Saturday, February 11, 2012

Since PSV Eindhoven won a double thie year, the Dutch Cup finalists got lucky – they were to play in the Cup Winners Cup, a rare occasion for Roda JC.
The club from Kerkrade was small an unasuming: since mid-1950s, when ‘De Limburgers’ (then under different name) won the Dutch league, there was no even partial success. Cup final was big thing in Kerkrade, and the boys used the opportunity the best they can – and they almost did it, losing the final 0-1 in overtime. Perhaps the final was more telling about the relative strength of PSV Eindhoven… the ‘new Dutch miracle’ barely clinched victory over nobodies. As for Roda JC – nobody was seeing them as uo and coming, but the modest team deserved respect.

When lost Cup final is just about the greatest success in about 20 years, it is obvious the losers were small club. And there was really nothing to brag about Roda JC – they had only two players worth mentioning: Dick Advocaat (thanks to his current reputation as a coach!) and Dick Nanninga, who gained some fame during 1978 World Cup. In 1976 both players were not making waves and hardly known, which speaks more about Roda JC’s spirit this year and places more question marks on the possible greatness of PSV Eindhoven. Anyhow, such thoughts are relative only in large perspective – Cup tournament follow their own logic and are full of surprises. When the season was finished, Ajax and Feyenoord were empty-handed, literally playing second fiddle in Dutch football. Was a sign of long-term decline?