst, ‘says Bosz. “He told me many stories about their time in Barcelona.”

    “Tonny gave me the idea to put Sinkgraven left back. He came up with the example of Sergi as the left winger. After Stoichkov arrived, Cruijff said: “We have to sell it.” Tonny disagreed. He was convinced that Sergi could play fullback. Cruijff said: “Try in second”. After a few weeks he came to ask how it was going. Tonny enthusiastically gave his analysis: He is fast, positionally good and has added value in possession. “Okay”, said Cruijff: “then I will put him in that position in two days against Galatasaray”. Sergi never left there. He has played almost sixty international matches in that place. Because of that story, we started trying that with Sinkgraven. “

    1. I watched a little bit of the Hoffenheim v. Hertha match (was hoping Dilrosun would be playing, but didn’t see him), and the start of the Moenchengladbach match…the atmosphere (lack thereof) will take some getting used to…

  8. Yep, 5 subs, but I think I heard that the substitutions can only come at a designated times…I’m assuming that this is only an accommodation for the present circumstances.

    Nice for Bogarde. He was a defender on the U17 team in Brazil. Rangy, athletic guy with some skills. Speaking of the ’98 team, I think he is Winston Bogarde’s nephew.

    1. Changes of coaches can be very disrupting for players especially when it comes to reshuffling based on preferences. When hertha had klinsmann as coach, Dilrosun’s trajectory was looking good. After he resigned things changed drastically under caretaker coach alex Nouri and and now coach Bruno labbadia.Maximilian Mittelstäd who used to be LB under klinsmann is now moved up and is being prefered at LW, relegating dilrosun to the bench, while 35 year old Vedad Ibišević has been prefered upfront to Dodi
      Lukébakio whom under klinsman was a starter. He now finds himself on the left wing.

      This is not what you wanna see happen when players are on a head start and then all of a sudden take a nose dive.

      This was him life, under klinsmann.

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