Sunday, November 2, 2014

Holland – business as usual. The slight decline was not entirely noticed yet, but the Dutch clubs were clearly not the dangerous predators they were in the first half of the 1970s. At home everything appeared as it used to be – the three famous clubs dominated. Ajax seemingly was able to rebuild, but the new squad was not all that strong. PSV Eindhoven maintained their position with the same familiar team – starting to age, but still strong. Feyenoord was starting their rebuilding. Still, these three clubs were much stronger than the rest and were relatively equal, despite their different situations. Perhaps the best thing about Dutch football was the high scoring: 2.85 goals per game average in first division and 2.73 in the second. That was the professional football, of course. Bellow it was the vast separated amateur football – little was known about it outside Holland and nobody really cared. So, a brief glimpse at it:
Be Quick – one of the many, often old

Be Quick – one of the many, often old, Dutch clubs, which did not become professional clubs and slipped out from spotlight. Standing, from left: G. Visser, A. v/d Tuin, H. Oosterveld, J. van Winsum, D. Osinga, A. Oosterveld, A. Hulzenbos.
Crouching: R. Jellinek, R. Boerman, T. van Dorst, Fr. Vogt, G. Janssen.
Most likely not really amateur, but separated from the fully professional leagues.
19 clubs in the second professional division – most of them small and modest. Like SC Cambuur (Leeuwarden).
Standing, from left: Nol de Ruiter - coach, Andries Roorda, Rudy Metz, Gerrie de Jonge, Klaus Roosenburg, Johan Groote, Andre Roosenburg, Gerrie Schouwenaar
First row: Jan Ferwerda, Ronald Lepez, Wim Goozen, Wiepie van Leijen, Eltje Hazelhof, Gojko Kuzmanovic, Herman Vreeburg.
The club was formed in 1964 and there was nothing more to add to it in 1979: they finished 15th. Leo Beenhakker coached them in 1972-75 – back then the name meant absolutely nothing. They also had a foreign player – obscure Yugoslavian named Gojko Kuzmanovic, who apparently settled well and spent years with the club.
Other clubs had glorious past, but no presence – FC Amsterdam were 9th.
Hard to believe that they were champions of Holland once upon a time. Well, not FC Amsterdam, which was found in 1972 after a merger of DWS and Blauw Wit, but still the merger brought the history of original clubs as well. History was all FC Amsterdam had. Heinz Stuy, the goalkeeper of the great Ajax, played his last two years of professional football for them, but he quit in 1978 – another bit of history.
So, what really can be said about the second division was the battle for promotion. The champions were directly promoted. The season was divided into four parts and the 'winners' of each competed in a final round-robin tournament for the second promotional spot. Four clubs fought for the highest place this season – FC Groningen came closest with 50 points. They were bested by Excelsior (Rotterdam) by a point.
Excelsior were old – founded in 1902 – but insignificant. They were and are the smallest club in Rotterdam, but have historic significance: back in the 1950s they were the leading club pushing for professionalization. Ironically, getting what they wanted helped them not – they played mostly in the second division and their greatest success until 1978 was winning the second division in 1973-74. 1978-79 was their second most successful year – they won second division for a second time.
Unlucky FC Groningen was joined by Willem II (3rd), Fortuna Sittard (4th), and Telstar (10th) for one more try. Small clubs, but all four had stronger years in the past. The mini-league was competitive, except Telstar – they won only one match: 3-0 against Willem II.
Telstar (Velsen) – obviously, the club named after a commercial satellite had not a team for first division. Standing, from left: Piet van Deudekom – verzovger, Hans Glas – physio, Jan Nederburgh, Hans Muls, Frans van Essen, Colin Ayre, Rob van der Meer, Coen Akersloot, Paul Stam, Rogier Krone, Martin van Vianen – coach.
Crouching: Fred Bischot, Joop van Toor, Koos Kuut, Harry Hegeman, Ab van Oorschot, Koert de Groote, Chris Knoop.
The young English winger Ayre did not help Telstar – as he did not any other club he was part of. At the end, two clubs finished with 8 points each and goal-difference decided the lucky winner. Fortuna had 7:4, Willem II – 9:5. Plus 4 vs plus 3 – a single goal won the day. The tournament was marked by 'exotic' incident: FC Groningen was leading 2-0 against Telstar, when a knife was thrown on pitch and the match was abandoned. It was finished later – 3-0 for Groningen, but they were not to go to first division. Willem II won, despite their loss from Telstar.
For Willem II (Tilburg) clinching a promotion was important success. They were ancient – founded in 1896 – and had glorious past: three times Dutch champions (1916, 1952, 1955). Good times apparently ended with the introduction of professional football... since 1955 their record mercifully can be called patchy. Relegated from first division in 1967, they just stayed down... after 12 years they were going finally up to top flight. Kind of ironic to be named after a king with military inclinations...