Saturday, December 27, 2008

If Nacional was relapse to old football in 1971, lets return… to 1970 (looks like I will never change the year?) Estuduiantes won Libertadores, but there was shift in Europe – The European Champions Cup was Latin property – Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese clubs dominated the tournament until 1967. Celtic (Glasgow) and Manchester United won the Cup in 1967 and 1968. The shift to the north was normal – after all the British Isles invented the sport. Milan reestablished the status quo in 1969. They trashed barely known finalist – Ajax (Amsterdam). Interesting, but accidental. Ajax rivals Feyenoord (Rotterdam) won the Cup in 1970. Looked like change? New clubs moving up? Well… everything was quickly forgotten under the big shadow of the great World Cup 1970. Feyenoord did not play total football, they were somewhat traditional. Surprise winners, but let’s see the next season – everything will be back to normal. Next year was Ajax’s first European Champions Cup. I don’t think enough attention was paid yet – they were noticed, but only that. Ajax won over ‘chance’ finalist and did not play the International Cup – hard to measure. Interesting team, surely… I am inclined to think that the Dutch were really noticed in 1972 – when Ajax won their second European Champions Cup; Holland’s national team was no longer outsider; and excellent West Germany won their first European title. Total football finally established itself and the Dutch ‘promising’ players became the superstars of the 1970s. As for Feyenoord in 1970 – just one time wonder (which they were not, but if we look from 1974 standpoint).

Feyenoord in 1969-1970:
Standing, left to right: Piet Romeijn, Eddy Treijtel, Eddy Pieters Graafland, Cor Veldhoen, Wim Jansen, Rinus Israël, Guus Haak, Theo Laseroms.
Sitting: Franz Hasil, Henk Wery, Theo van Duivenbode, Wim van Hanegem, Ove Kindvall, Ruud Geels, Coen Moulijn.
A standard team of the time: two foreign stars – Ove Kindvall (Sweden) and Franz Hasil (Austria, with 21 caps and 3 goals); few national players – Romeijn, Israel, Laseroms, Wery, van Duivenbode, van Hanegem, Moulijn; and the rest of solid professionals and promising youngsters (Jansen and Geels were not making the first team yet). May be Israel and van Hanegem were the most familiar names outside Holland, but even they were not regarded as European stars. The Swedish national centreforward Ove Kindvall was by far the most impressive name in the squad. And he was the only Feyenoord player to appear in Mexican World Cup 1970 [those were still ‘vegetarian’ days – national squads rarely included foreign based players. Sweden was perhaps the country with most ‘foreigners’ in 1970 – Kindvall, Kurt Axelsson (FC Brugge, Belgium), Tom Turesson (FC Brugge, Belgium), Jan Olsson (VfB Stuttgart, West Germany), and perhaps Inge Ejderstedt (I am not sure did he become Anderlecht, Belgium, player before or after the World Cup). How different from today…].

Feyenoord -ADO (Den Haag), August 1969. Ove Kindvall scores and ADO-keeper Ton Thie can’t do nothing with his desperate plunge.

June 1971. Scoring in the net of Haarlem. Kindvall was champion with Feyenoord and Dutch goalscorer of the season this year.

The moment of glory - Coen Moulijn lifts the European Champions Cup. Unless you are rather old Dutch, chances are you never heard of Moulijn. But you remember Ernst Happel Stadium from the European Championship 2008? Well, before he became stadium Happel was football coach – the very same, who led Feyenoord to their first European success.

Like his players, Happel was one of the stars of the 1970s and early 1980s – after Feyenoord, he coached FC Sevilla (Spain) 1973-75, was at the helm of FC Brugge (Belgium) 1975-78 (losing European Champions final to Liverpool), led Holland to second World final in 1978, and Hamburger SV (West Germany then) to their big years in the early 1980s. The Austrian coached HSV from 1981 to 1987. Happel was player before getting a sit on the bench – played for Rapid and Austria (both Vienna), Racing Club de Paris (France) in the 1950s, and in the national team of Austria, including the World Cup finals 1954. That is why today he is transformed into a stadium.