In the end of the 1990s, a group of young players was developed under the management of youth director Co Adriaanse and his right hand man, Jan Olde Riekerink.
Two players made their name, relatively quick: Cedric van der Gun and Andy van der Meyde. The first, a mercurial prolifically scoring midfielder and the latter a typical winger in the style of John van ‘t Schip and Robbie de Wit.
Not much later, another “Van der” made his way into the squad: Rafael van der Vaart, with his buddy Wesley Sneijder on his heels.
But where Cedric van der Gun saw his career impeded by a very serious knee injury (he’s back playing pro football for FC Utrecht under Jan Wouters), Andy van der Meyde’s career went stellar (Inter Milan), only to crash and burn via Everton and PSV. Here’s a look at his life, based on sex, drugs and rock & roll…
The former Ajax winger published his biography this week. The 33 year old ex Oranje winger lost control over his life in 2005, when he left Milan to go and play for Everton in Liverpool. “I made good money in Milan but Everton offered me 37,000 euros per week. Double what I made in Italy.”
Van der Meyde thought he was in paradise. “I immediately bought a Ferrari and went to celebrate at the News Bar, a popular spot in Liverpool. After a couple of hours, with too much alcohol in my blood I drove to a strip club. Getting drunk in a strip club in the center of Liverpool is not smart. But, I had a strong desire to find naked girls. I saw this brunette and wanted only one thing: sex. And after I had sex with Lisa I was addicted. She was wild, crazy and horny like horse.”
The affair cost him his marriage. His wife hired a private eye who photographed the player with his stripper girl. “There are some pics and movies of me having sex with her. My wife asked me if she was good in bed. A day later, I had to say farewell to my daughters. What an idiot I was….”
The winger, who only played 10 games in three seasons at Everton discovered cocaine, apart from women and hard liquar.
“I hung out with Lisa a lot and in her world, cocaine was normal. When she turned 26 year old, we had a little party. Suddenly I got sick. I only had two beers by then but I had to vomit and gave up blood and I lost consciousness. I woke up in hospital. They probably gave me shit drugs…”
At Everton, coach David Moyes tried to get him disciplined. He once got a 30,000 pound fine for being in a bar two days before a game. Some days later, Moyes and Van der Meyde almost ended up in a fistfight. “Moyes grabbed me by the throat and yelled at me: at now you will start practising.”
From that moment on his life was on a highway to hell. “I was once partying in Manchester. I had downed a full bottle of rum. I got in my car and went straight to practice. I wasn’t able to keep the liquor in. Strangely enough, my tests were all fine in those days…”
His constant battles with his girlfriend Lisa and the illness of his daughter, he got insomnia. “I drank bottles of wine and rum on a day and never got tired. I started to take sleeping pills to sleep. I couldn’t sleep without them. I was addicted. And they were pretty strong. You needed a prescription for them and I simply stole them from the club doctor’s office. For two years.”
“My friends had the solution: cocaine. I took coke and alcohol and partied seven days a week. I couldn’t concentrate on football or anything else for that matter. Partying was what my life was about. Liverpool is dangerous if you don’t now how to control yourself. I realised Liverpool would kill me. I needed to leave.”
This was in 2009. But his move to PSV in 2010 was not a success. He didn’t play one single game. Van der Meyde is back in Holland for a couple of years now and totally clean. He hopes to return to football soon as a coach.