You’ll Never Walk Alone: a Myth at FC Twente

As Sarah wrote some time ago, right before every home match starts the FC Twente supporters sing the You’ll Never Walk Alone from Gerry & The Pacemakers. What the supporters mean to convey is that they will support their team no matter what; in good times and, perhaps especially, in bad times. The past weeks have shown that that was a lie. The vocal supporters of the FC Twente crowd, often referred to as ‘Vak-P‘, named after a stand in the previous stadium, are what one may describe as “fair weather fans“.

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Please, Sven (Kramer)?!

Lance Armstrong’s exposure sprouted a renewed attention for doping in sports. Firstly, of course, within cycling, but recently the debate around performance-enhancing drugs intensified with regard to other sports as well.

For instance, Christophe Rochus stated that he believed that doping is significantly present within tennis, pointing a hesitant finger towards Rafael Nadal. Although this may be the opinion of one player, there are more disturbing signals. Roger Federer called for more doping tests in tennis, since “some substances can’t be discovered right now.” Andy Murray agrees, but adds “don’t accuse me or my rivals of doping.” (Where have we heard that before?) James Blake said something that, to me, sounds sensible: “[we should be] realistic with this much money involved, $1.9 million for the winner of the U.S. Open, people will try to find a way to get ahead.” Continue reading

Two Scary Hours on a Football Pitch

Last Sunday something terrible happened on a Dutch football pitch.  After a match between two amateur, youth teams, three boys (two 15 year-olds and one 16 year-old) beat up the linesman of the other team. The linesman, 41 year-old Richard Nieuwenhuizen, suffered blows on his head and neck, causing severe brain damage. He passed away a day later.

Discussions now focus on ‘violence on the football field’. Let me be clear. I totally agree with almost all measures that have been and will be taken to address what happened this time and to (try to) prevent such things from happening again. This weekend, all amateur football matches in the Netherlands have been cancelled. Meetings are organised at many clubs to talk about what happened. This weekend, professional teams will be wearing black mourning bands and will observe a moment of silence before their games. It cannot get enough attention. Continue reading

Football: Replace the 90 Minutes Official Time by 65 Minutes of Actual Playing Time

Which football supporter has not been irritated by it? Two football teams play each other. The one team (in my memory often an Italian one) is happy with the current score, the other is not. The former team tries to survive the rest of the game without conceding a goal. An effective strategy: don’t play at all. This is referred to as the practice of  running out the clock, stonewalling, killing the clock, stalling, time-wasting, or sandbagging. Continue reading

Ronald Koeman is Right

The past days, some commotion has been caused by Ronald Koeman, trainer of Feyenoord, who benched his player Kelvin Leerdam. Leerdam still has a contract with Feyenoord until the end of the (football) year, and refuses to sign another contract. Feyenoord thus risks losing him without receiving a sum of money. Koeman therefore decided to not let him play anymore for the first team, despite his qualities as a football player, which otherwise would have earned him a spot in the first squad.

Kelvin Leerdam (left) and Ronald Koeman (the other left)

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